In the middle of the 18th century, during the tenure of Abbot Franziskus Müntzer, two copperplate engravings were produced by the Swiss engraver Franz Xaver Schönbächler. They show the extensive monastery grounds, from the south and the north respectively.
Apparently, they provided the basis for an inventory and for plans to carry out some building works. Under Abbot Franziskus Müntzer, the monastery was about to be transformed into a noble residence along French lines. When you were in the vestibule, you may already have noticed the view of the grounds from the north, where it was on the right-hand side. It’s also interesting for another reason:
Schönbächler devoted the entire upper third to an image of the abbey’s most important relic at that time. In a cloud, borne up by angels and surrounded by a gloriole, he presents a reliquary that contained the Holy Blood relic – some drops of the blood of Christ. The relic had arrived in Schuttern from Strasbourg in the late 13th century. For centuries, it had attracted crowds of pilgrims and turned the monastery into one of the Ortenau region’s most important places of pilgrimage. A visit to see the relic of the Holy Blood was not only thought to be beneficial to life in the here and now, it was also meant to shorten the time a soul spent in purgatory – by a year for venial sins, and by 100 days for mortal sins.
All depictions: © Historischer Verein Schuttern 603 e.V. / Gemeinde Friesenheim