From Acre to Vienna – the german fraternity

If you walk frorm the Stephansplatz to the corner Singerstraße /  – you come to an unimpressive building. But behind that walls there are old historic buildings. If you enter the passage you come to the old medivial chappel of the german fraternity. It is a kind of a magic and mysterious place that I like, with statues of knights different singns where you think what does it mean and which kind of person left it. At the wall are hatchments from high fraternity knigts. From the original building a gothik longbuilding after four fires nothing left apart from the churchtower. The Church were rebuild in several stages. 1395 it were  holey agained. On the churchwall 80 crests from rich knights were fixed there. The winged altar was build 1520 in Mechelen for the Marienchurch in Dresden. In 1864 the altar was brought to the fraternity church.

220px-Deutschordenskirche_Wien Inside the church

If you go ahead you come to a first yard. There are officerooms from the fraternity. In the second yard there is a restaurant.

The fraternity was found as hospitality community during the siege from Acre (1189 -1191) The founder was Master Sibrand in Septmber 1190.  It was a difficult time for the christians. They were in danger to lose there exististence in the holy land. In that situation Guido from Lusignan (the husband of Queen Sybille) the temerarious decision to siege Acre. His incitement was to gain again a position of power. But for the Situation of the christian it was the best that could happend. In that high noon situation ha came with around 2000 man strong army.  The garrison in the city counted nearly the double and a view day travelles far stood Saladin with his big army. He sieged a castle. Nobody know how but the small christian force could survife. Maybe because Saladin hasitated in the situation. A view days later the first christian ships arrived to reinforce the army.  In one of the countless ships that arrived in Acre were the german traders which layed the foundation for the german fraternity. They saw the miserable situation of the injured and initiated a field military hospital.  Under the Army were johanniter but they had not the capacity to help all the wounded and sick soldiers.  Alltough so many ships came to strenghen the christian (In Europe many pepole left all behind to go Acre and help – It could be compared with a fever) they were not able to surrender Acre. They were waiting for the two great kings Richard I (lionhard) And King Phillip Augustus the french king.  They came after the christian army stood there for 18 mounth. They faced hunger and sickness in front of the walls. And soon Acre were defeted.

250px-City_of_Acre,_Israel_(aerial_view,_2005)                                                               Akkon today on that half iland was the mediveal city located.

1198 the hospital community became a knight fraternity.  The first leader was Heinrich Walpot. Soon the german fraternity became an influence in the kingdom Jerusalem. The fraternitis high masters became kings consultants. An important role during the 5. crusade played the 4. Highmaster Hermann from Salza.

220px-Marienb8 Highmaster Hermann from Salza

He worked out a compromise with the high peers of the kingdom from Jerusalem. Until 1250  the fraternity owned  castles land and property in the holy land  in Gaza, Tyros, Sidon and Tripolis.

In the holy kingdom of german nation Transsylvania, Bohemia, Moravia and Burgundy they begann to buy land and real property. So they won also in europe more and more influence.  In Vienna they established between 1204 to 1206 their big  property next to the Stephanschurch.

120px-Deutschorden_z02 House of the German fraternity in Vienna today

After the decline of the crusadersstate the german fraternity worked in europe. In the 13 century the fraternity builded a state in the north of Europe (Baltikum noth Germany) which existed until the 16. century. The legacy the the fraternity state left was the  land Preußen. After the war the fraternity faced difficult years. The financial situation were difficult for many fraternity communals.  In the 2. nd Worldwar the fraternity faced prosecution.

In the Presents the headquater of the fraternity is in the building next to the Stephans cathedral. The Highmaster Marian Josef Tumler was the fist that resided during is lead in Vienna.

Today in the fraternaty hous are not just offices. It houses the treassure chamber where are many different precious artifacts like reclic, weapons,  pictures and altarpieces to see.

The central archive of the fraternatiy, where ar thousends of old ducuments.  Beside is also a guest house for travelling people.