Founding of the Brotherhood

Heinrich wanted his work to carry on. It was necessary to have a community committed to supporting and maintaining the shelter. The Brotherhood St. Christoph was born.

The upkeep of the hostel was expensive, and Heinrich wanted to build a chapel next to it. A small church, dedicated to St. Christopher, the patron saint of travellers. To secure the funds necessary for this project, he wanted to convince the pilgrims he had rescued to provide a recurring donation and a legacy, binding them firmly to the hostel.

He wanted to establish a community, a community of willing assistance, a brotherhood of compassion. The rescued souls should fraternize in brotherly love.

From late spring until the autumn, Heinrich and his messengers travelled throughout Europe in their efforts to enroll members. They visited everyone who was interested in a safe passage over the Arlberg. They carried books with them, where the future donors could register themselves. Whoever was prepared to become a member of the brotherhood was entered into the book: coat of arms, estate, name and amount of the donation were carefully noted down. These coats of arms, as symbol of membership in the brotherhood, helped to convince sceptics also to join.

The entries give evidence to the paths that Heinrich and his assistants travelled over 625 years ago throughout Europe. The furthest points of these journeys were Italy, wealthy Sicily, Bohemia, Poland, North Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.