A Baroque Christmas in the Benedictine Monastery

45 min / 50 min

Seitenstetten Abbey, “God’s square”, is situated in the Mostviertel in the Alpine foothills of Lower Austria. The Benedictine monastery can look back on a long history rich in tradition. It is an economic and agricultural as well as spiritual center for the region. Seitenstetten Abbey is also the setting for Christmas celebrations, with special traditions, masses and above all singing. On the “business” side of the Abbey, Advent is the time when stocks are organized and stored for the lean winter months. Advent is in fact a period of fasting with strict rules that are rarely broken. Specific topics covered in the film are the maintenance of stocks, honey and how it is processed, and craftsmen in the church and Abbey, especially gilders and blacksmiths. Another topic is a baroque nativity play in the church, which is put on together with pupils from the monastery high school, with the convent providing baroque Christmas hymns. The Christmas gospel is read and the baroque library is on display. An Advent Rorate Mass (a dawn service) sets the mood for Advent. The film includes a series of scenes from plays, interwoven with documentary footage.

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