Welcome to
the home page of Östanbäck monastery

All swedish Lutheran convents and monastaries in Swedish


Introduction

As you turn into the open yard of the monastery, the driveway divides. Here at the notice board the oldest house is close by to the right. It was erected in 1876 as a school, and was in use for fifty years. Then a new larger house was built higher up the slope. At that time, in 1926, the old school was turned into a residential house for teachers and other personnel. Forty years later, in 1967, there were not many school-children left in the area, and those who remained were given transport to another school. The school building was then turned into a mattress factory, with the owner living in what had been the teacher's house. The factory stayed on until 1970, when the FOUNDATION OF THE HOLY CROSS FRATERNITY bought the buildings, in order to here establish a monastery with inspiration from the RULE OF SAINT BENEDICT, the great western monastic rule from the 6th century—the rule that Ansgar, Sigfrid, David, Eskil and other early missionaries in Sweden adhered to.

The first brethren moved into the teacher's house in November 1970. In 1972 they could move to the larger building, where the chapel and the monks' cells had been provisionally furnished. Office-room and kitchen are now under the same roof, where the chapel naturally is the central point. The lower floor is accessible to visitors. The older house became a guesthouse. The monastery receives guests who for various reasons need peace and quiet, or perhaps a refuge for thought. They stay and eat at a self-cost price.

Further down the drive leading straight through toward the edge of the forest, on the right side there is a candle manufactory and shop. When the brethren found that they could not comply with the larger orders for candles, the WMP company in Sala took over these—with the advice and the dipping machine of the monastery. The candles are available in most arts and crafts shops in the surrounding area.

On the westward slope are stone-walled terraces with vegetable plots and a greenhouse. Tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, beans and berries of various kinds thrive. These "treasures of the earth" may last far into the autumn.


The central
point and
heart of the house

A well-known logotype.
Phone +46-224-25188
for ordering and advice.

Brother Birger is
in charge of
the candle-making

The manufacture of candles in different sizes and shapes, among them Paschal candles, is an important source of income for the monastery.

Some history

The SEPTUAGESIMA Sunday, the 14th of February 1960, four theology students from both Lund and Uppsala, with the knowledge and blessing of the then Bishop of Västerås, JOHN CULLBERG, and spiritual guidance of an Anglican Franciscan priest, gave their vows for the HOLY CROSS FRATERNITY before the director of the diocesan retreat centre in Rättvik, NILS-HUGO AHLSTEDT. The vows were a preparation for the establishment of a male order in the classic sense within the Church of Sweden. It all went on very quietly. The years 1960–1965 may be characterized as the initial period of preparation and studies, with a development away from the original Franciscan and Anglican orientation towards the Benedictine renewal in the Roman Catholic Church of the Second Vatican Council.

In the old vicarage of VÄSTERÅS-BARKARÖ, on the day of St. Francis 1965, the actual formation of a community with shared possessions took place. Barkarö came to stand for a concept among the youngest priests, and in the High Church discussions and visions of pastoral strategy in the incipient seventies. Here, a 12th-century church was filled with young families and dedicated laymen from the village and from the metropolis of Asea industry, Västerås.

But the monastic idea that, after all, was the driving force that united the brethren was not so easy to realize in the hub of teeming parish life. In 1970 came the departure from Barkarö. On strange roads the brethren were directed step by step—by different words from the Bible—to the old school in Östanbäck. The first brethren moved here in November 1970, settling in what is now the guesthouse and starting to furnish a chapel in the large house. In 1972 the brethren were able to move across the yard to the monastery building, the heart of which is the chapel, albeit at that time not quite finished.

The brethren looked forward to the consecration of their place!

The emeritus bishop BENGT SUNDKLER, who had been the bishop of the fraternity with the assent of the Bishop of Västerås, and had been confirmed in this function by the Archbishop of Uppsala, consecrated the chapel and monastery at a great festival, the 20th of July 1975.

In a statement the 17th of January 1960 the Bishops' Conference of the Church of Sweden gave a full acknowledgment to the monasteries and communities that have emerged in the Church of Sweden.

The monastery has a traditional BENEDICTINE constitution as an independent monastery—the Roman Catholic Benedictines do likewise not form an order, but a loose association with great pluralism and strong independence in the different congregations and individual monasteries within it.

To the Benedictine abbots' conferences in Rome the father of the monastery is regularly invited as an observer, as are the Anglican Benedictine abbots.

Östanbäck monastery is thus one of several examples of
THE RENAISSANCE OF MONASTIC LIFE
within the churches shaped by the 16th-century Reformation.

Most famous of the communities in the reformed churches is that of TAIZÉ in France, with around a hundred brethren and an aura reaching all over the world, not least through the enormous youth meetings held each year in various large cities.

With our life we also want to contribute to the reunion of the churches in the unity that carries the promise about the belief of the world (Gospel of St. John, xxvii). The old boundaries have also largely become outdated. Instead new ones threaten, along with a secularization to which an established national church is especially liable.

Right there and then, with the vocation we affirm,
we want to call out:

The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent Ye and Believe the Gospel.


Östanbäcks kloster, 733 98 Sala
Phone 0224-25088, fax 0224-25188.
e-mail to father Caesarius: caesarius@swipnet.se

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and page administrator: Per.Englund@svkyrkan.se