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Tepl

A Premonstratensian abbey in the western part of Bohemia

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Tepl, a Premonstratensian abbey in the western part of Bohemia, included in the Archdiocese of Prague; it was rounded in 1193 by the blessed martyr Hroznata, a Bohemian nobleman (d. 1217). The first monks came from the Abbey of Strahov in Prague. Tepl escaped any damage in the Hussite Wars, probably on account of the military spirit of its Abbot, Racko of Risenberg (1411-44), who was aided by his relatives. It suffered, however, all the more during the era of the Reformation. Luther’s doctrine soon found adherents among the subjects of the abbey. In 1525 there was a rebellion against the abbot and peace was not restored until the ring-leaders of the revolt were executed. In the following years a number of the monks left the order and married. Monastic discipline was restored by Abbot Johann Kurz (1555-59), who also established a theological school. But his successor, Johann Meyskonig (1559-85), had a struggle with insubordination in the monastery. With the aid of the archbishop he was able to improve the monastery and the school. He brought back most of his subjects to the Catholic Church by compulsion, after gentle treatment had failed. The reform was continued by Mathias Gohl (1585-96). Andreas Ebersbach (1598-1629) was a zealous reformer of the abbey and raised it to such a height that it was called the “nursery of pastoral work”. Parochial work and higher education are still important features of the life of the abbey. The abbey has the pastoral care of twenty-four parishes that are all in the western part of Bohemia, a section which is almost entirely German. A twenty-fifth parish is being formed. The abbey has a theological school of the order with a two years’ course and three professors. Since 1809 it has had charge of the German gymnasium at Pilsen where there are fourteen canons. It also owns the celebrated cure of Marienbad. It supports hospitals at Tepl and Marienbad. The members of the abbey include 84 priests, 13 clerics, and 2 novices. The present monastery building was erected by Abbot Raimund Wilfert II (1688-1724); the library was built by Abbot Gilbert Helmer (since 1900). The Romanesque church, with additions in the style of the transition to the Gothic, is one of the oldest churches of Bohemia.

KLEMENS LOFFLER


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