Seeon’s History at a Glance
Seeon’s History at a Glance
from "Kloster Seeon" from Lothar Altmann, art publishing company Josef Fink, in 2011;
There is this small book for 7.80 € in our store;
• 994: Foundation of the Abbey according to the Record of Seeon Abbots. The donors are Count Aribo I and his consort Adala, who invite Benedictines from St. Emmeram in Regensburg. “Seuua” (Sewa), mentioned in an entry on an exchange of estates in Salzburg for this year, is probably nothing to do with Seeon.
• 999: First recorded mention of the Abbey in connection with privileges granted by Emperor Otto III and Pope Silvester II. The Abbey is now answerable directly to them; the abbey church of St Lambert serves with the new millennium as a burial place for the Aribonids.
• 11th c.: Seeon boasts a reputed Ottonian/early Salian scriptorium. A convent of Benedictine nuns is founded around St Walburg, probably after 1035.
• Late 12th c.: Remnants of the first stone church (c. 1080) are incorporated into a new Romanesque columned basilica (the core is still extant) with a nave and two aisles (plus porch and second west tower), combining Reichenau features with the Hirsau plan; probably combined with new buildings around the cloister with quarters for up to 20 monks.
• 1201: The abbey loses its independence from local overlords and is given to the Archbishop of Salzburg by the Hohenstaufen King Philipp.
• 1247: Legal advocacy (by a reeve), vested until 1102 in the Aribonids and then subject to frequent transfer, is handed to the Wittelsbach dukes in line with the wishes of a majority of monks.
• 1425–1433: Gothic modifications to the abbey (of which the cloister, chapter house and wine cellar under the Old Abbey still remain) and church (choir, vaults, cladding of Romanesque columns), to high standards of architecture and interior furnishing.
• 1561: A fire destroys much of the abbey on 18 April, but largely spares the church, abbot’s chapel and infirmary. Reconstruction of the abbey begins; the two church towers acquire their distinctive onion domes, the naves acquire their paintings.
• 1634–1670: Despite the Thirty Years’ War, partial Baroque modifications to the church, conversion of the Chapel of St Barbara by the porch into an “Abbots’ Gallery” (1646). A new hospital is built (1641) to the east and a library to the north of the church and west of the New Abbey (1644; now Banquet Hall wing with Lambertisaal and Prince’s Chamber above). At the same time the refectory (now restaurant) is installed on the ground floor of the Old Abbey. Much new building around the inner courtyard: 1655–1657 east wing, 1665–1670 south wing; retention in the west of the barn already mentioned in 1622, with the upper floor (= “mezzanine”) converted into guest rooms. Schematic view of the new complex in an engraving by Michael Wening (1721). Concurrent construction of the pilgrimage church Maria Eck (near Siegsdorf) in two stages.
• 1755–1758: Old Abbey raised by a second upper storey (including dining room, now concert hall) and prelature moved back here from the New Abbey; new abbot’s chapel of St Nicholas; new refectory (now Benediktussaal) next to the chapter house.
• 1761–1780: Repeated contacts between the abbey and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who stays in Seeon several times.
• 1803: The Benedictine monastery is dissolved under the Secularisation Act; the abbey church becomes a parish church.
• 1804: Much of the abbey complex is sold (including the church of St.Walburg) to the Munich baker Franz Xaver Distler, who continues operation of the brewery; the hospital and library are subsequently demolished.
• 1816: Distler’s son-in-law Georg Reichenwallner opens a spa in the former abbey buildings; a dyke is laid to the mainland.
• 1852: Spa Seeon is sold to Dona Amélie (1812–1873), the widow of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, now residing in Lisbon, who acquired Schloss Stein an der Traun in 1845; she is a daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais, 1st Duke of Leuchtenberg (stepson of Napoleon I), and Auguste Amalie (daughter of King Max I Joseph).
• 1873: Seeon is inherited by Queen Mother Josephine of Sweden and Norway (1807–1876; sister of Dona Amélie), who sells it the same year to her nephew Prince Nikolaus Romanowskij, 4th Duke of Leuchtenberg (1843–1891), related through his mother to the Romanov Tsars. He has already inherited Stein an der Traun from Dona Amélie and now resides primarily there. After his death, his two sons have the Seeon complex converted into a palace (Schloss) in 1892 (cf. Leuchtenberg tombs in the cemetery at St Walburg).
• 1934: Schloss Seeon purchased at auction by the Silesian industrialist Dr. Max Wiskott (who then buys Stein an der Traun, already sold off by the Leuchtenbergs in 1892); he rents the site to the NSDAP to set up a school for the SA; the Nazis also use it for the Reich Labour Service.
• From 1945: First a field hospital, then a refugee camp (for Germans from Sudetenland).
• 1953–1958: After the Wiskott family sell Seeon (1953), it is used as a hotel and restaurant and as a furniture factory with about 100 workers.
• 1958–1978: Initially a Border Police academy, from 1963 barracks for a unit of the Bavarian riot police; east and north wings raised by a mezzanine (2nd floor) on the courtyard and attic conversion in the south wing.
• 1978: Site purchased by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising to prevent its acquisition by a sect.
• 1986: Sold to the Administration of Upper Bavaria.
• 1989: Extensive rehabilitation, restoration and modernisation begin throughout the complex.
• 1993: The Culture and Education Centre of Upper Bavaria opens along with its conference hotel.
• 1994: A versatile exhibition programme begins with a display of medieval book illumination from Seeon Abbey.