Kloster Wessobrunn (Abbey)

© Pfarrei Wessobrunn

UNDER TASSILO’S LIME TREE

Splendid stucco, shaped by Johann Schmuzer, decorates the halls of the Wessobrunn Abbey. During the Baroque Period, this stucco artist was one of the best of his trade in Southern Germany. He belonged to the famous Wessobrunn School. Wessobrunn stucco can be found in the world renowned wing of princes and prelates and in the abbey's Tassilo Hall, but also in numerous other European churches. Ultimately, it was the Wessobrunn Prayer that led to the abbey becoming known outside the local region. Written in the Old German script in 814 AD, the document was intended for use in missionary work aimed at the conversion of heathens. Even if the Code probably originated in the Diocese of Augsburg, it was in Wessobrunn that it was found.

There are also legends about its origins. The Bavarian prince, Tassilo III, liked to sleep under a lime tree when hunting and dreamed about a ladder to heaven located at a three-pronged source. A hunter by the name of Wezzo is said to have led him to this cross-shaped source. Tassilo interpreted this as a divine order to build the monastery. However, it is more probable that it was founded in the second half of the 8th century, by a family of nobility from Rott as their own abbey. The primary aim of the abbey was most likely to cultivate the surrounding forestlands with the help of the monks living there.

A community of Benedictine nuns lived within the abbey's walls until 2014 when the keys were turned over to the natural cosmetics manufacturer, Martina Gebhardt. The buyer was selected according to one overriding condition: the future owner was to preserve the abbey in its entirety, to respect its history and not to forfeit the spirituality of the place – these where the wishes of the Benedictine nuns. And Ms. Gebhardt's own vision: to use the abbey as a place for diverse handicraft businesses and manufactories. As the facility is too large for just her company alone, it was opened up to a carpenter's workshop, a stone mason, a monastery brewery and an organic cheese-making business to settle there. The owner plans to develop the herbal garden as an organically cultivated monastery garden and become an accredited farmer. There is still a long way to go, a journey that the Tassilo lime tree standing next to the monastery's walls will continue to gaze down upon. Now about one thousand years old, this tree presumably was also a witness to Duke Tassilo's famous dream.

TASSILO'S DREAM

The Bavarian duke, Tassilo III "[...] mounted the horse, let the horn sound and rode off into the woods with his followers to go a hunting. He finally grew tired, dismounted and lay down on soft moss under tall trees with his servant Wesso. He was thirsty, but couldn't find water to drink anywhere. He was so tired he fell asleep and in a dream he saw a ladder descending to the earth from heaven. Angels climbed down the ladder, drew water from a source and drank the pure, clear water. Tassilo woke up, still confused by the miraculous story. Suddenly he heard a rushing sound; the purest of water was bubbling up out of a rock. He bade his servant to bring a drink of the water and said: 'Wesso, you are the first one to draw water from the source; therefore, it shall be called Wessobrunn [the source of Wesso].' [...] The drink tasted to him as though it were the most exquisite wine. And at that site, he established the abbey that was named after the source there."

(Friedrich Lüers, Bayerische Stammeskunde [Bavarian genealogical studies])

Contact

Pfarramt Wessebrunn
Klosterhof 6
82405 Wessobrunn
Germany

Telephone: +49 (0)8809 92110
E-mail: info@pfarrei-wessobrunn.de | www.pfarrei-wessobrunn.de

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