For over 600 years the spirit of hospitality has reigned in St. Christoph am Arlberg. Because where today the Arlberg Hospiz Hotel greets guests from all over the world, there was already a simple inn in 1386 that was a life-saving refuge for people in the rugged mountains. It goes back to Heinrich Findelkind, founder of the Brotherhood of St. Christoph, which survives to this day.
Heinrich, a foundling from Kempten, worked as a swineherd at the Arlberg. He noted that many people who tried to cross the Arlberg lost their lives in snow storms and bad weather. Duke Leopold III from Austria gave Heinrich a piece of land at the top of the Arlberg pass, where he built the first inn at the Arlberg in 1386.
Pope Boniface IX granted Heinrich the right to found the Brotherhood of St. Christoph. In just the first winter, the members of the Brotherhood of St. Christoph saved seven people from death in the snow. At the inn at the Arlberg, they were supplied with food and drink and a bed for the night.
In 1415, the Brotherhood already had 2000 members. Today, the charitable association has more than 20,000 members who hold the inheritance of Heinrich in honor and continue it in the 21st century. Each new member is accepted into the Brotherhood in a celebratory ceremony by the Werner family. Among those involved are prominent names from society, politics, and business. Above all, the funds benefit children and families, as well as those who are in need through no fault of their own.
The Brotherhood Chapel of St. Christoph am Arlberg, which was rebuilt in 1961 from the ruins of the fire of 1957, serves as a spiritual center. Thus, during the course of the new construction of the Arlberg Hospiz Hotel by Arnold Ganahl, the grandfather of Florian Werner, the brotherhood was called back into life.
What began with the Brotherhood of St. Christoph lives through its history to the present Arlberg Hospiz Resort at the Arlberg.
For more information about the Brotherhood of St. Christopher, please click here.