Bundesland: Oberösterreich Upper Austria
Bezirk: Gmunden  


Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut

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1167 Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut is situated at an elevation of 549 m at the northern shore of the lake Wolfgangsee (previously named Abersee) in the Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria. For centuries, the place was one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Europe. In modern times, Sankt Wolfgang is a popular tourist resort. A special boost for the popularity of Sankt Wolfgang and especially for one of its hotels, the Hotel “Weißes Rössl”, was the operetta “Im Weißen Rößl” (1929/30) by Ralph Benatzky (1884–1957). Sankt Wolfgang was officially renamed Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut in 1951.

303 Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut The Late Gothic parish and pilgrimage church Sankt Wolfgang [left] was completed in 1414 and was rebuilt 1429–1477 after a fire had destroyed the previous church (the first church was already mentioned in document of 1180). The interior was decorated with Baroque frescos in 1683–1697. The bell-shaped roof of the church tower was added in the 18th century. Among the famous treasures of the church are two magnificent wood-carved altars. The main altar is a magnificent folding altar (completed in 1481) carved by the famous Michael Pacher. The sculptured figures show Our Lady praying before Christ; further figures show St. Wolfgang and St. Benedict. The second altar is a marvellous double altar for St. Wolfgang and St. John the Baptist. This altar is one of the master-pieces of Thomas Schwanthaler (1575–1576) and incorporates a statue of St. Wolfgang of around 1420. Master-pieces of Meinrad Guggenbichler are the pulpit and an Ecce Homo, both of 1706. The Rococo chapel of St. Wolfgang was added in the 1713 at the site of the saint's legendary hermitage. An object of veneration in this chapel is a stone, which, according to the legend, bears the imprints of St. Wolfgang's feet.

Saint Wolfgang was born in 924 in Pfullingen (in today's state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany). He studied at Reichenau under the Benedictines and at Würzburg before he became head of the cathedral school in Trier. He later entered the Benedictine monastery of Einsiedeln where he was ordained priest by bishop (Saint) Ulrich of Augsburg in 968. He later worked as a missionary in the region of Noricum until he became bishop of Regensburg in 972. According to the legend, Wolfgang tried to get away from political quarrels that had arisen a few years later. After arriving at the monastery of Mondsee in 976, he first lived in a cave in the mountains above the Abersee lake but later decided to build a church and a small hermitage near the lake. According to the legend, he had thrown an axe down the mountain and vowed to build the church where he would find it. A popular version of the story has it that the devil himself offered to help him build the church and for reward demanded the first living creature that entered church. Wolfgang accepted, but of course made sure that the first living creature to enter the church was not a human but a wolf. It is said that Wolfgang spent seven years in this area before he was found by a delegation of his bishopric who asked him to return to Regensburg. Wolfgang died in 994 in Pupping near Eferding in Upper Austria and was buried in the church of the monastery St. Emmeram in Regensburg. He was canonized in 1052, his feast day is 31 October.

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