Since 1634, the Augustinerkirche has
been the historic parish church of the Hofburg, the winter palace of the
Habsburg dynasty in the center of Vienna. In 1327 duke Frederick the
Handsome (Friedrich der Schöne) founded this church with a cloister for the
Augustine monks. It is thus always called The Augustinian's Church by the
Viennese, although its official name is St. Augustin's Church.
The nave was built under architect Dietrich Landtner from 1330 to 1339, but
not consecrated until 1 November 1349. As the nearby Hofburg expended, the
Augustinerkirche gradually became engulfed by it and today is a part of the
complex. Although inconspicuous from the outside, the inside is more ornate.
During the reign of Emperor Joseph II, 18 side altars were removed in 1784
when the church was restored in the gothic style. A new side altar was added
in 2004, dedicated to Emperor Karl I of Austria (1887 - 1922) who is on the
path to being recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
As the parish church for the imperial court, it was the scene of many
Habsburg weddings, among them Archduchess (and future Empress) Maria Theresa
in 1736 to Duke Francis of Lorraine, Archduchess Marie Louise in 1810 to
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France, and Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854 to
Duchess Elisabeth of Bavaria. Notable among the church's monuments are the
memorial to Marie Christine of Austria sculpted by Antonio Canova, and the
Herzgruft containing the hearts of 54 members of the imperial family. A
functioning monastery of six black-robed Augustinian monks remains, serving
the needs of the pari.