Kirche St. Thekla, Wieden:
The Second Piarist Church in Vienna

The Kirche St. Thekla in the fourth district of Vienna (Wieden) is a small Baroque church that was originally built by the Piarist Order - today, the Kirche St. Thekla is a parish church. The origins of this church go back to the 18th century: In 1751, the piarists got the permission to build a new church for their collegiate facilities. For this purpose, they acquired a property in the suburb of Wieden, today′s fourth district and demolished the houses there. The new collegiate house and church were built from funds of the piarist monastery without any supplementary grants - therefore, both church and house became rather small and plain (=cheap).

The architect in charge was Matthias Gerl. He tried to make the best out of the limited funds and built a small property, but elaborate ornaments to decorate it decently. Therefore, the stucco work by Jakob Philipp Kegelsperger and Pietro Orsatti were particularly important for the Kirche St. Thekla. The church was completed in 1756. By this time, the monks had already moved in. The Piarist Order is mostly involved in educational matters and the monks opened a school right away. In addition to pupils, the novices of the order were educated in the new collegiate house.

This was to change soon: In 1770, the Imperial Court released a law that clergy of all orders was to be educated at the university only; in 1783, Emperor Joseph II released another law that enforced a rule that novices of all orders had to be housed in a central facility during their studies. The Kirche St. Thekla and the Collegiate House had lost much of their purpose; the Collegiate facilities had to be sold (this happened in the course of the dissolution of many monasteries all over the Habsburg lands through Joseph II - see the appropriate section in my history of Austria for details). Teaching continued, though, and so the facility with the Kirche St. Thekla was maintained.

School & Kirche St. Thekla since the 19th century

In the 19th century, the Piarist school in Wieden widened the subjects and age levels that were admitted to attend the school. By 1853, the Piarist Church was one of the most highly regarded schools in Vienna, with more than 1,000 students attending. In 1871, the school was transferred under public administration, eight years later it even moved out of the Collegiate House of the piarists. The now secular school had a piarist monk as a headmaster until 1909. Meanwhile, the school building at the Collegiate House was used for a series of new, Catholic schools. With the Anschluss, the school was secularised in 1938. The Kirche St. Thekla was taken from the order and made a parish church.

After WWII, the Piarist Order applied for a concession to re-open a school in 1945. This application was denied, but another one was successful in 1954. Originally, the new piarist school was a single-sex school for boys; in the 1980ies, it changed to a co-educative mode and admitted children of both sexes. In 2000, the school was modernised and extended.

Attractions nearby include the Paulanerkirche, the Heumühle, the Palais Favorita with the Diplomatic Academy and - with a bit of a walk - the Karlsplatz area and the Schwarzenberg Platz with the Palais Schwarzenberg, Belvedere and other attractions.

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Vienna by District

District Overview - 1st (Innere Stadt) - 2nd (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd (Landstraße) - 4th (Wieden) - 5th (Margareten)- 6th (Mariahilf) - 7th (Neubau) - 8th (Josefstadt) - 9th (Alsergrund) - 10th (Favoriten) - 11th (Simmering) - 12th (Meidling) - 13th (Hietzing) - 14th (Penzing) - 15th (Fünfhaus) - 16th (Ottakring) - 17th (Hernals) - 18th (Währing) - 19th (Döbling) - 20th (Brigittenau) - 21st (Floridsdorf) - 22nd (Donaustadt) - 23rd (Liesing) -  Ringstraße - Surroundings

Further Reading

Official Website of the Piarist Church St. Thekla (Beware of Music!)