Conference Venue

Kloster Irsee
Klosterring 4
87660 Irsee, Germany
T+49 (0) 8341 906-00
F+49 (0) 8341 74278

About the Irsee Monastery

The history of lrsee Monastery starts in the Eiberger Forest northwest of lrsee. lt is said that pious men who had settled there gave up their solitary life and established a Benedictine community under the aegis of Margrave Heinrich von Ronsberg. The margrave gave them the forest and ceded his ancestral castle „Ursin“ to them around the year 1182. A separate monastery and a church were built at the foot of the Castle Mountain only few years later. According to legend, Mary had appeared to Abbot Cuno in a dream and shown him the site for the construction. As a result, the cornerstone was laid for a monastery that was led to a heyday in the following centuries, through war and mismanagement, but also over and over again in crises. The monastery buildings were destroyed twice - during a fire in 1416 and during the German Peasants‘ War in 1525- and had to be rebuilt. The Thirty Years‘ War led to the loss of the church treasure and the valuable monastery library. But under the leadership of dynamic abbots the monastery community repeatedly managed to emerge from existential dangers in an invigorated manner. For instance, despite the turmoil of the War of the Spanish Succession and associated financial burden, new construction of the monastery and church was able to be accomplished: as the tower of the Romanesque monastery church collapsed in 1699, a prestigious new building was decided upon. After construction of the Baroque church under Abbot Romanus Köpfle, in 1707 Abbot Willibald Grindl laid the cornerstone for the spacious monastery facility as we know it today. Over the course of centuries, lrsee had evolved into a place of worship and scholarship under the Benedictine Order‘s motto: Ora et Labora (Pray and Work). Abbots such as Bernhard Beck and Ämilian Mock made lrsee a centre of spiritual and academic life. Moreover, the monastery was a business enterprise with own estates and workshops. The lrsee abbots also campaigned to provide political independence for the monastery by attempting to establish a closed territorial dominion and acquiring all sovereign rights. The final step was taken in 1692 when lrsee Monastery was able to buy important rights from the Princely Monastic Foundation in Kempten: as an Imperial Monastery lrsee was now only subordinate to the Emperor himself. Secularisation marked the final stage under the activity of the Benedictines in lrsee. The monasteries in Bavaria were disbanded in 1802/03 and their possession was awarded to the state. The monastery‘s last abbot, Honorius Grieninger, moved to Kaufbeuren, where he died in 1809.