The Parish Church in Schnann

the Story

During the Thirty Years’ War and as neighbouring Germany was being ravaged by the plague, the people of Schnann decided to build a church to ask God to spare their village from major adversity. So in 1633, the people of Schnann set about building Schnann Church, which they dedicated to the patron saint against the plague, Saint Rochus, in 1646.

Pastoral Care

Although Schnann has had its own church at that time, their dead were buried in Flirsch cemetery until 1921 and pastoral workers based in Schnann (chaplains, deacons) were subordinate to the pastor in Flirsch until 1927. After building the church, the people of Schnann were anxious to create their own independent parish. This, however, was governed by serious constraints. During the years following 1706, a rectory complete with farming estate was built to provide permanent accommodation for a chaplain, and from 1706 the activities of the priest were regulated by Libell Monastery.

1780 was a defining year in the history of Schnann Parish. After the community of Pettneu agreed to assume responsibility for the ‘Eternal Light’, the people of Schnann set about building the Sanctissimum (Most Blessed Sacrement) which permitted the chaplain to care for the sick and bless mothers. Father Schmid valued this so much that he donated 75 guilders to the church for the construction of the sacristy. 

When it came to burials, the deceased of Schnann were carried to the ‘Seelenzoll’. Here they would stop a while to take a last look at their earthly home before being taken to their final resting place in Flirsch cemetery.

Construction

The nave was completed during the second half of the 18th century, replacing the old choir room with a circular apse on the eastern side. Imst-based painter Johann Georg Witwer decorated the nave and apse with fresco paintings. The apse features the Last Supper in a domed portico and the ceiling fresco depicts the patron saints of the plague, Saints Rochus and Sebastian next to the Mother of God, who is enthroned by clouds.High above the organ, Johann Georg Witwer painted the death scene of St. Rochus. The arches of the dome are particularly interesting: Johann Georg Witwer painted the four evangelists in the rounded apse, the four Church Fathers in the nave; Ambrosius and Hieronymus to the left and Augustinus and Gregor to the right, and the rear arch is adorned with the four virtues, painted by Raphael Thaler from Innsbruck in 1927/28. The high altar and two side altars were designed by Baroque sculptor, Severin Traxl, and decorated with elaborate statues of saints. Kaplan Netzer removed the crucifix from the high altar and replaced it with a statue of Rochus. He also commissioned sculptor Alois Gröbner in Pettneu to make statues of the saints Sebastian, Florian as well as a statue of a guardian angel and two new choir stalls. After being promoted from chaplaincy to parish, a chapel of rest was built above the church. Designed by the architect, Karl Paulmichl, its interior artistry was completed by Raphael Thaler from Innsbruck. Alois Gröbner from Pettnau was commissioned to build a war memorial to commemorate the dead of the First World War, to which the names of the missing and dead from World War II were later added.

Members of this small parish have always ensured that their small church is kept structurally sound and equipped with the latest technology (organ, electric bells, heating and sound system.

Towards the end of the 1980’s a mortuary also became an integral part of the whole ensemble. More recently, the Parish of Schann merged with St. Anton, St. Jakob, Pettneu and Flirsch to form one ministry.