Preacher Abraham a Sancta Clara Anonymous, n. y.

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Preacher of Hate

It was Martin Luther who introduced “Tollerantz“ (i.e. “Toleranz” in modern German /”tolerance” in English) to the German language even though he sometimes failed to use it for Jews and Muslims himself. The Augustinian monk Abraham a Sancta Clara was a real agitator. Around the year of the start of the Great Turkish War, 1683, he lived in Graz and, as the prior, organised the construction of the monastery near the Münzgraben. What he preached was hate: Towards the end of the 17th century, when all Protestants had already been banished from the country and Jews were not allowed to settle in Graz, he called the “Muslims”, the “Jews” and the “Protestants” his arch enemies.

Steel engraving on paper
19,3 × 14,6 cm
Graz Museum

Abraham a Sancta Clara

In 1683, on the occasion of the siege of Vienna by the Ottoman army under Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha, Abraham a Sancta Clara, prior of the Augustinian Hermits in the Müngraben Monastery in Graz, completed his programmatic pamphlet „Auff, auff ihr Christen! […] wider den Türkischen Blut-Egel“. (Come on, Christians […] against the Turkish bloodsucker). In it, he not only ranted against the “hereditary enemy” of Christianity, but also exhorted Christians to live a life that was pleasing to God and to absolve themselves of all sins. He called upon the Christian army to fight and upon the people of Graz to help the soldiers spiritually. Only with the help of God could the “Turks” be defeated, and for this all sinfulness had to be discarded—the monk conveyed this message on 168 pages by means of polemical choice of words and in typical Baroque sermon language.