Heiligenkreuz Abbey, Europe’s largest Cistercian Monastery, lies behind protective walls, less than half an hour’s drive from Vienna. With an uninterrupted 900 years history of monasticism, Heiligenkreuz is both tourist attraction and deeply spiritual experience.
Life at the monastery, Copyright: Stift Heiligenkreuz
Founded in1133, Heiligenkreuz Abbey
which has been inhabited ever since by monks, seems surprisingly young at heart. Of the 83 brothers who live here, most are well under 50 years old. And more than a few of them found their way to the monastery via the internet
. The brothers use social media to reach as many people as possible and introduce them to their heritage and their philosophy, which is to appreciate the qualities of the age and yet to live unchanged according to the Abbey's traditional religious principles and monastic rules. The Cistercian order demands discipline, work and obedience
. Severity is their standard, evident as much in the architecture as in their way of life and their robes.
Cistercian monks are immoderate only in their love of God and prayers are their bridge to heaven. The brotherhood gathers several times a day to praise God in the form of a Gregorian chant
, sung in unison and without accompaniment, an act designed to restrict individuality and strengthen the community. Visitors are welcome to listen
and bear witness to a medieval ritual full of symbolism and ceremony. The monks of Heiligenkreuz achieved world fame with their beautiful holy voices on releasing their CD, Chant - Music for Paradise
. This haunting, yet measured meditation music transports the listener to an inner spiritual place, full of strength, harmony and peace.A visit to paradise
The first Cistercian monks to live in the Abbey in the 12th century called it „Paradisum"- a paradise. Monks who enter the Abbey feel the presence and closeness of God. They read and meditate on the word of God, and live at one with their love of God. You can experience this silence paradise for yourself on a day trip to Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Opening times: Daily including feast days (except Good Friday and Christmas Eve). It is not normally necessary to book in advance for a guided tour of the Abbey.
Stay at the Abbey
According to the Rule of Saint Benedict, guests should be welcomed as if they were Jesus Christ. The hospitality can take many forms: you may come in search of spiritual contemplation, an individual retreat, to relieve stress, to reassess your priorities, to spend a day at the monastery with your family, make a pilgrimage, or just to spend a few days in silence in the atmosphere of a simple monastic room.
To arrange your stay contact the guest coordinator:
Brother Nikodemus Betsch, email@example.comMake a pilgramage to Heiligenkreuz
Heiligenkreuz itself is a place of pilgrimage on the Via Sacra (Holy Road) which runs from Vienna to Mariazell. In the Middle Ages the Popes furnished this place of pilgrimage with a cross reliquary. Since 1983 the cross reliquary has been on permanent view in the Kreuzkirche. Many people make a pilgrimage to Heiligenkreuz, to draw strength and to receive the sacraments, in particular the sacrament of penance.Daily prayers by the brotherhood
The monks sing communal prayers in centuries old Gregorian Chant at the following times:
6.25 Conventual Mass (weekdays)
9.30 Solemn Mass with Gregorian chant (Sundays and Feast days)
12.00 Terz and Sext
19.45 Compline with Salve Regina
followed by adoration and rosary in the KrankenkapelleAbbey Shop
At the entrance to the Abbey courtyard, opposite the Abbey entrance gate, there is a well-stocked shop where you can buy souvenirs, Heiligenkreuz wine, schnapps, liqueurs and other delicious produce.For further information on Heiligenkreuz Abbey, please visit: www.stift-heiligenkreuz.org