23 August 2009

Stift Heiligenkreuz

For Mass today we drove to Stift Heiligenkreuz, a Cistercian Abbey in the Wienerwald founded in 1133 by the Margrave St. Leopold III. The name Heiligenkreuz (holy-cross) was a sign of their devotion to the instrument of our redemption. In 1182 King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem presented Margrave Leopold V with a large relic of the True Cross, which Leopold then gave to Stift Heiligenkreuz in 1188, where it is still venerated.

Margrave Leopold V is quite a colorful historical character. He fought in the third crusade wearing always a long white tunic with a broad belt. When a days fighting was done he would unbuckle his great belt revealing a broad white stripe (unstained by blood). This is the origin of Austria's flag: a white horizontal stripe between two red ones. He is buried in Heiligenkreuz - I saw his tomb - despite being excommunicated by the pope for the crime of capturing a fellow crusader, Richard the Lionheart.

1 comment:

Somebody Calls Me Nana said...

Looks lovely. How about some pics of those lovely children?