First Day Cover of the Austrian Christmas 2010 stamp issue, inspired this year by the valuable manuscript document from Cistercian Abbey Rein Monastery, posted on November, 19 2010.
(Special thanks to my friend Edna Chin)
This year’s Christmas stamp issued by Austria shows part of an antiphonal of the Cistercian monastery at Rein in Styria.
The choral manuscript with precious initials dates from the second half of the 15th century and once served as a liturgical book for the hourly prayers of the local monks. The stamp shows the “classical scene” of the birth of Christ in the artistic interpretation of the early Renaissance. The history of Rein monastery dates back to 1129. St Bernard was still alive when the monastery was founded in what was at the time a densely forested valley, and Margrave Leopold the Strong brought the first monks here from Ebrach in Franconia. Monks of the Cistercian Order have lived here without interruption since this time, pursuing, alongside their spiritual work, agriculture and pisciculture. In addition, they were in high demand as craftsmen and industrious writers; over 400 manuscripts, numerous incunabula (including Johannes Kepler’s calendar table from 1607!) are carefully stored in the monastery library. Starting out from Rein, the oldest Cistercian monastery in the world, four further abbeys were founded: Wilhering, Schlierbach, the New Monastery in Wiener Neustadt and Sticna in Slovenia. Numerous Styrian princes are buried in Rein monatery. The basilica itself is without doubt one of the largest and most attractive churches in Styria. The originally three-nave Romanesque church was consecrated in 1138, and subsequently, particularly in the 18th century, further embellished by renowned artists and magnificent craftsmen – such that the Baroque basilica today radiates a beauty that is an invitation to celebrate and meditate. In summer 2006, restoration work on the Chapel of St Mary revealed the foundations of the former Romanesque chapter house. An extraordinary discovery was also made, the grave of Margrave Leopold, the benefactor of Rein and the founder of Styria. The oldest Madonna in the monastery was given a new worthy home here, where the monks of Rein gather several times a day to pray together.
Date of Issue: 19-11-2010
Type: Commemorative stamp
No. of Stamp in Set: 1
Process of Printing: offset
Protection of the stamp:
Printer: Österreichische Staatsdruckerei
Designer: Adolf Tuma
(source: Austria Post)