Arnsdorf: Place of Pilgrimage

At the turn of the first Millennium, there stood a simple church on the present location of today's Arnsdorfer church. In 1241, it was assumed by Michaelbeuern and soon replaced by a much larger structure. At that time, “Maria in Mösl” in “Arnstdorf” served as an important place of pilgrimage. The size of the late Gothic church, christened in 1520 and still standing today, is a testament to its significance. It has always represented piety being a pilgrimage destination, but it also holds an important place in lay life. Its economic meaning is evident in its resplendent décor.

Around 1800, Michael Haydn- the younger brother of Joseph, the Salzburger “Haydn”- often visited the parish priest Rettensteiner in Arnsdorf. They sang a lot together with both chaplains- in German! Thus began the four-part male chorus, one of the most important new developments in 19. century music. This style of singing became very popular in the following years, possibly helping to form the ground work for “Silent Night”?

Franz Xaver Gruber was a teacher, sacristan and organist in Arnsdorf. He served the pilgrims there. Arnsdorf, where the song of peace “Silent Night” was composed amid dramatic changes and difficult times, is a meeting place- to encounter the “Silent Night Museum Arnsdorf” in the village center and on our website in the “virtual world”.