St. Florian Monastery
|St. Florian Monastery|
St. Florian Monastery in Sankt Florian, Austria
|Location||Sankt Florian, Austria|
|State||Linz-Land District, Upper 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. Since 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, whose masterpiece is St. Florian's. After his death, Jakob Prandtauer continued the work. The result is the biggest Baroque monastery in Upper Austria.[Note 2] Bartolomeo Altomonte created the frescoes.
Construction of the library wing began in 1744, under 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 1827, Polish librarian Father Josef Chmel found one of the oldest Polish literary artifacts, an illuminated manuscript containing the Psalms in Latin, German and Polish in the monastery. Because of the site of discovery, it has been named the Sankt Florian Psalter, and now resides in the National Library of Poland.
In January 1941, the Gestapo seized the facility and expelled the monks. From 1942, the Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft ("Radio Society of the Third Reich"), under general director Heinrich Glasmeier, operated from here. The canons returned 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) and contains four manuals, 103 stops and 7,343 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.
- Franz Farnberger, Anton Bruckner in St. Florian – Requiem & Motetten, St. Florianer Sängerknaben - CD: Studio SM D2639 SM 44, 1997 (with Bruckner's Magnificat & Psalm 22)
- Gunar Letzbor, Joseph Balthasar Hochreither - Requiem; Missa Jubilus sacer. St. Florianer Sängerknaben, Ars Antiqua Austria - CD: Pan Classics PC 10264, 2014
Organ loft 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.
- 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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