The Monastic Island of Reichenau, Church of St. George
The Monastic Island of Reichenau, Church of St. George ©Christof Herdt
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The Monastic Island of Reichenau – a very special religious community

Two monks plus many who join them in prayer: a very special kind of monastic community lives here, more than 200 years after the last Benedictine monks left the monastery on Reichenau. It was the residents of the island who saw to it that the Benedictine tradition was revived on this island in Lake Constance.

There were plans in place for "Project Liturgy of the Hours", which morphed into St. Benedict's Cella on the island of Reichenau. All of this work is down to the locals' commitment. After the last of the clergy left the monastery in 1803, two monks now live and work on the largest island in Lake Constance, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 724, Reichenau was one of the most prominent medieval monasteries. Its 10th and 11th century illuminated manuscripts are one of the monastery's major talking points. They are now included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register and in the possession of Baden State Library in Karlsruhe.

The pastoral side of Benedictine tradition is the main aspect preserved on Reichenau in the 21st century. This includes the Liturgy of the Hours in the Egino Chapel of the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Niederzell. These services are open to all seeking silence and contemplation. Unlike the monastic complex, where all that remains is underground, the churches have remained intact. One of which is the Church of St. Mary and Mark in Mittelzell, with its late Gothic chancel, Ottonian nave, convent, cloister and unique Renaissance frescos in the chancel of the triple-nave basilica. Or St. Peter and Paul, the second-oldest church on the island, with its impressive interior and opulent paintings in the apse.

The Monastic Island of Reichenau

Church opening hours: 9am to 5pm throughout the year

Entry: free

Nearest train station: Freiburg

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