Langheim, a celebrated Cistercian abbey situated in Upper Franconia (Bavaria), not far from Mein, in the Diocese of Bamberg. Three brothers of the city of Bamberg made a gift of the estate of Langheim to Bishop St. Otto VIII, who, in 1132, offered it to the Cistercians of the Abbey of Ebrac (which was itself founded by Morimond), under the condition that they should establish there a monastery of their order. Encouraged by St. Bernard, Adam, Abbot of Ebrac, accepted the offer. On August 1, 1132, he laid the corner stone of the new monastery, and in 1142 the buildings were completed. The first to rule this community was Abbot Adam (1141-80), who, by his wisdom and holiness, won the sympathy of the bishops of Bamberg and of the nobles of the surrounding country for the new foundation. Very soon the abbey found itself in possession of considerable revenues, and had a large number of parishes depending upon it. Pope Eugene III and the emperors granted it many privileges. All the ancient historians of the order agree in saying that it surpassed every other monastery in splendor and wealth, while one of its distinctive characteristics was the generous hospitality which it extended to all visitors. But this era of prosperity endured scarcely more than two centuries, for in 1385 the Bishop of Bamberg seized part of the property of the abbey, and in 1429 the Hussites destroyed the buildings by fire. After these misfortunes it arose again from its ruins, and enjoyed a return of prosperity, until, in 1535, the revolted peasants applied the torch and reduced all once more to ashes. After the abbey had been rebuilt, a period of peace ensued, but in 1632 the Swedish hordes delivered it up to pillage, subjected the monks to every outrage, and left nothing but misery and desolation in their train. It was not until the following century that Abbot Stephen Mosinger (1734-51) had the monastery reconstructed in such proportions and with a splendor that recalled the first abbey. During this interval the bishops had again become favorable to the religious, but failed to restore either the property they had usurped or the old time privileges. The final catastrophe occurred on May 7, 1802, when fire destroyed the splendid buildings erected by Stephen Mosinger and put an end to Langheim. On June 23, 1803, the community, at that time numbering forty-nine members, was secularized by a decree of the Prince Elector of Bavaria. The religious were dispersed to various places, and the last abbot, Candide Hemmerlein, received a pension of 8000 florins, with which he retired to the Castle of Thieb, where he died in 1814.
This abbey gave to the Church in Germany many bishops, who distinguished themselves by their zeal in combating error, and in laboring for the conversion of heretics; it also sheltered many writers who were not without merit. We may here mention the monk Engelrich, who wrote the “Leben der hl. Mathilde, Abtissin von Edelstetten”; Simon Schreiner of the seventeenth century, who composed a treatise on the “Vierzehnheiligen”, and an “Apologia contra Lutheranos”. The Abbot Moritz Knauer, a distinguished mathematician and astronomer, published different works on the natural sciences, also an ascetical work entitled “Tuba Coeli” (1649-64); but the most prolific author was Joachim H. Jaeck, who, after his secularization, published the results of his researches on the history of Bamberg and the surrounding country. In 1210 Langheim founded the Abbey of Plass in the Diocese of Prague, Bohemia. In 1445 Abbot Frederick Hengelein built at Frankenthal, as a dependence of the abbey, a church in honor of the “Fourteen Holy Helpers”, which soon became a celebrated and much frequented place of pilgrimage. The care of this church is now confided to the Franciscans.