Thursday, August 5, 2010

Possible Concert Venues: Benedictine Abbey of Engelberg

The Benedictine Abbey of Engelberg, Switzerland rests in a mountain valley at the foot of Mount Titlis. The Abbey rises over the center of the town of Engelberg, which appropriately translates to “the mountain of angels.” The Benedictine Abbey of Engelberg is often associated with the nearby Benedictine Sisters of Maria Rickenbach. Since the Sisters’ convent is only accessible by cable car, perhaps an additional performance at the Abbey’s Collegiate Church would excite the locals.
Founded in 1120 by a nobleman by the name of Konrad von Sellenburen, and ratified by Pope Callistus and Emporer Henry V in 1121, the Abbey offers a colorful history with periods of great flourishing that withstood the tribulations of fire, revolutions, and the plague.
Following the great fire of 1729, many aspects of the church were refurnished in early Baroque style. The main alter is stunningly painted with themes of the Assumption and the Trinity, while the ceiling is adorned with frescoes recounting the life of the Virgin Mary. The simplistic complex, which also includes a working farm, fits admirably into the serene mountain setting. The Abbey’s Collegiate Church houses the largest organ in Switzerland—the ideal locale for a choir performance.
Currently about forty monks reside at the monastery, working in the garden, kitchen, sacristy, library, infirmary, arts and crafts station, administration, development projects, pastoral care, local schools, and the parish. The warm-hearted townspeople of Engelberg thrive on the ministry of the Abbey and welcome visitors with open arms. Any spiritual soul is bound to be gladdened by the peace and serenity exuding from the majestic mountains of Engelberg.

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