Austria's Monasteries - Zwettl Monastery
This Cistercian monastery, situated in Lower Austria in the heart of the Waldviertel two kilometers to the east of the city of Zwettl, celebrated the 850th anniversary of its continuing existence. Zwettl's Monastery dates back to the Kuenringers' desire to found a monastery in the undeveloped region known as the "Northern Forest". Hadmar the First eventually achieved this through contacts he made with Margrave St. Leopold and Abbott Gottschalk at the founding of Heiligenkreuz Abbey (1133-37). To him, the reform order of the Cistercians appeared to be the most appropriate in order to actualize his idea. Authorized by the General Chapter in Citeux, a group of 12 monks departed during Advent of 1137 and settled in Oberhof near Zwettl. According to the legend, a budding oak tree in winter marked the location of the new monastery, and so December 31, 1137 was considered the founding date and a founding mass was celebrated on New Year's Day, 1138.
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