Altdorf, Abbey of

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Former Benedictine abbey in Alsace, Diocese of strasbourg, France; it was important for pastoral care and as a pilgrimage center. Founded by Count Hugo III as a cloister and burial place for his family, it was built under Count Eberhard V and rebuilt several timesc. 1192; after it had been pillaged by Strasbourgers, 1262; after the Peasants' War; c. 1600; and in 1700. The wooden cloister church, consecrated by Bp. Erchenbald of Strasbourg in the presence of Abbot Maiolus of Cluny, was dedicated to St. Bartholomew (974); a member of the family had taken part in Rome at the translation of relics of St. Bartholomew, who became the family patron saint. Before 1049, it seems, Bishop Werner reconsecrated the church in honor of St. Cyriacus (d. 303), a favorite with Benedictines, and the fourteen holy helpers. Pope Leo IX, a member of the family, consecrated the altar. In the 12th century Altdorf was a double monastery (see monasteries, double). The Romanesque church was built c. 1200; choir and transept were rebuilt by the Vorarlberg Peter Thumb (172033). The Cluniac cloister joined the congregations of Mainz-Bamberg (1417), bursfeld (1607), and Strasbourg (1608). In the 15th century Altdorf was individually united with sankt gallen. Frescoes of the 12th century, whitewashed when the abbey was suppressed (1790), have been uncovered recently.

A second Abbey of Altdorf in south Württemberg, west Germany, originally housed Benedictine nuns or canonesses (sanctimoniales ); it seems to have been founded after 934. The cloister was the burial place of the founder's family. The present cemetery of the Abbey of weingarten occupies the site. Altdorf seems to have died out c. 1000; but clerics, perhaps canons, continued divine services. It was revived as a convent of women (1036), which moved to Weingarten after a fire (1053) and then to Altomünster (1056).

Bibliography: a. sieffert, Altdorf: Geschichte von Abtei und Dorf (Strasbourg 1946). g. spahr, "Die Reform im Kloster St. Gallen," in Schriften des Vereins für Geschichte des Bodensees 76 (1958) 162. c. buhl, "Weingarten-Altdorf," in Weingarten, 10561956, ed. g. spahr (Weingarten 1956) 22.

[g. spahr]