A bishop of Brixen as founding father

Popes and antipopes, crusades and the Investiture Controversy, corruption and moral decline. In Hartmann’s lifetime (c. 1090 to 1164) the church was in a lamentable state. Hartmann, who came from the Passau region and was elected Bishop of Brixen in 1140, was one of the reformers who wanted to take the church and the order back to its origins.

It was in this spirit, and with the idea of creating a place to which he could retreat, that he founded the Augustinian Abbey in 1142 near his bishop’s seat. The location of the abbey was chosen deliberately. It lies at the intersection of the trade and pilgrim routes through two valleys: Pustertal and Eisacktal. Everything had to pass by Neustift: pilgrims, goods, and in particular information.

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