"Porta patet, cor magis – the door is open, but the heart even more so": even though the monks of the former Cistercian monastery in Loccum converted to Lutheranism in around 1600, they still resided there, preserving the Cistercian traditions for centuries.
Loccum Abbey is considered one of the best preserved Cistercian abbeys to the north of the Alps. It was founded in 1163 as a "daughter house" to Volkenroda Abbey, and to this date symbolises the attitudes of Cistercian monks in the 13th century, which were heavily influenced by asceticism and modesty. This is particularly clear to see in the abbey church, which set itself apart from the magnificent cathedrals erected at the time through its simplicity, and has maintained its original design to this day.
It features a prayer room which was once separated by nothing but a transparent screen – an area for praying monks, often priests, performing the Liturgy of the Hours eight times a day. And another area for working monks, the lay brothers who came only to pray in the morning, at midday and in the evening. Today, you can also find pilgrims here who have set out on the 320 km route from Volkenroda to Loccum. You will also meet theologians from the theological seminary who are preparing for their practical work, as well as conference delegates and visitors who have come for a retreat. You will also find people seeking inner peace in the abbey church, cloister or between the ponds and the abbey's forest in the surrounding nature reserve.
Accommodation: the pilgrim hostel on the abbey grounds, registration requested
Opening hours: church and cloister open daily (10am to 6pm); Monday to Saturday at 6pm: hora (evening meditation) in the chancel of the church
Nearest train station: Hanover
cycle Guided tours from April to October:
Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm, or by arrangement; for more information on guided pilgrimage walks and pilgrimage cycle routes (in German), visit: www.kloster-loccum.de
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