Himmerod Abbey

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Himmerod Abbey
Himmerod Abbey church, 2005
Monastery information
Mother houseClairvaux Abbey
Founder(s)St. Bernard of Clairvaux
LocationRhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Coordinates50°01′40″N 6°45′24″E / 50.02778°N 6.75667°E / 50.02778; 6.75667Coordinates: 50°01′40″N 6°45′24″E / 50.02778°N 6.75667°E / 50.02778; 6.75667

Himmerod Abbey (Kloster Himmerod) is a Cistercian monastery in the community of Großlittgen in the Verbandsgemeinde of Manderscheid in the district of Bernkastel-Wittlich, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, located in the Eifel, in the valley of the Salm.

First foundation[edit]

Himmerod Abbey was founded in 1134 by Saint Bernard and is a direct foundation of Clairvaux. In its turn it founded a daughter house, Heisterbach Abbey, in 1189. The Baroque church was completed in 1751, but after secularisation from 1802 under French occupation fell into ruin.

Second foundation[edit]

Himmerod Abbey, main entrance

In 1922 the monastery was re-founded by the settlement here of German Cistercian monks from the former monastery of Mariastern in the present Bosnia. The church was re-built under Abbot Vitus Recke (abbot from 1937 to 1959), and completed in 1962, and contains a famous organ by Johannes Klais.

The new abbey founded the Abbey of the Holy Cross, Itaporanga near São Paulo in Brazil, in 1936.

The abbey has a museum, a book - and art shop, a café, a guesthouse and retreat-house and a fishery.

The last abbot (as of 2006) is Bruno Fromme, in post since 1991.

The abbey in 1880s before it was rebuilt


On 14 October 2017, the Mehrerau Cistercian Congregation announced that Himmerod Abbey would be scheduled to close after nearly nine centuries in operation. The monastery’s head, Abbot Johannes, referred to the financial situation of the abbey as having played a key role in the decision.[1] The monastery’s property near the village of Großlittgen would be transferred into the possession of the Catholic Diocese of Trier, while the remaining six monks at Himmerod would move on to other monasteries.[2] Five of the six monks had left Himmerod by March 2018; Father Stephan Reimund Senge remained the last formal member of the abbey.[3]


The abbey also has its own publishing house, the Himmerod Drucke, which to date has published over 50 works by a number of authors, especially Father Stephan Reimund Senge, a monk at Himmerod. The journal Unsere Liebe Frau von Himmerod ("Our Lady of Himmerod") appears three times a year, and the newsletter Himmeroder Rundbrief (ed. Father Stephan) about 10 times a year.

Himmerod memorandum[edit]

From 5 October to 9 October 1950, officers of the former Wehrmacht, on the authority of the West German government, met in conference at Himmerod Abbey to prepare for Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to launch the re-armament of Germany. The conference produced the Himmerod memorandum (German: Himmeroder Denkschrift), which laid out the prerequisites for re-armament and suggested what Germany could contribute to the defense of western Europe. This was an important step toward the official founding of the Bundeswehr in 1955.


  1. ^ "German monastery Himmerod to close its doors after nearly nine centuries". Deutsche Welle. 14 October 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  2. ^ "After 883 years, Cistercian monastery to close in Germany". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 14 October 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  3. ^ Frasch, Timo (13 March 2018). "Der letzte Mönch von Himmerod". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 20 June 2020.

External links[edit]