World Wars and new beginnings

Aside from pilgrimage and the economic and social involvement in the 20th century, the two World Wars and important spiritual, economic and cultural turning points define the monastery’s history.

Abbot Bonifaz Wöhrmüller (1919-1951) guided the monastery through the difficult years after World War I, the Third Reich and the postwar era.

The economic enterprises had to be restructured, pilgrimage and pastoral care demanded energy and attention. What’s more, fewer and fewer monks joined the ranks for service in Andechs. Among other things, the St.-Nikolausanstalt therefore had to be given up in 1925 and the Gregoriusanstalt in 1933. Investments in the monastery’s economy continued even in these years.

As Munich was increasingly threatened by bombings during World War II, about 25,000 of the most valuable volumes in the Saint Boniface Abbey library were brought to Andechs and so escaped destruction. Most of the inventory remaining in Munich was destroyed early in 1944. The Andechs Monastery escaped bombing by the Allies in 1945 by good fortune.

A new beginning

Two abbots defined the period immediately after 1945. Hugo Lang was elected as abbot in 1951. He primarily made a name for himself as a radio preacher. In 1964/67, Odilo Lechner took over the office of abbot. He led the monastery into the period after the Second Vatican Council “with an open heart” – that was his motto. Between 1974 and 1983, the monks invested massively in the new construction of the monastery brewery.

Abbot Odilo make the monastery a place where many social and church groups came together. The Wittelsbacher Cemetery was established on the south side of the monastery’s gardens in 1980. It underscores the connection to the founding family. The Friends of the Andechs Monastery association was founded in 1986. Between 1986 and 1992, the Fürstentrakt was extensively restored.

Abbot Gregor Danner (1904-1919)
Abbot Bonifaz Wöhrmüller (1919-1951)
Abbot Hugo Lang (1951-1967)
Abbot Odilo Lechner (1964-2003)
Former Abbot Odilo Lechner and Abbot Johannes Eckert

From the 20th to the 21st century

The Bavarian state exhibition “Dukes and Saints” was held in 1993 on the 750th anniversary of Saint Hedwig’s death. From 1998 to 2015, the Carl Orff Festival was held annually in Andechs. The Pilgrimage Church was extensively renovated from the year 2000 to 2005. Abbot Odilo stepped down in 2003 due to age. The monastery elected Johannes Eckert as his successor.

Andechs Monastery at the beginning of the 20th century
Andechs Monastery in the mid-1980s
Renovation of the church beginning in the year 2000

In 2005, the 550-year anniversary of the monastery and the 250th anniversary of the Pilgrimage Church’s redesign in the rococo style were celebrated with church services, festivities, publications, concerts, the dedication of a new organ and a symposium. In 2007, the Andechs Monastery received a fifth bell donated by the Ottmaringer Wallfahrer. Abbot Johannes was confirmed in office for another 12 years through election by his Brothers in 2015. The monastery brewery was expanded again in 2018/19.

Andechs Monastery Emblem

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