Fulda, Abbey of

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Former Benedictine monastery in the town of the same name, 54 miles northeast of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Diocese of Fulda. It was founded March 12, 744, by sturmi, a disciple of St. boniface. The Frankish mayor of the palace and Pope zachary granted it special privileges, and it remained Boniface's own monastery until his martyrdom (754), after which his remains were translated to Fulda. Boniface and Sturmi had organized the abbey according to the benedictine rule, combining elements of Anglo-Saxon origin with the monastic customs of Monte Cassino. Pepin made it a royal abbey (764765). Fulda received numerous donations, and its territorial domain soon extended through all of what was then Germany.

By 780 charlemagne had sent monks of Fulda on the mission to the Saxons. Construction on Fulda's great Holy Savior Basilica over the tomb of St. Boniface began c. 790, and the edifice, probably the first double-choired church in the West, was consecrated in 819. The smaller St. Michael's Chapel, still in use, was built in 822 in the monastery cemetery. Fulda, with more than 400 monks in the 9th century, possessed an important scriptorium in which the Anglo-Saxon influence of the abbey's founding days lasted to c. 850. Notable abbots included Baugulf (780802), Ratgar (802817), and rabanus maurus (822842). Under their leadership, Fulda maintained an influential monastery school that produced such scholars of the 9th century as einhard, Lupus of Ferrières, walafrid strabo, Baturich of Regensburg, Samuel of Worms, Rudolph of Fulda, Hartmut of Sankt Gallen, and gottschalk of orbais. In the Middle Ages its library had more than 2,000 MSS, containing works of ancient authors that have been preserved for the modern world only through the Fulda monks (e.g., the Annales and Germania of Tacitus); the MSS were scattered in the Thirty Years' War. Fulda was also a cradle of Old High German literature, e.g., the Vocabularius, the Hildebrandslied, the Wessobrunn Prayer(?), and the Muspilli(?).

Fulda became part of the reform movement of benedict of aniane (817818). In 1013 the monastic reform of Lorraine (see gorze) was instituted at Fulda by Emperor Henry II; Fulda became a model monastery, transplanting its observance to other monasteries in Hesse and Thuringia. From the 10th to the 12th century it was the most important imperial abbey in Germany; its abbot gradually became the abbot primate (969) of Germany and Gaul, assumed the office of archchancellor of the Empress, and was granted pontifical rights (1133). During this period manuscript illumination, such as that of the Fulda Sacramentary, murals as in the churches of Petersberg and Neuenberg, gold work, and sculpture, were at their zenith in Fulda.

The numerous privileges granted to Fulda made it easy for the abbey to organize its land holdings into a territorial state in the 13th century; the abbot held the rank of a prince of the Holy Roman Empire. Although the abbot had managed to quell the monastery's rebellious vassals during the 13th century, in 1353 and 1395 he was forced to grant them, as concessions to gain election, the right to participate in the government of the principality. When the household of the abbot became separate from the monastery proper (1294), grave irregularities in monastic discipline began to occur, especially as the community was accepting only noblemen as monks. Fulda was not affected by the numerous Benedictine reforms of the late Middle Ages.

The monastic state of Fulda was severely disturbed during the Peasants' War in 1525; simultaneously, the Protestant Reformation was penetrating the principality. Important abbots, such as Balthasar von Dernbach (15701606) and Schenk von Schweinsberg (162332), successfully resisted the dissolution of Fulda and worked toward a Catholic restoration. Monks from sankt gallen helped reform the monastery. As early as 1571 the Jesuits had come to the town of Fulda, and thanks to them the principality had been restored to Catholicism by c. 1620. Franciscans established at the Frauenberg in 1620, and Benedictine nuns, from 1631, also played a part in revitalizing Catholicism throughout the principality. The Thirty Years' War (161848) severely damaged both the abbey and countryside, but abbots during the late 17th century laid the foundation for an artistic and intellectual revival. Among them were Athanasius kircher, Christoph brouwer, and Count Friedrich von spee. During the baroque period several important edifices were erected in the town of Fulda, including a new abbey church (the present cathedral), the orangery, and Schloss Adolfseck.

On Oct. 5, 1752, the abbot of Fulda was made bishop of the newly created exempt Diocese of Fulda; the monks, who were to function as the cathedral chapter, kept their monastic constitution. In 1755 the Diocese of Fulda was placed under the metropolitan of Mainz, while the abbey kept its exempt status. Under Bishop-Abbot Heinrich von Bibra (175988), the monastic state of Fulda experienced an economic revival, city development, and improvement in educational and pastoral care. As a result of the Treaty of Paris (1802) and the 1803 enactment of the delegates of the Empire the Diocese of Fulda was secularized, and the abbey was suppressed.

Bibliography: Sources. Annals. Annales Fuldenses antiqui, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 3:116117. "Das Chronicon Laurissense breve." ed. h. schnorr von carolsfeld, Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde 36 (1910) 1339. Annales Fuldenses, ed. f. kurze (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores: Scriptores rerum Germanicarum 7; 1891). Annales sancti Bonifatii, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 3:117118. Catalogus abbatum Fuldensium, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 13:272274, 370. Miracula sanctorum in Fuldenses ecclesias translatorum, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 15.1:328341. Biographies. Vitae sancti Bonifatii archiepiscopi Moguntini, ed. w. levison (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores: Scriptores rerum Germanicarum 57; 1905). Eigilis vita sancti Sturmi, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 2:365377. Vitae Leobae abbatissae Biscofesheimensis, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 15.1:118131. Vitae Eigilis abbatis Fuldensis, ibid. 221233 and Candidus de vita Aeigili, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Poetae 2:94117. Vita Bardonis archiepiscopi Moguntini, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 11:321342. Monumenta Germaniae Historica Libri confraternitatum (1884) 194203. Annales necrologici Fuldenses, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 13:161218. Necrologium Fuldense, ed. e. dÜmmler, Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte 16 (1876) 168177. Charters. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Diplomata passim. e. e. stengel, Urkundenbuch des Klosters Fulda, 1. (Marburg 1958). e. f. j. dronke. ed., Traditiones et antiquitates Fuldenses (Fulda 1844); Codex diplomaticus Fuldensis, 4 fasc. (Kassel 184750). Letters. S. Bonifatii et Lulli epistolae, ed. m. tangl (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Espistolae selectae 1; 2d ed. 1955). Supplex Libellus monachorum Fuldensium, ed. j. semmler, in Corpus consuetudinum monasticarum. I., ed. k. hallinger (Siegburg 1963) 319327. Hrabani Mauri epistolae, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Epistolae Karolini aevi 5.2:379516. Epistolarum Fuldensium fragmenta, ibid. 517533. Thiotrochi diaconi epistola, ed. w. wattenbach, Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für älterer deutsche Geschichtskunde 4 (1879) 409412. Titles and epitaphs. Notae dedicationum Fuldenses, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 15.2:128788. Tituli ecclesiarum Fuldensium. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Poetae 2:205217, 220224. Epitaphia Eigilis abbatis Fuldensis, ibid. 117. Epitaphium Hattonis abbatis Fuldensis, ibid. 258. Sacramentary of Fulda. g. richter and a. schÖnfelder, Sacramentarium Fuldense saeculi X. (Quellen und Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der Abtei und der Diözese Fulda 9; Fulda 1912). Literature. Quellen und Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der Abtei und Diözese Fulda, eds. g. richter and l. pralle (Fulda 1904). Veröffentlichungen des Fuldaer Geschichtsvereins (Fulda 1899). 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(Veröffentlichungen des Fuldaer Geschichtsvereins 2729; Fulda 194951); Die Fuldaer Äbte und Fürstäbte des Mittelalters (ibid. 31; Fulda 1952). Sankt Boniatius: Gedenkgabe zum 1200. Todestag (Fulda 1954). t. schieffer, Winfrid-Bonifatius und die christliche Grundlegung Europas (Freiburg 1954). j. a. bornewasser, Kirche und Staat in Fulda unter Friedrich Wilhelm von Oranien, 18921906 (Quellen und Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der Abtei und der Diözese Fulda 19; Fulda 1956). h. hack, Der Rechtsstreit zwischen dem Fürstbischof von Würzburg und dem Fürstabt von Fulda 16881717 (ibid. 18; 1956). r. gattens, Das Geldund Münzwesen der Abtei Fulda im Hochmittelalter (Veröffentlichungen des Fuldaer Geschichtsvereins 34; Fulda 1957). a. hofemann, Studien zur Entwicklung des Territoriums der Reichsabtei Fulda und seiner Amter (Schriften des Hessischen Landesamtes für geschichtliche Landeskunde 25; Marburg 1958). h. bÜttner, "Das Diplom Heinrichs III. für Fulda von 1049 und die Anfänge der Stadt Fulda," Archiv für Diplomatik 4 (1958) 207215. j. semmler, "Studien zum Supplex libellus und zur anianischen Reform in Fulda," Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 69 (1958) 268298. e. e. stengel, Die Reichsabtei Fulda in der deutschen Geschichte (Weimar 1948); "Zur Frühgeschichte der Reichsabtei Fulda," Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 9 (1952) 513534, with literature; "Fuldensia IV," Archiv für Urkundenforschung 5 (1913) 41152; 7 (1920) 126; Archiv für Diplomatik 2 (1956) 116124; 4 (1958) 120182; ibid. 8 (1962) 1267; Abhandlungen und Untersuchungen zur hessischen Geschichte (Veröffentlichungen der historischen Kommission für Hessen und Waldeck 26: Marburg 1960). w.a. mÜhl, Die Aufkleärung an der Universität Fulda 17341805 (Quellen und Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der Abtei und der Diözese Fulda 20; Fulda 1961). w. hessler, "Zur Abfassungszeit von Eigils Vita Sturmi, " Hessisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte 9 (1959) 117; "Petitionis exemplar," Archiv für Diplomatik 8 (1962) 111. d. grossmann, Kloster Fulda und seine Bedeutung für den frühen deutschen Kirchenbau v. 1 (Das erste Jahrtausend (Düsseldorf 1962) 344370. k. wittstadt, Placidus von Droste, Fürstabt von Fulda (Veröffentlichungen des Fuldaer Geschichtsvereins 39; Fulda 1963). f. w. witzel, Die Reichsabtei Fulda und ihre Hochvögte, die Grafen von Ziegenhain, im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert (ibid. 41; 1963). w. hessler, "Von Ratger zu Hraban: Fulda im Anfang des 9. Jahrhunderts," in Archiv für Diplomatik (196566).

[j. semmler]