Scheyern Abbey was established in 1119 as the final site of the community originally founded in around 1077 at Bayrischzell by Countess Haziga of Aragon, wife of Otto II, Count of Scheyern, the ancestors of the Wittelsbachs. The first monks were from Hirsau Abbey, of which the new monastery was a priory, founded as it was against the background of the Investiture Controversy and the Hirsau Reforms. The original site proved unsuitable for a number of reasons, including difficulties with water supply, and the monastery moved in 1087 to Fischbachau. When that site too proved unsuitable, they moved to Petersberg, in 1104.
When Haziga, the widowed Countess of Scheyern, left Burg Scheyern in 1119 for Burg Wittelsbach, the castle from which the family subsequently took their name, the old castle, constructed in about 940, was given to the monks at Petersberg and became Scheyern Abbey, independent of Hirsau.
Scheyern was considered a Wittelsbach family monastery, which they used as a place of burial until 1253. The Wittelsbachs also retained the office of Vogt.
The dedication is to the Holy Cross and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary: the abbey has had in its possession since 1180 a relic of the Holy Cross from Jerusalem, and is still today a place of pilgrimage for this reason.
By the 13th century the abbey had already gained a reputation for its school of illumination and its scriptorium.
It suffered particularly severely in the Thirty Years' War and did not participate afterwards in the Baroque revival to the same extent as other monasteries in Bavaria. In the 18th century however it was refurbished in the style of the Rococo.
In 1802 the monastery came under the governance of the territorial rulers, and in 1803 was dissolved as part of the secularisation of Bavaria. The buildings were sold, and changed hands several times in a short period. In 1838 however under Ludwig I of Bavaria the monastery was re-established, and re-settled by monks from Metten Abbey; in 1843 it regained the status of an abbey. Between 1876 and 1878 the church, now serving both the community and the parish, was restored to the Romanesque style.
Scheyern now also possesses a Byzantine Institute, specialising in the works of Saint John of Damascus. It also enjoys historical links with Hungary.
Shortly after the re-establishment in 1838, a grammar school was opened. In 1939 all schools run by religious orders were closed, including Scheyern Abbey's. After World War II a humanistic Gymnasium was opened here. It was replaced however in 1970 by the Schyrengymnasium in Pfaffenhofen. Once the transfer to the new school was complete, the monastery set up a residential high school for vocational training, the Staatliche Berufsoberschule, a type of school which was considered very experimental at the time. It opened in 1976 and is still in operation.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.