Justification by clicks: Austrian monks point to the cloud

For centuries it was a hidden gem in the middle of the Alps, visited only by sages and connoisseurs. But in the age of Instagram and Tik Tok the Admont Monastery in Styria, in the heart of Austria, has become one of the favourite scenes of influencers from all over the world.

At 70 metres long, the Abbey’s library room is decorated with frescoes reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel and its shelves house around 70,000 books. A jewel of the Baroque, the room dates from 1776, but the oldest manuscripts go back to the 8th century.

And ever since two of the monastery’s 23 monks were put in charge of social media, it’s got a whole new audience.

“In 2018 we started with I think 4,000 – 4,500 subscribers on Facebook,” says the Abbey’s communications manager Mario Brandmueller. “And now we are at 160,000 subscribers. So within four years, with a lot of work and a lot of analysis, we have managed to increase our reach from 10,000 visitors online, to 20 to 30 million per month.”

The monastery’s website not only offers virtual tours, but also a wealth of spiritual advice.

But its history is also told, in a different way, by dozens of influencers and users of social networks. The monastery, which is about to turn 950 years old, has adapted to the new times with surprising success.

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