Seckau Abbey was endowed in 1140 by Augustinian canons. An already existing community in Sankt Marein bei Knittelfeld was moved to Seckau in 1142. At the request of Archbishop Konrad I of Salzburg, Pope Innocent II instituted the founding of the congregation and the transfer to Seckau on 12 March 1143. The abbey church, a Romanesque basilica, was built from 1143 to 1164.
According to an old custom, the canons founded a double monastery. The women's chorus likely came to the abbey no later than 1150 from Salzburg, mentioned in a deed of the Noble Burchard of Mureck in 1150.
This establishment was dissolved in 1782. In 1883 the monastery was resettled by Benedictines from Beuron Archabbey, who had had to leave Germany because of the Kulturkampf. In 1940 the monks were evicted by the Gestapo and the buildings were confiscated. In 1945 the monks were able to return.
The abbey maintains a secondary school (Gymnasium) and carries out the duties of the pastoral care belonging to a parish.
The abbey church, a Romanesque basilica, was built between 1143 and 1164. For centuries it was the place of burial of the Inner Austrian line of the Habsburgs.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.