Geras Abbey

An abbey that feels like home – also for the herbalist priest Benedikt Felsinger

The door is open but the heart even more so: It is with this saying of the monks of old that the Premonstratensians at Geras Abbey warmly welcome all their guests. From lovers of art or nature to individuals seeking counsel or contemplation. Age-old monastic tradition tells us that all roads are open. That includes the one to Geras Nature Park. Just follow it for a great outing with the whole family. It is a place where everyone can enjoy a wonderful break.

Landmark of the region

Geras Abbey was presumably founded in 1153. The first Premonstratensians came from the Abbey of Želiv/Seelau in Moravia, which had already been settled by Christian Slavs. Count Ulrich II of Pernegg endowed the “March Monastery” as a center of worship and culture, pastoral care and economics. The abbey was repeatedly caught between the fronts, whether it be the Kuenrings or the Bohemians, the Swedes or the Hussites, the National Socialists or the Soviet Russians. No other monastery of this order experienced so much destruction. Nonetheless, Geras is the one with the longest continuous history! By the end of the Thirty Years’ War, Geras had been reduced to a pile of rubble. Only five monks remained. Finding the nearly unscathed statue of the Virgin Mary in the ruins, they took heart and began the arduous task of rebuilding. Today the chapter of canons is entrusted with the pastoral care of more than 20 parishes. Since 1953, the abbey church has held the title of Basilica minor. Pilgrims come here seeking the intercession of Our Lady of Geras. The monks also work at schools, in adult and youth education, and in various commissions of the order and the diocese. 

Artistic delights in the cloister

The initial Baroque impression is misleading. Geras Abbey was originally a medieval complex – the abbey church, the cloister and the adjoining rooms were always rebuilt on the layout of the original complex. So, the massive pillars of the first triple-aisle basilica from the 12th c are still under the stucco marble in the church. One of the treasures of the abbey is the Marble Hall above the main portal. Its ceiling is decorated with a splendid signed fresco by Paul Troger. The exterior facade bears the signature of Jakob Christoph Schletterer. In the library, you can find frescoes by Josef Winterhalder. The list goes on and on. Many artists have left their mark here. 

Contemplation - turning inward

Consciously embracing a life of art and culture. Alongside the permanent exhibitions “Herbalist Pastor Weidinger and His Abbey” and “Abbey Treasures”, Geras also has special alternating exhibitions. You catch the inviting fragrances wafting from the herb garden from a long way off. The garden reveals many a secret of ancient medicine. Another recommendation: Enjoy a welcome break staying in the monastery itself. Immerse yourself in a completely different atmosphere or attend seminars on subjects like cloister tranquility and monastic fasting to tap into and discover whole new aspects of yourself and the world around you! An inward journey of exploration, as it were.

Tip: Mother Nature at her best
The 132-ha Geras Nature Park adjoins the abbey premises. In its forests and meadows, hiking and animal enthusiasts encounter lynxes, donkeys and wild oxen as well as fallow, sikka and red deer. Among the highlights of the nature park are a petting zoo, the pond landscape and an educational trail focusing on bats. Do you know what a tarpan is? You can find out here!