Sharing Life in Two Rites

Abbot Marianus Bieber OSB
Monks’ excursion to Benedictine Monastery of Seitenstetten

Niederaltaich is a monastery with two ecclesiastical traditions – the majority of the monks live in the roman rite, the minority in the byzantine rite. Four times a day the monks celebrate services parallel to each other, each in their own rite. The noon office and vespers are scheduled in such a way that all can participate in a meal together in the refectory afterwards. The shared meal has a liturgical significance in itself as a prototype of the heavenly Wedding Feast. On Sunday all the monks gather around an altar and celebrate the Eucharist, one week in the roman rite and the next in the byzantine rite.

Outside of the liturgy every monk lives his life according to the traditions of his respective rite. Work is shared in common by each in his particular place. All the monks take part together in monastic conferences and work of the various commissions (for example the monastery Chapter). Together all the monks choose an Abbot as director of both rites.

Through our presence and our life in two apostolic traditions within a single community our goal is to contribute to the transmission of the spiritual treasures of both traditions. Through our ecumenical dedication we also hope to serve the spiritual healing and wholeness of the entire Christian faith.