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Wallfahrtskirche Maria Himmelfahrt, Langwinkl

Wallfahrtskirche Maria Himmelfahrt, Langwinkl

The pilgrimage church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary at Langwinkl is one of the most famous pilgrimage churches in the Rott Valley.

It was inaugurated over 300 years ago, on 19 May 1686. At that time it took more than 50 years for the church to be built. The discovery of a picture of the Virgin Mary by the mute blacksmith's son Johann Grienwald from Salzburg at the height of Langwinkl is the beginning of its history. According to tradition Grienwald, who was mute from birth, stayed in the Rott Valley region in 1629 for spa and pilgrimage purposes. There, on a hill near "Beuerbach", at that time a splendid noble seat with frequently-changing rulers, he found the aforementioned picture of Mary, a representation of the Visitation of Mary. He went to a carpenter to have a suitable frame made for the picture. Another picture of the Virgin Mary, a depiction of the famous picture of grace from the Our Lady, Help of Christians chapel in Passau which he saw in the carpenter's residence, inspired Grienwald to make a pilgrimage to the chapel. After two unsuccessful pilgrimages to the place of grace, Grienwald was able to speak a few words after his third pilgrimage to Passau in 1633. When he returned to Bayerbach, the owner of Beuerbach, von Eßwurm, granted him maintenance for about half a year before Grienwald returned to Passau with full use of his voice for Christmas of the same year. In thanks for his redemption from suffering, Our Lady is said to have appeared to him on a moss hill, similar to the Langwinkl. This apparition inspired him to build a chapel in the village. He also wanted to spend the rest of his life in the solitude of the chapel. Back in Bayerbach, Grienwald received the building permit from Beuerbach's owner. But due to the Thirty Years' War and the plague, Grienwald had to retreat to Austria. In 1634 Schloßherr von Eßwurm died. After the plague had subsided, Grienwald returned to Bayerbach in 1639 to fulfil his vows. The new owner of Bayerbach, Wolfgang Wilhelm Ehrenreich von und zu Etzenberg, only believed in Grienwald's miraculous healing when he had it confirmed by a letter of credentials in Passau. As a result, Etzenberg confirmed the donation of his predecessor and Grienwald built a wooden chapel at the site of the Marienbild in 1640 for the time being. Some years later the construction of the pilgrimage church could begin. When an envoy of Pope Urban VIII, the Capuchin monk Anton Marian, came through Bayerbach in 1643, he learned of the newly-flourishing pilgrimage to Langwinkl. He celebrated a holy mass in Langwinkl, but Grienwald's picture of grace could not be found. It is believed that it was secretly taken to a seriously-ill patient. As a result, the papal legate donated a picture of the Virgin Mary and several relics to the chapel. During the construction of the church, in 1649, Grienwald died as a victim of the plague. Nevertheless, the chapel was completed under the auspices of Etzenberg and inaugurated in 1686 by Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Maximus. According to the style, the pleasing early baroque complex must have been built by Bartholomä Viscardi. It resembles the St. Salvator monastery church and the Vilshofen city tower, which were built at the same time by Viscardi. From the outside, the plastered small church has a vivid pilaster structure. The tower has a five-storey square substructure and is finished with an onion dome. Inside, the chapel is adorned with rich stucco work and a large number of ceiling paintings. The ceiling paintings depict the birth, death and assumption of the Virgin Mary. The baroque high altar dates from around 1680 to 1690. On a marble substructure a stately stucco structure rises with two columns and curved beams. The background is formed by a stucco curtain, which is gathered by two angels of the hereditary family below the altarpiece. Two life-size side figures, St. Leonhard and St. Antonius, flank the newer altarpiece of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary (19th century). The right side altar from 1675 depicts St. Anna and Mary with the Child Jesus. The left side altar from 1730 is early rococo. It depicts St. Elisabeth in its altarpiece. Grienwald's original altarpiece no longer exists, and neither does the altarpiece which the papal legate once donated to the pilgrimage church. The representation of Mary with the Child, an 18 cm-high terracotta statue, disappeared in the turmoil of the First World War. Today it has been replaced by a gold-plated, monstrance capsule in the niche of the tabernacle at the main altar, a replica of this image of grace. In the tower of the Langwinkl church, two bells from 1715 and 1716 still call people to prayer today.
Patrocinium: 2 July

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