St. Florian Monastery
|St. Florian Monastery|
St. Florian Monastery in Sankt Florian, Austria
|Location||Sankt Florian, Austria|
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Active|
|Architect(s)||Carlo Antonio Carlone
|Founder||Bishop Altmann of Passau|
St. Florian Monastery (German: Stift Sankt Florian) is an Augustinian monastery in the town of Sankt Florian, Austria. Founded in the early ninth century, and later refounded by Augustinians in the eleventh century, St. Florian is the largest monastery in Upper Austria, and rivals Melk Abbey and Klosterneuburg Monastery as among the most impressive examples of Baroque architecture in Austria. The monastery is dedicated to Saint Florian,[Note 1] whose fourth century grave lies beneath the monastery.
The monastery, named after Saint Florian, was founded in the Carolingian period. From 1071 it has housed a community of Augustinian Canons, and is thus is one of the oldest operational monasteries in the world following the Rule of St. Augustine.
Between 1686 and 1708 the monastery complex was reconstructed in Baroque style by Carlo Antonio Carlone, of whom St. Florian's is reckoned the masterpiece. After his death the work was continued by Jakob Prandtauer. The result is the biggest Baroque monastery in Upper Austria.[Note 2] The frescoes were created by Bartolomeo Altomonte.
Construction of the library wing was not begun until 1744, by Johann Gotthard Hayberger. The library comprises about 130,000 items, including many manuscripts. The gallery contains numerous works of the 16th and 17th centuries, but also some late medieval works of the Danube School, particularly by Albrecht Altdorfer.
In January 1941 the premises were taken over by the Gestapo and the monks were expelled. From 1942 the Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft ("Radio Society of the Third Reich") was based here under its general director Heinrich Glasmeier.
The canons were able to return after the end of the war.
The premises now also house the Upper Austrian Fire Brigade Museum.
St. Florian's Priory possesses two organs, the larger one of which is known as the "Bruckner organ" (Brucknerorgel) of more than 7,000 organ pipes. It was played by composer and organist Anton Bruckner, previously a choir boy at the monastery, when he was the organist, between 1848 and 1855. He is buried beneath the organ inside the church.
St. Florian Boys Choir
St. Florian is also known for the St. Florian Boys Choir (St. Florianer Sängerknaben), a boys' choir founded in 1071. This choir has been a traditional part of the monastic worship from its foundation. It still has particular responsibility for providing excellence in sacred music for the priory, but also now undertakes successful international concert tours, television appearances and a busy recording schedule making CDs.
Interior with the Bruckner organ
- Saint Florian was a Roman officer of the imperial army in the Roman province of Noricum in present-day Austria. Following his conversion to Christianity, the Roman regime sent Aquilinus to Noricum to persecute Christians. When Aquilinus ordered Florian to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods in accordance with Roman religion, he refused, and accepted the beatings and torture of his fellow soldiers, who finally executed him by tying a stone around his neck and drowning him in the Enns river in 304. After his body washed ashore near present-day Sankt Florian, a woman named Valeria had a vision in which Florian declared his intent to be buried in an appropriate place. According to tradition, his body was buried on the spot where a fourth-century wooden church and the later monasteries were built.
- The south tower and parts of the church walls are still medieval in substance and were only given a Baroque veneer.
- Parsons 2000, p. 257.
- Baumgartner 2001, p. 2.
- Baumgartner, Rupert (2001). St. Florian's Collegiate Church. Ried im Innkreis: Kunstverlag Hofstetter.
- Maier, Dieter (1998). Insight Guide Austria. Singapore: APA Publications. ISBN 978-0887296109.
- Parsons, Nicholas T. (2000). Blue Guide Austria (Fourth ed.). London: A & C Black Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0393320176.
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