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Carl Ritter, Gmunden City Archives, HS 129, OÖLA
Floor plan of the parish church of Carl Ritter, Gmunden city archive, HS 129, OÖLA

9. The foundation of Traunkirchen monastery

  1891 Besichtigungen
Geschichte Kloster Traunkirchen
Traunkirchen, Austria

Foundation legend

On Holy Saturday in 902 the burning, robbing and murdering Magyars came to the shores of Lake Traunsee, looking for a way out through the mountains, into the sack-like narrowing between Traunsee, Sonnstein and Fahrnau. With the help of the soil conditions, which is unfavorable for riders and horses, the locals won over the invaders. As a reminder, the stream flowing through the valley to Lake Traunsee was given the name Siegesbach. And the monastery was founded. So much for the legend.

Foundation dates

Due to a lack of evidence, excavations and documents, Traunkirchen Monastery, and especially its foundation, is and remains an interesting but difficult subject of research (Heinrich Marchetti, Karl Amon). The founding picture hanging in the monastery also symbolizes these victories over the pagans and, in the inscription from 1632, indicates the foundation of the monastery by the victors over the pagans 900 years ago. These, like the depicted first Abbess Atha, lived a hundred years after the battle, and the 900 years of the foundation ceremony cannot refer to the battle of 902 either. It can therefore be assumed that the establishment of the new nunnery, or a revival during the lifetime of the people depicted, can be assumed around the year 1020.
Foundation legends as well as pictorial representations suggest that church buildings, perhaps a hermitage, an older appropriate church, a little church on the Johannes hill, and on the Nicolai hill already existed in the 7th century on the remains of pagan sacrificial sites in Traunkirchen.

Founders of the monastery

The nobility of the war was willing to make great donations as penance for evil deeds, for their own salvation, for prayer and for an annual memory of the dead. For this purpose necrologies (books of the deads) were kept in the foundation monasteries.
Count Wilhalm and the margraves Otokar and Leopold are named as the founders and benefactors of the monastery. Wilhalm is mentioned in the necrology as the founder of the congregation. It could be Count Wilhalm II Raschenberg-Reichenhall or Count Wilhelm II of the Sanntal (as per Pfeffer).

Remembrance of the dead and burial sites in the monastery church

On September 29th, the day of Wilhalm's death, an annual “Seelamt” was celebrated and prayed for him and bread and meat, the donation, were distributed to the poor.
Report Caspar Bruschius from 1552: "Ottachar and Leopold are buried in front of the high altar, Count Wilhalm is in the middle under the nun choir (his grave slab was still visible until 1630 after the monastery burned down), the countesses Wilbirg and Leobirg, benefractress of the Church, are buried in chapels or side altars.” A holy Margrave Leutold, a grandson of the Leobirgis, was commemorated on August 19th.

Wilhelmian relationships

Wilhelms and Luitolds were Bavarian counts and resided in the Raschenberg-Reichenhall district of Salzburg and in Friesach, on the Sann in Carinthia. Evidence documents are unfortunately missing.
Wilhelm I (910-970) is mentioned in 927 and with son Luitold 959 and 963.
Wilhelm II (+ 29.9.1010 Traunkirchner Nekrolog), a son of Wilhelm I von Raschenberg-Reichenhall owned Hallein, possibly possessions in Carinthia, Margrave an der Sann, Count von Friesach and Trixen is considered as the founder of Traunkirchen. His wife Leopirgis (+ August 20, Traunkirchner Necrolog) is named as the foundress of the church. They had 2 sons:
Luitold II (+ 19.7., 25.7. In the necrology), brother of Wilhelm II, reeve of Salzburg, married with Wilbirg (+ 27.8.) and their son Luitold the Saint (+ 19.8. Necrology) were benefactors of the monastery. Daughter Luitburgis married Count Markwart von Eppenstein, whose son was Duke Luitold of Carinthia (+ 1076).
Luitpold's brother was Wilhelm III, II von der Sann, married to Hemma von Gurk (+ 29.6.1045). He was murdered on March 20, 1036, by Adalbero v. Eppenstein. His sons Hartwig and Wilhelm IV also died young. Pfeffer suspects Wilhelm II von der Sann as the founder of Traunkirchen.

Relationships with the Otakars

Willbirg v. Eppenstein, daughter of Adalbero von Eppenstein, widow of Count Luitpold v. Raschenberg-Reichenhall married Otakar I, who was margrave of Steier since 1056. Thus the Otakars were related by marriage to a branch of the Wilhelms, the Raschenberger-Reichenhallers, von der Sann and came into the possession of the Traunkirchen monastery after the Wilhelms died.
It should be noted that the brother of the first abbess Ata may have been Otakar I, and that she was therefore related to the Eppensteiners and the Raschenberg-Reichenhallers. Therefore, the Chiemgau, later Styrian Ottokars were generous benefactors and reeves of the monastery.

Description of the foundation illustration above

a. The mountain was once a hideaway for pagan pirates, now it is consecrated to John the Baptiste as per the history of the house from 1622.
b. Count Wilhalm, the founder of our congregation, at this location from the Book of the Dead on September 29th
c. Queen Kunigunde, the foundress of our church, from the Book of the Dead on June 2nd
d. Once the seat of an idol, now a sanctuary consecrated to the holy Saint Nikolaus
From the history of the house in 1622

© E. Rumpf, R. Hofbauer; Translation: XiBIT Infoguide GmbH