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Kastl, Abbey of


Originally a Benedictine abbey in the Diocese of Eichstädt, Upper Palatinate, Holy Roman Empire; located between Amberg and Neumarkt on the Lauter River. Kastl (Castl, Castellum, Castelbergenses) was founded in 1098, and endowed by Berengar I of Sulzbach, Frederick of Hapsburg, and Luitgard of Kastlberg, widow of Diepold I of Nordgau. Paschal II placed Kastl under papal jurisdiction in 1102. These privileges were confirmed and expanded by Innocent II in 1139 and by Gregory IX in 1233. In 1163 Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa placed Kastl under imperial protection. At the instigation of Bishop Gebhard III of Constance, Kastl was settled by Abbot Theodore and 12 of his monks from Petershausen. The monks of Kastl, being advocates of the Hirsau reform, brought the Hirsau constitution to a number of monasteries under their jurisdiction. Houses at Reichenbach, Plankstitten, Ahausen, Heidenheim, and Wülzburg (including its convent of nuns) embraced the Hirsau-Kastl reform. The most vigorous growth of Kastl's estates and commercial interests took place under Abbot Herman (132256), whose loyalty to Louis of Bavaria and whose friendship with the Wittelsbach landlords served as a strong foundation for reform as well. Herman's reforms, inspired by Benedict XII's bull Summi magistri (1336), were responsible for the first stirrings of monastic revival and improvement at Kastl and its daughter houses. Later, in 1378, Abbot Otto Nortweiner codified the constitutions of Kastl. The Consuetudines Castellenses, based on reform movements at Monte Cassino, Hirsau, and Erfurt and influenced by the writings of Benedict of Aniane, Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter Damian, and Benedict XII, inspired Benedictine ascetical and liturgical reform throughout the 15th century. Joining ranks with the younger Bursfeld congregations, the Kastl reform movement spread throughout southern Germany. The deteriorating political situation within the empire eventually thwarted the growth and influence of Kastl. Dynastic wars over succession, the Knights' War, the Peasants' War, and the Reformation itself brought decline, division, and destruction. Shortly after the Count Palatine Otto Henry embraced Calvinism, his son and successor, Frederick III, suppressed Kastl in 1563. Not until 1636, one year after the treaty of Prague, did the Elector Maximilian of Bavaria restore Kastl and confide it to the Jesuits. When the latter were suppressed in 1773, Kastl eventually came under the jurisdiction of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (17821808). Kastl itself was suppressed for the last time in 1808 as a result of the Napoleonic reform.

Bibliography: c. wolff, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 6:1416. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 1:150708.

[p. s. mcgarry]

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