Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cistercian Abbey in Czech Republic Restores Old Rite and Office

(Prague)  The Czech Cistercian Abbey, Vyssi Brod -- Hohenfurth has become an old ritual community.  The Holy Mass will be celebrated for the faithful in the ordinary as well as in the Immemorial Rite of the Mass.  The Cloister community itself has returned to a traditional choir and praying of the Cistercian Liturgy of the Hours and celebrates the "classical" form of the Roman Rite as of 2011 in the Autumn. The restoration of the classical Office was supported by a collaboration with the Trappist Abbey of Mariawald.  The life of the Monastic community begins at 4:15am with rising and ends at 7:15 pm (7:45 in Summer)  with the lecture in the Rule of St. Benedict, the Collations, Compline and Salve Regina.  After that, "strict nightly silence" is maintained.

Parts of the magnificent cloister may be viewed, this is valid for near the Abbey church and above all the impressive library and refectory.  "To participate in the tour, decent clothing appropriate to the place is necessary,"as it says on the internet site of the Cloister.

750 Years of Cistercian Ora et Labora in the South Bohemian Hohenfurt

The Cistercian Abbey of Hohenfurth was founded in 1259 in what was then German-settled southern Bohemia by Wok von Rosenburg and settled with monks from the Abbey of Wilhering near Linz.  The  hub of the Cloister community formed the market town of Hohenfurt with about 100 households in the surrounding area. During the Hussite Wars and the 30 Years War it was drawn by sympathy to undertake the renewal of pastoral care in the wake of the Protestant Revolt in numerous parishes.  Its involvement in the education system even allowed the Cloister to escape the destructive reforms of Josephismus.

After the First World War the area of Hohenfurt with its 1459 German and five Czech inhabitants, complete with the Cloister became part of the new Czech Republic.  The new State adopted a "hostile disposition" toward it, which was as ideological as it was also ethnically motivated and in the land reform which allowed up to 250 hectares almost all of the  Cloister property of more than 5,500 hectares of wood and farmland was confiscated.

The election of the 43rd and presently the last Abbot formed himself with difficulty in 1925.  The Czech authorities conveyed a not very pleasant talking "to" not to recognize the German candidates.  Although the ethnic question had never played a role in the Cloister, Hohenfurth operated like a German Cloister.   So it was a concern to find a virtuous candidate who the authorities were not "negatively inclined" to.  The election fell upon Father Tezelin Jaksch from Hackelhof born in Budweis,  who was then the pastor of Payerschau, "because of his refined bearing and his complete mastery of the Czech language."  Abbot Tezelin attempted to reclaim three quarters of the original Cloister property, which still hadn't been resold by the State.

The Abbey bloomed in 1938, in which the Abbey reached its high water mark with 70 monks, with the    Suddetenland of the Third Reich.  The Czech monks had to leave the monastery, Abbot Tezelin was imprisoned as a pretext and deported to the protectorate of Bohemia and Maehren. The convent then elected an Abbot Coadjutor with Father Dominik Kaindl.   After that the Cloister was repealed by the National Socialists after almost 700 years of unbroken existence.  Father Engelbert Blochl died in KZ Dachau, 21 monks were drawn to serve in the war in the Wehrmach, of whom 10 did not return,  while another died as a prisoner of war.  During the war, the Wehrmacht established a hospital in the Cloister and by the end of the war, American troops, who were sent to south Bohemia, made a military camp out of it.

After the Second World War Abbot Tezlin Jaksch (1885-1954) struggled for the re-establishment of the Cloister, which indeed succeeded statutorily, was in any case reduced ad absurdam, there where the German monks, and with them almost the entire convent, were driven out in the course of Czech directed ethnic cleansing with the rest of the German population.  The Czech authorities confiscated the entire property and declared that "the Cistercians of Hohenfurth are traitors and enemies of the Czech Republic".  Only a few Czech monks were allowed to return to the Abbey with great difficulty.

The Communist power transfer of 1948 almost seamlessly took up the National Socialist persecution.  Abbot Jaksch had to leave Cloister Hohenfurth in the same year and go to Austria.  The Cloister was closed by the Communists in 1950.  The last two still remaining Czech monks were interned and the Cloister was transformed into a military concern.  The exiled monks of Hohenfurth found refuge in Austrian and Bavarian Cisterician Cloisters above all in Stift Rein in Steyria, which has since 1959 in the event of the 700th foundation anniversary of Hohenfurth, took up the name Rein-Hohenfurth.

After the break up of the Communist dictatorship in 1990, the two Cistercians still living at Hohenfurth travelled back to Bohemia and began the new settlement of the Cloister.  In all there are still six Hohenfurth monks in various Cloisters of Austria and Bavaria, yet the other four are too old and fragile for a journey.

The restoration took place with great difficulty, since the Czechoslovakian State till 1994, and the Czech since 1994, shows no interest in the rebuilding of the Catholic orders. The return of the Cloister properties stolen from the State proved to be difficult and lengthy.  For the new beginning there was economic help also from the Cistercian Cloister of Heiligenkreuz.  In 1992 four novices were accepted into the Cloister.  Since then the Priory of Hohenfurth -- Vyssi Brod, which has been led since 2007 by Justinus Berka, is struggling for the restoration of the life of the Cloister and after the atheistic deforestation, for the evangelization of Bohemia.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Bild: Kloster Vyssi Brod (Hohenfurth)

Link to original katholisches....

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