St. Hemma donates large parts of her land holdings to Archbishop Balduin of Salzburg with the express wish that a monastery should be founded in the valley of the River Enns.
Admont Benedictine Abbey is the oldest surviving monastery in Styria. The origins of the Abbey’s foundation go back to the generous endowments to the Church made by the wealthy noblewoman St. Hemma von Gurk. Archbishop Gebhard von Salzburg used her legacy to establish the Abbey in 1074. Its first monks came from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter in Salzburg.
1103, First election of an abbot
For the first time the monks of Admont elect their own abbot; the choice falls on Heinrich I of Kremsmünster. He drowns in the flood waters of the River Enns in 1112.
1120, The convent
Once the turmoil of the investiture controversy had subsided, Admont rapidly prospered and became a monastic focus for the whole of the South German/Austrian region. As a consequence of the Clunaic or Hirsau Reforms, Admont undertook the reorganisation of 25 monastic communities. Thanks to the importance of its scriptorium, Admont soon become a spiritual and cultural centre. In 1120, it was decided to found a community of nuns who would observe the Rule of St. Benedict. The convent gained a significant reputation as a result of the high level of education and the quality of the literary output of its nuns. The convent was eventually dissolved during the Reformation.
1137, Attel Abbey
Under Abbot Wolfold, the Admont Benedictines also take up residence in Attel Abbey in Rosenheim in Upper Bavaria. This community was dissolved in 1803.
In the night of 10 – 11 March, a fire breaks out that destroys many of the Abbey buildings. There is an eye-witness account of the event by Irimbert (later also abbot of Admont) in Codex 16 of the Abbey library that is interpolated between a commentary on the Book of Kings.
The structures were soon rebuilt and were consecrated in the autumn of the same year.
1165, First own abbot
Abbot Liutold is the first abbot of Admont to be elected by the monks from among the ranks of their own community.
In this year Rudolf II is elected abbot of Admont. During his tenure, many parishes are assigned to Admont. The pastoral duties at many of these are still undertaken by monks from Admont. Here is a list of the parishes.
Pope Gregory IX invests in the abbots of Admont the right to wear a mitre during liturgical services. The first such abbot is Berthold I.
There is a widespread famine in this year and the monks are forced to flee to their founding abbey of St. Peter in Salzburg where they remain for two years.
1275, Abbot Heinrich II
Heinrich II is elected abbot in this year. Thanks to his commercial acumen, he becomes known as the ‘Second Founder’. He was also subsequently appointed Governor of Styria. He is the only Admont abbot to have the dubious reputation of having been murdered. This happened in 1297 in Kaiserau; the perpetrator was the husband of his niece.
1297, Abbot Engelbert Poetsch
In the person of Engelbert Poetsch, one of the leading intellectual lights of medieval Austria becomes abbot of Admont. His memory is still held sacred here in Admont and by means of a tacit understanding, he has even been added to the ranks of the Saints. For centuries, one of the community of monks at Admont has always borne his name.
1399, More Parishes
The abbey is assigned responsibility for more parishes.
1410, Frauenberg an der Enns
The first documentary reference to the pilgrimage church Frauenberg an der Enns dates to this year. Various indulgences in this connection were granted by the Antipope John XXIII.
1451, Salzburg Reforms
The Synod of Salzburg issues a decree requiring reforms to be implemented at all Benedictine monasteries in the Archbishopric and Suffragen Bishopric domains. These so-called ‘Reforms of Melk’ were intended to ensure monastic life follows more closely the Rules of St. Benedict by imposing a more stringent lifestyle and harsher discipline.
1483, Abbot Antonius
In this year, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III appoints a Franciscan monk from Venice abbot of Admont. This is Antonius Gratia Dei. He is considered one of the major proponents of the new Humanism. In addition to acquiring a wealth of valuable manuscripts for the library, he also laid the foundation stone for the pilgrimage church of Frauenberg Maria Rehkogel in what is today Bruck an der Mur.
1529, Economic crisis
Economic problems meant that a quarter of the estates belonging to the Abbey had to be sold.
1581, Near disaster
By 1581, there were only two monks remaining in Admont Abbey and the convent had been disestablished.
In this year, Johannes IV Hofmann from St. Lambrecht assumed the dignity of abbot; he was to become known as the ‘Third Founder’. He managed to put in place the economic resources that would serve as the basis for the extension and conversion work carried out by Abbot Urban Weber (1628 – 1659), the ‘Restorer of the Abbey’.
1628, Abbot Urban Weber
Urban Weber is elected 47th abbot of Admont. Due to the extensive building work he commissioned, he is known as the ‘Third Founder’. A total of 15 brothers took their vows during his incumbency.
1644, Grammar school
The Abbey’s grammar school was founded in 1644. In the same century, an embroidery school under the supervision of the Copenhagen-born Brother Benno Haan flourished at the Abbey; this produced a wealth of magnificent Baroque liturgical textiles. There was a flurry of building activity at the Abbey during the Baroque era; the architect Johann Gotthard Hayberger began an extensive conversion of the Abbey complex in 1735 and his work was continued by the Graz-based master builder Josef Hueber.
1675, Abbot Adalbert Heufler
Adalbert Heufler zu Rasen und Höhenbühel is elected abbot in this year; he is a major benefactor of the pilgrimage church Frauenberg an der Enns.
1680, Fire again
A fire destroys the Abbey’s equipment storage house.
1726, Joseph Stammel
An artist who was to prove important for Admont begins working at the Abbey in this year.
1777, Standard secondary school
At this time, the ‘standard’ secondary school with attached teacher training college was constructed.
1786, Leoben grammar school
Admont’s grammar school is transferred to Leoben.
1800, Almost bankrupt
In the years around 1800, Admont was considered to be the most important educational centre in Styria after the state capital Graz. In the early 19th century, there were some 90 members of the Abbey whose task it was to provide pastoral care at more than 40 parishes. During the tenure of Abbot Gotthard Kuglmayr (1788 – 1818), the financial situation of the Abbey grew so precarious that it almost became bankrupt.
A calamitous fire in 1865 destroyed the whole of the Abbey structure, with the notable exception of the library. The buildings were largely reconstructed in the following years. The Abbey church was rebuilt on the foundations of the original church; it was the first major neo-Gothic religious structure in Austria.
1869, Consecration of the church
The new Abbey church, rebuilt after the disastrous fire, is consecrated.
1883, Kastner & Öhler
The parent branch of what was to become the Kastner & Öhler retail chain opens in the Admonterhof in Graz.
1898, Father Gabriel Strobl
Father Gabriel Strobl establishes the Natural History Museum.
1906, Emperor Franz Joseph
Emperor Franz Joseph pays a visit to Admont Abbey.
1911, First electric power plant
The Abbey’s first electric power plant constructed at the Mühlau commences operations.
1939, World War
During the economic crises of the 1930s, the Abbey was only able to survive by selling off various items of its valuable art treasures. The National Socialist government dissolved the Abbey in 1939 and the monks were only able to return in 1945.
With the end of the Second World War, the monks are able to return to Admont on 17 October.
1974, 900th anniversary
To mark the 900th birthday of the Abbey, a new school building is constructed in Admont. From this year, girls are also admitted.
1996, Abbot Bruno Hubl
In 1978, he was appointed the Abbey’s prior by Abbot Benedikt Schlömicher; he was also novice master and a member of various liturgical committees. Following the sudden resignation of Abbot Schlömicher, Prior Bruno Hubl was elected abbot of Admont Abbey by its monks on 1 August 1996. He received his abbatial benediction at the hands of Bishop Johann Weber in the Abbey church on 1 September 1996.
To 2009, he was a member of the executive committee of the Austrian Benedictine Congregation and of various other diocesan and trans-regional bodies. During his tenure, extensive sections of the Abbey complex have undergone restoration work, including the world-famous Abbey library. He also commissioned the construction of the new museum and the Meeting House in Graz that was opened on 6 October 2002.
On 23 March 2009, Abbot Hubl announced that he would be resigning from office on the coming 27 April. But he was re-elected to the post in the ballot on that day. After three days of reflection, Bruno Hubl decided to take office on 30 April. He used his speech of acceptance to emphasize the fact that he had genuinely intended to resign but that the faith placed in him by his co-brothers had induced him to take office as abbot again.
2003, opening museum
Since 2003, Admont Benedictine Abbey has been able to boast a further special attraction in addition to its late Baroque library; a large museum building divided into two sections with exhibits on four floors. The items on display include medieval manuscripts, incunabula, art from the Middle Ages to the present and a natural history collection. There are also a multimedia Abbey presentation, special exhibitions and an external staircase offering panoramic views of the surroundings.
The library and museum sections are incorporated in the extensive Abbey complex with its external garden architecture. From these, visitors can enjoy a prospect of the impressive backdrop of the nearby Gesäuse National Park. The library and museum of Admont Abbey welcome some 60 – 70,000 visitors every year.
2008, library restoration
General restoration Abbey library: A once-in-a-lifetime project has recently been successfully concluded. Comparable work has not been undertaken at Admont since the original completion of the library hall in 1776. In three major project phases that lasted from 2004 to 2008, all items made of stone and metal, the ceiling frescoes together with all the carvings and articles made of wood were carefully renovated. The whole of the book inventory in the library ‒ some 70,000 volumes ‒ was cleaned and examined for signs of damage. Over 5,000 books had to be restored. Despite all the on-going work during this period, Admont Abbey library remained open to visitors.
2015, Book restoration
The full inventory of the Baroque Abbey library starts to undergo restoration following a necessary fumigation to kill pests. A total of 70,000 books are to be cleaned and reorganised. It is hoped that the project will be completed by 2016.
Modern media are also introduced in the Abbey archive, making it easier for researchers to investigate and work with the more valuable holdings.