Engelberg Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Engelberg, Canton of Obwalden. Founded in 1120 by Count Blessed Conrad of Seldenburen, with the first abbot being Blessed Adelhelm, a monk of St. Blaise's Abbey in the Black Forest, under whom the founder himself received the habit and ended his days there as a monk. Numerous and extensive rights and privileges were granted to the new monastery by various popes and emperors, amongst the earliest of these being Pope Callistus II in 1124, and the Emperor Henry IV. The abbey was placed under the immediate jurisdiction of the Holy See, which condition continued until the formation of the Swiss Congregation in 1602, when Engelberg united with the other monasteries of Switzerland and became subject to a president and general chapter.
In spiritual matters the abbots of Engelberg exercised quasi-episcopal jurisdiction over all their vassals and dependents, including the town which sprang up around the walls of the abbey, and also enjoyed the right of collationto all the parishes of the Canton. In temporal matters they had supreme and absolute authority over a large territory, embracing one hundred and fifteen towns and villages, which were incorporated under the abbatial rule by a Bull of Pope Gregory IX in 1236. These and other rights they enjoyed until the French Revolution, in 1798, when most of them were taken away. The prominent position in Switzerland which the abbey occupied for so many centuries was seriously threatened by the religious and political disturbances of the Reformation period, especially by the rapid spread of the teachings of Zwingli, and for a time its privileges suffered some curtailment.
The troubles and vicissitudes, however, through which it passed, were happily brought to an end by the wise rule of Abbot Benedict Sigrist in the 17th century, who is justly called the restorer of his monastery. Alienated possessions and rights were recovered by him and the good work he began was continued by his successors, under whom monastic discipline and learning have flourished with renewed vigour. The library, which is said to have contained over twenty thousand volumes and two hundred choice manuscripts, was unfortunately pillaged by the French in 1798. Ironically, in the spirit of learning and preservation of knowledge, the library contains to this day a complete set of the writings of Martin Luther. The abbey buildings were almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1729 but were rebuilt in a substantial, if not very beautiful, style and so remain to the present day.
Since 1851, there exists the Boarding School of the Abbey Engelberg, which was first performed by a secular rector since 2009. 2001, the Academia Engelberg Foundation was founded.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.