The history of Roggenburg

 

According to tradition, the monastery of Roggenburg was donated by three brothers of the lineage of the Earls “von Bibereck” in about 1126: Berthold, Earl of Bibereck; Konrad, Bishop of Chur; and Siegfried, a Canon in Augsburg.  

The first “Canons Regular of Prémontré” came from the nearby monastery of Ursberg. They first settled in the low-lying area around a pond, but soon moved to the castle hill.  

The fast growing monastery was raised to an independent abbey in 1444. It survived the devastations of the Peasants´ War, the turmoil of the Reformation, and the devastation of the Swedish War. In the 18th century three great abbots, Dominikus Schwaninger, Kaspar Geisler and Georg Lienharth, created the Baroque setting, which we can still see today.  

In about 1732 the new construction of the west-wing of the monastery began. The foundations of the new church and the east-wing were laid in 1752. Construction of the first buildings ended with the opening ceremony in 1758. The south-wing of the monastery would be finished in 1766. During the prosperous time of the 18th century all the parish churches were reconstructed. The following years were clouded by war, devastation, the misery of French fugitives and enormous financial payments to the state, all of which did serious harm to the abbey. 

After the peace of Lunéville the secularisation could not be stopped. In 1802 the abbey was occupied by the Bavarian army, the abbot had to resign, and the monastery, at that time numbering 36 canons, was dissolved. 180 years after the secularisation, the Canons Regular of Prémontré returned to their former monastery. This occurred when the abbey of Windberg, in Lower Bavaria, took over the parish of Roggenburg, the aim of this initia-tive being the restoration of the monastery. Since that time many young and active canons have worked to re-establish the old tradition. 


The monastery building

In the monastery building there is a historical rococo refectory with rich stucco, as well as an old library with artistic wood carving and a large ceiling fresco made by the classicist painter Konrad Huber. Both rooms can be visited during a guided tour. The west wing, which formerly housed the prelature and its historical banquet hall, as well as the rooms of the imperial abbot, the emperor´s apartment and the former offices, now accommodates the local authority, the elementary school and the monastery museum.

 
 

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