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Berg Klösterle


How Zedlitzdorf came to his Monastery

On 22 October 1600 the Commission of the Styrian Bishop Martin Brenner from Seckau arrived in Katschberg. He had come to Carinthia to start the Counter Reformation in Feldkirchen. All the Lutheran farmers from Himmelberg and the upper Gurk valley had to agree to religious instruction and conversion; the people received the message "Whoever is not Catholic, must leave his property!".

Some sold their farms, gave one-tenth of the proceeds to the landlord and then chose the path to an unknown foreign country. Numerous persons reconverted to the Catholic rite but remained Protestants in their hearts. In this way they were able to stay on their property.

The fact that the secret Protestants met their preachers in remote houses, and brought them banned books could not be hidden by the government. In order to supervise and monitor the Catholic population, small churches with secular or religious priests were built in those remote valleys.

In the mountain village Gorizia near Zedlitzdorf there was a small church of the Holy Trinity from 1500. The church "in Gorizia" was later entrusted to the Capuchins, but these priests also settled in Gnesau. In 1750 the church in Gorizia burned down.

The stately two storey monastery building is built around a square courtyard. The church was built along the north wall. It is 20 m long and 8 m wide and was decorated with beautiful baroque paintings. The numerous paintings on the walls, on the ceiling, the choir and on the nave, represent the Carmelite saints.

There are paintings of Turks, Indians and Negroes representatives of cultures which the Carmelites worked as missionaries. One painting represents Maria Theresa in ermine. The main altar is almost pompous. The church was consecrated to Our Lady.  Because this church as a whole is of high artistic value, it was soon called "Little Mariazell" by the local people.

The Carmelites were in Zedlitzdorf to "help the sick and dying and baptize the new born children". They were there for only 30 years. In 1786, Emperor Josef II dissolved this monastery in the course of his church reforms. Then the church was affiliated to the parish of Gnesau and was formally recognized on February 6th, 1818. The former superior of the Carmelite order, Pancratius Schmid became the first curate of Zedlitzdorf.

Later the monastery buildings were used for residential purposes. The present festivity hall was used as a primary school until a new school was built in 1910. In 1969, the diocese of Gurk sold the Monastery, without the church and the graveyard, to the Gerlich family.