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Heiligenkreuz

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(SANCTA CRUX).

An existing Cistercian monastery in the Wienerwald, eight miles north-west of Baden in Lower Austria. It was founded in 1135 by Margrave St. Leopold at the request of his son Otto, Abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Morimund in Burgundy and afterwards Bishop of Freising. Its first monks with their abbot, Gottschalk, came from Morimund. Heiligenkreuz was richly endowed by the dukes of Babenberg. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it was often imperilled by epidemics, floods, and fires, and suffered severely during the Turkish wars of 1529 and 1683. Nearly all its abbots were noted for both piety and learning. In 1734 the Abbey of St. Gotthard in Hungary was ceded to Heiligenkreuz by Emperor Charles VI, but was taken away and united with the Hungarian Abbey of Zirez in 1778. In its place the monastery of Neukloster at Wiener-Neustadt was joined to Heiligenkreuz in 1880. The church of Heiligenkreuz combines two styles of architecture. The naves and the transept (dedicated 1187) are Romanesque, while the choir (13th century), which is an extension of the original church, is Gothic. The thirteenth-century window paintings of the choir are some of the most beautiful remnants of medieval art. The following Cistercian monasteries received their first monks from Heiligenkreuz: Zwettl in Lower Austria in 1138 (still existing); Czikador in Hungary in 1142 (ceased in 1526); Baumgartenberg in Upper Austria in 1142 (ceased in 1784); Marienberg in Hungary in 1194 (ceased in 1526); Lilienfeld in Lower Austria in 1206 (still existing); Goldenkron in Bohemia in 1263 (ceased in 1785); Neuberg in Styria in 1327 (ceased in 1785). Heiligenkreuz has a library of 50,000 volumes, and its own theological seminary and college. Its 52 priests are engaged in teaching and administering the affairs of the 22 parishes that belong to the monastery.

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