Klosterneuburg monastery

The Legend of the Veil

In the year 1105, when Margrave Leopold III of Austria married the daughter of King Henry IV, Agnes, a gust of wind took the veil of the bride, as the newly married couple went out onto the balcony of the castle on the Leopoldsberg. In spite of the immediate search for it, it was impossible to find the veil. Therefore Leopold promised to build a monastery on the spot, where the veil would be found.
It should take nine years, before that day came. The margrave was out hunting, when his hounds suddenly barked at an elder-shrub, where the veil was found almost undamaged.

This is a nice story, but it is pure nonsense, even though it is handed down in printing. The only fact, that is correct, is the time of nine years between the marriage and the foundation of the monastery.
But else? First of all, there was no castle on the Leopoldsberg at that time. Secondly the monastery was built very close to the residence of the couple, where they had been living for an entire year already. So Leopold wouldn't have had to go for a hunt, but merely look out through the window, in order to find the veil. That it after so long time as nine years still was "almost undamaged", in spite of having been at the mercy of the forces of nature, shall only be mentioned in the margin, with a complying smile.

The founders of the monastery are immortalized on the outside of the church.
It is said that the Legend of the Veil should be explained like this: it should express, that Agnes (and her large dowry) had a big part in the foundation of the monastery. This is also shown by the many images of the founders, in which Leopold and Agnes always are represented together.
Furthermore the finding of the veil should show, that the spot of the foundation was a place to God's liking. This would maybe make more sense, if the monastery had been build first and only afterwards the residence - not the other way round.

In spite of all this a part of the veil still is kept as a relic in the monastery ...

© Bernhard Kauntz, Wolvertem, Belgium 2013

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14.10.2013 by webmaster@werbeka.com