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Heiligenkreuz (Austria)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Heiligenkreuz, a rural Cistercian abbey some 25 miles south of Vienna, Austria, claims to house one of the largest collections of fragments of the True Cross in existence. The abbey’s founder, Otto, was the son of Leopold III (1075–1136), who would later be canonized for his founding and support of monasteries. Leopold V (1157–1194), who went on the Third Crusade, returned form the Holy Land with relics of the True Cross, which he gave to the Heiligenkreuz. As a result of the gift, the abbey became a destination for pilgrims. As the abbey’s fame spread, Ludwig IX (1416–1478) donated a piece of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

In spite of the plundering of the abbey by Turkish forces attempting to take Vienna in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and their final withdrawal from the region in 1683, the relics remained secure. In 1708 a reported miracle, a two-dimensional painting of a cross becoming three-dimensional, prompted a resurgence of interest in the abbey by pilgrims. A beautiful new church for the abbey was completed in 1744 and now houses the abbey’s relics. The largest number of contemporary pilgrims find their way to Heiligenkreuz on September 14, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.


Gaumannmuller, Franz. Die Mittelalterliche Klosteranlageder Abtei Heiligenkreuz. Heiligenkreuz-Wien, 1967.
Wright, Kevin J. Catholic Shrines of Central and Eastern Europe: A Pilgrim’s Travel Guide. Liguori, MO: Liguori Publications, 1999.