Churches and Chapels
The most important at a glance
Other points of interest
The proudest symbol of St Leonard in Leogang today is found the mighty chain that encircles the entire church. The rare chain-ringing motif is only found only in churches dedicated to St Leonard, and as the only St Leonard only church in the Archdiocese of Salzburg, ours is the only one encircled by an iron chain.
As an additional attraction of our house of worship, there is the painting “Mary, waiting” (image of a woman, circa 1700), which had disappeared from Leogang over 50 years ago, was bought back by the Bread Museum in Ulm in 1984.
Fourth Sacred Building in Leogang
The present parish church is at least the fourth sacred building to stand in this location in Leogang. It is believed that the first attested house of worship made of stone in 1323 was preceded by one made of wood.
The original patron saint of the church...
...was St Aegydius, however since 1477 only St Leonhard, the “Bavarian Lord” appears as the church’s sole patron saint.
Leogang Parrish Church
Saalfelden Parrish Church
Saalfelden is a settlement dating back to prehistoric times (copper mining). After the Celts and Romans and the mass migration, cam the final wave of settlement, namely the Bavarii land acquisition. And according to Bavarian Church law, every landowner had the right to build a church (at that time wooden chapel) on his land, and to employ his own “Pappo”.
The Saalfelden parish is one of the oldest parishes in the Archdiocese of Salzburg
The patron saints of the churches attest to the fact that the surrounding areas were evangelized from here (mother parish).
- Around 788 Saalfelden is first mentioned.
- 1000 - Around 1000 came the first mention of a church in Saalfelden.
- In 1188 the first parish priest (from the Latin: “plebanus”) in Saalfelden is mentioned. In the second half of the 15th Century, the parish church was expanded in the Gothic style. The crypt was most likely to have also built at this time. At 54.5 m in length, it has since been the largest church in the Pinzgau.
- In 1618 Saalfelden became the church district seat for all of the Pinzgau. Later the church districts of Taxenbach und Stuhlfelden/Mittersill were created.
- 1811 - In 1811, the entire market (108 houses) together with the parish church and the Church of the Holy Spirit was destroyed by fire. In the course of the after fire clearing work, the entire vault collapsed into the congregation; only the vault in the presbytery remained.
- From 2000 - The successful last phase of renovation (completed in 2000), new pews (strings modelled after the old ones) were purchased, the upper gallery removed, restored the historical Mauracher organ that had been there restored and set lower, the stained-glass windows in the nave replaced by a simple glass window and the people's altar placed on a new deeper altar island. In the baptistery the single preserved late Gothic winged altarpiece has survived (restored 2001 – 2003). It was reconstructed from parts not originally from the same structure. The reliefs of the wings (ca. 1520) depict scenes from the life of Mary).
- 2006 - Since 2006, the people’s altar from the Salzburg Cathedral has been in our parish church. It is decorated with relief carvings by Jacob Adlhart (Diocesan patron saints Rupert and Virgil for the Salzburg Cathedral, St Ehrentrudis, St Martin and Peter and Paul for St Peter's Cathedral).
- The Gothic crypt is a particularly intimate prayer room. Here the gravestone of the first Saalfelden Dean, Georg Tauscher (d. 1627) can be seen. Only a few of the once numerous gravestones from our parish church remain, which can be seen at the church’s northern entrance.
- The nativity scene made by Xandi Schläffer at the rear of the left aisle is seen only during the Christmas season.
In Saalfelden, people have been making the pilgrimage to the rock cave above Lichtenberg Castle since the 16th Century, where the effigy of St George, patron saint of animals, is revered.
In 1664 Thomas Pichler, a farmer's son from Embach, was granted permission to settle down as a hermit above Lichtenberg Castle. He built this cave, in which the effigy of St George was revered, into a chapel. In 1677 it was granted a license to celebrate mass.
The hermitage was built on the rock below the cave. A small chapel was also set up as his personal building. The hermits made themselves of service especially at night as a fire patrol. As soon as they noticed a fire, they rang the bell. In return for this service, they were given official authorisation to collect donations from the municipalities of:
- Maria Alm
- St. Martin
- and Lofer.
Although hermitism was banned in the early 19th Century, in Saalfelden the tradition - in contrast to most other hermitages – was not discontinued. Hence, even today, when one hermit leaves, there are always enough candidates to take his place. They are sworn in by the mayor and installed by Saalfelden parish priest. They receive no salary either from the municipality or from the church. The hermit must be able to shift for his own livelihood. Currently, our hermitage wonderfully looked after by Brother Raymond from the Monastery of St. Lambrecht during the summer months!
Saalfelden Leogang looks back on a long history in which some of the most important religious buildings in the state of Salzburg were created.
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