The Cistercian monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz in Austria released their debut album of plain chant last month and it has topped the UK Classics charts and got to number 9 in the pop charts.

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Monks

When the monks sing, the chants open our hearts. We hope it purifies our souls and and helps us regain clarity, light, strength and peace.
Abbot Gregor

Cistercian Gregorian chant CD is top of the charts

The Cistercian monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz in Austria released their debut album of plain chant on 19 May 2008. According to Independent Catholic News in less than a fortnight Chant – Music for Paradise has reached number one on the UK Classics charts. It has also got to number nine in the pop charts.

Search for Sacred Music – You Tube video

The community was discovered after Universal Music launched a search for sacred singers in February, through adverts placed in the religious press.

More than a hundred entries poured in from around the world. On the closing day, Tom Lewis manager of the Classics and Jazz department at Universal received a YouTube link from the monks, who are based in the Vienna Woods.

Tom said he was simply bowled over by their sound. He said:

They are quite simply the best Gregorian singers we have heard. They make a magical evocative sound which is both immediately calming and deeply moving.

Album

Abbot Gregor said:

The album consists of excerpts from the Latin Bible. The Word of God. Monks sing words back to God which he has given to us. On this record we sing Compline, the night prayer built around psalm 90 and also the peaceful setting of our funeral Mass which points towards the wonderful mystery of life after death. When the monks sing, the chants open our hearts. We hope it purifies our souls and and helps us regain clarity, light, strength and peace. Where there is chaos we seek to restore order. Where there is emptiness we try to find meaning. And where there is sadness joy can return.

Abbey

Stift Heiligenkreuz, which means the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz (= holy cross), is a beautiful and living Cistercian monastery, close to Vienna, the capital of Austria. Stift Heiligenkreuz is the second-oldest Cistercian monastery in the world and the oldest continuously active and inhabited one, now full of young vocations. In September 2007 it was blessed by an official visit by Pope Benedict XVI.

Stift Heiligenkreuz, peacefully situated in the middle of the Wienerwald, the Vienna woods, is one of the most beautiful medieval monasteries in the world. It was founded in 1133 by St. Leopold III of the House of Babenberg. Leopolds son, Otto, had been sent to Paris for an international education. Otto came in contact with Cistercian monks and soon decided to enter a Cistercian monastery. When Otto visited his father in Austria he asked him to build a similar monastery for Lower Austria. This was the reason St. Leopold built Heiligenkreuz as well as Klosterneuburg to the northwest of Vienna.

Currently the monastery has 77 members, 18 affiliated parishes and a Pontifical Theological Academy (founded 1802) with around 180 students.

For more information visit English langauage version of the community website – click here

Sources include Independent Catholic News