©Michael Groessinger

Pilgrimages & Spiritual Journeys

Strength for Body, Mind & Soul

In today's hectic, fast-paced world, more and more people decide to embark on a pilgrimage in search of renewed strength.

Pilgrimage is so much more than merely taking a hike. A pilgrimage isn't merely some kind of sporting challenge, far more it is a journey with, and in search of your true inner self.

Pilgrimage routes

©Michael Groessinger

St. Leonhard Pilgrimage

St. Leonhard's Church just outside Tamsweg, in the south of SalzburgerLand, used to be one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Austria back in the Middle Ages. The clearly signposted Way of St. Leonhard ("Leonhardsweg") runs for 140 kilometers through countryside that alternates between flat paths and climbs of as much as 900 vertical meters, from Salzburg Cathedral to St. Leonhard's Church in Tamsweg.

''A pilgrimage along the Leonhardweg allows you to forget the stressful outside world''

As an extension to this particular pilgrimage way, a connecting path with the Hemma Pilgerweg was also created - from Gurk via Metnitz and Stadl an der Mur to Tamsweg. Tamsweg, the final destination and essentially "county seat" of the Lungau region, rewards spiritual travelers with its heartfelt sincerity, picturesque buildings, mid-size businesses and regional eateries.

Way of St. Leonhard online

Route of the "Leonhardsweg"

Salzburg - St. Leonhard in Grödig - Hallein Neumayrplatz, across the Salzach in the direction of St. Margarethen Vigaun - St. Koloman - Wegscheid - forest paths to the Wilhelmskapelle - Seewaldsee - Voglau - Lammer upriver to Annaberg (last stage along forest paths) - from Annaberg via the Mahdalm to Filzmoos -  along the "Warme Mandling" to Mandling - on the "Brandscharte" forest path to Forstau - Vögeialm - Oberhüttensee - Hinterweisspriach Schwaig Sonndörfl - Mariapfarr - Passegger - Mörtelsdorf - St. Leonhard Tamsweg

Mariapfarr - a destination for pilgrims

The tradition of pilgrimages to the "Liebe Frau der Mutter vom Trost" in Mariapfarr in the Salzburger Lungau is centuries-old, reaching its high point in the Baroque era, though continuing to this very day. In addition to pilgrims from Lungau and neighboring provinces, a wide mix of supplicants and penitents made the journey to the mother parish of the Lungau region.

Also of importance was a so-called "Nine Churches Pilgrimage", which began and ended in Mariapfarr and visited some of the most important churches in Lungau. An old writing dating from 1863 recalls this pilgrimage:

"At three o'clock early in the morning, the big bell rang the signal. Assembled at the church in Mariapfarr that was to be our starting point, the congregation sang a communal song, prayed the Lord's Prayer five times and the Ave Maria, and then, singing the All Saints Litany, embarked on the journey accompanied by a priest. At certain churches which we reached in the course of the morning, services were held. The sequence of churches we visited was: Althofen, St. Gertrauden, St. Martin, St. Michael, St. Margarethen, St. Leonhard, St. Jakob and St. Andrä. For the most part at night, we returned home. The distance of the entire pilgrimage was over 49 KM."

Silent Night – the origins of a beloved song

''In 1816, young priest Joseph Mohr wrote the text for "Silent Night! Holy Night!" in Mariapfarr

It was his first official appointment that led him to this pilgrimage destination of nationwide importance and simultaneously the birthplace of his father. Completely remodeled on the occasion of its anniversary, the museum addresses the theme of "Pilgrimage" and various aspects of the connections to "Silent Night". It illuminates the life of Joseph Mohr and the difficult living conditions of his time, the inner and very personal path taken by each of us in our lives, as well as the various treasures that found their way into this museum. These include valuable objects from the collection of Mariapfarr Parish Church dating back to the heyday of pilgrimage. Pilgrimage, itself, is closely associated with departure, letting go, orientation, setting out on a path and arriving.

The info brochure and further information about Pilgrimage & Silent Night Community Mariapfarr is available from the tourist office in Mariapfarr, T +43 (0)6473 8766, mariapfarr@tourismuslungau.at

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