Rein Abbey, Austria

[Rein Abbey, Austria]
Also known as

  • Cradle of Styria
  • Wiege der Steiermark


Cistercian monastery in Rein, Styria, Austria; it is the oldest surviving Cistercian community in the world. Founded in 1129 by Margrave Leopold the Strong of Styria and settled by monks from Ebrach Abbey in Bavaria under Abbot Gerlacus whose grave was recently re-discovered. Except of a brief exile when the property was confiscated by Nazis, Cistercians have occupied the house continually since its beginning. Mother house of Wilhering Abbey, Sittich Abbey, and Neukloster Abbey. It has served as home to Cistercians who have been exiled from their houses due to oppression from Communists. The abbey church has served as the local parish church since 1786, and was elevated to a basilica minor by Pope John Paul II in 1979. The Gothic Chapel of the Cross, built between 1406 and 1409, commemorates Saint Eberhard of Salzburg, who died at Rein. The abbey library contains over 100,000 items.