St. Ottilien Archabbey is a Benedictine monastery in Emming near Eresing and the Ammersee. It is the mother house of the St. Ottilien Congregation, otherwise known as the Missionary Benedictines.
In the 16th century a small castle was built at Emming, including a chapel dedicated to Saint Ottilia. Both castle and chapel were made over in the Baroque style in the 17th century.
After several changes of owner, and the demolition of much of the castle in 1884, the estate came in 1886 into the possession of Andreas Amrhein, formerly a Benedictine from Beuron Archabbey. His vision of combining the Benedictine way of life with engagement in the Christian mission field had proved impossible to realise within the Beuron Congregation, and for that reason he sought to found a new and independent group. After an initial foundation in Reichenbach am Regen in the district of Cham in 1884 the community moved to Emming in 1887, where the monastery took its name from the already existing chapel of Saint Ottilia. In the same year the first group of monks were sent as missionaries to Africa.
In 1895 Andreas Amrhein resigned from the community, which then became a priory. In 1902 St. Ottilien was elevated to the status of an abbey. After the foundation of another three abbeys St. Ottilien was chosen in 1914 as the archabbey of the St. Ottilien Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation, also known as the Missionary Benedictines. The Archabbot of St. Ottilien has ever since been ex officio the head of the St. Ottilien Congregation.
The abbey grew rapidly until 1930, developing mission fields in South Africa, Korea and China. St. Ottilien was extended during this period in order to accommodate the expanding community, which grew to almost 400 people.
In 1941 the abbey was suppressed by the Gestapo. The monks returned in 1945. Until 1948 former concentration camp prisoners were looked after in the abbey.
The abbey church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, was built between 1897 and 1899. Its pointed octagonal spire, 75 metres high, can be seen from a great distance around. The belfry contains a peal of eight bells which is one of the deepest in tone in southern Germany.
The three-aisled Neo-Gothic abbey church was consecrated in 1903. The mission museum, in the Art Nouveau sacristy to the south of the church, was opened in 1911.
Over the years St. Ottilien has added many new facilities: a school, retreat- and guest-houses, a publishing house, workshops and buildings for farming and horticulture.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.