Eberhard of Rohrdorf, Bl.

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Abbot and statesman; b. c. 1160; d. June 10, 1245. Descended from the counts of Rohrdorf, in Baden, Germany, he joined the cistercians at the Abbey of Salem and became the fifth abbot in 1191. Eberhard proved himself both capable and energetic and yet was noted for his humility. His reign was the most famous in the history of the abbey, coinciding with one of the critical eras of German history, from the death of frederick i barbarossa to the end of the Hohenstaufen regime. Eberhard had an influential position in the royal court and was among the earliest and most loyal supporters of the Hohenstaufen. Again and again he appears as a witness to the diplomas of Henry VI and frederick ii. Numerous imperial documents of the period were written in Salem, for its scriptorium then had more copyists than the imperial chancellery. The abbot also enjoyed the special favor of the popes. innocent iii commissioned him to investigate and report on the most difficult questions of ecclesiastical politics such as the disputed episcopal election in augsburg in 1202 and the settlement of the succession to the archbishopric of Mainz. In 1207 he negotiated a peace between Philip of Swabia (d. 1208) and Pope Innocent III.

Under Eberhard, Salem's holdings were greatly extended, and in 1201 he placed it under the protection of Archbishop Eberhard II of Salzburg (d. 1246). In the Codex Salemitanus, the abbot had the land and legal titles of the abbey noted most meticulously, and this valuable collection of documents is still one of the outstanding sources for the cultural and economic history of upper Swabia. The vigorous growth of the monastic family made possible the foundation of the Abbey of Wettingen in 1227. His monks also provided religious direction for the convents of nuns founded during the abbot's term of office: Wald (1212), Heppach (1230), Kalchrain (1230), Rottenmünster (1223), Heiligkreuzthal (1238), Feldbach (1234), and Gutenzell (1237). In 1240 Eberhard resigned his office because of his great age. He enjoyed the highest regard among his contemporaries, and he was inscribed in the Cistercian martyrology soon after his death.

Feast: April 14 (Cistercians).

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum April 2:200. m. gloning, Graf Eberhard von Rohrdorf (Augsburg 1904). h. d. siebert, "Gründung und Anfänge der Reichsabtei Salem," Freiburger Dözesan-Archiv NS 35 (1934) 3156. a. m.. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum: Die Heiligen und Seligen des Benediktinerorderns und seiner Zweige (Metten 19331938), 2:296. m. a. dimier, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912), 14:129193.

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