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 Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.