After 883 years, Cistercian monastery to close in Germany

By on October 15, 2017


The Himmerod Abbey, founded in 1134 by the French abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, had just six resident monks before the closure that was decided this week, down from about 30 monks in the 1970s. (Photo by sacratomato_hr/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
The Himmerod Abbey, founded in 1134 by the French abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, had just six resident monks before the closure that was decided this week, down from about 30 monks in the 1970s. (Photo by sacratomato_hr/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

BERLIN — A Cistercian monastery that’s existed for almost 900 years in what is now western Germany is closing down for good, due to a shortage of monks.

The Himmerod Abbey, founded in 1134 by the French abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, had just six resident monks before the closure that was decided this week, down from about 30 monks in the 1970s.

German news agency dpa on Saturday quoted the monastery’s head, Abbot Johannes, as saying the financial situation and especially the small number of monks had played a key role in the decision.

The monastery’s property, near the village of Grosslittgen, will be transferred to the Catholic diocese of Trier, while the six monks will move to other monasteries. It was not clear what would happen to the monastery’s other staff.