A historically significant abbey in scenic surroundings

Hirsau Monastery

Portrait of Johannes Karg, second Protestant abbot of Hirsau Monastery. Image: Credit unknown
PROTESTANT ABBOT AND TEACHER

Johannes Karg

Johannes Karg (1525–1588), named Parsimonius, studied theology in Tübingen and Wittenberg under eminent teachers, including Martin Luther. Over the course of his career, he rose to high ecclesiastical offices in Württemberg and was abbot of Hirsau for almost 20 years.

Portrait of Philipp Melanchthon, pen and ink drawing by Albrecht Dürer, 1526. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Melanchthon influenced Karg greatly.

WHAT INFLUENCED KARG THE MOST?

Johannes Karg was born into a time of upheaval. The society of his time was characterized by humanism and the Reformation. Even while he was still at school in Augsburg and later during his studies in Tübingen and Wittenberg, he came into contact with famous scholars such as Jacob Andreae, Caspar Cruciger, Philipp Melanchthon and Martin Luther. Their theological views were the heaviest influences on Karg's career.

Exterior view of the palace church at the Old Castle Stuttgart. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

He acted as court chaplain and consistorial councilor.

WHICH OFFICES DID KARG HOLD?

Johannes Karg entered civil service as a Protestant theologian in Württemberg in 1552. He was first a senior deacon at St. George's Collegiate Church in Tübingen, before being appointed as superintendent and town pastor for Blaubeuren. A brief time later, he was named superintendent of Bad Cannstatt, Waiblingen and Winnenden. And shortly thereafter, Duke Christoph promoted him to court chaplain and consistorial councilor for the palace church in Stuttgart.

WHAT DID KARG DO AS ABBOT OF HIRSAU?

In 1569, Karg was given the Hirsau prelature. During his nearly 20-year office as abbot and headmaster of the Protestant monastery school, he composed extensive pedagogical and historical works. He wrote his own textbooks for the students of his school. His reports reveal much about the typical school day at Hirsau. His descriptions of the murals in the Church of St. Peter and Paul, in the library, and in particular those of the stained-glass windows in the cloister that were destroyed in 1692, are especially valuable today.

Library in the Chapel of St. Mary at Hirsau Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

His writings include descriptions of the precious inventory of manuscripts and books in the library at Hirsau Monastery.

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