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Pfäfers, Abbey of


Former Benedictine abbey near the spa of Ragaz, St. Gall, Switzerland. It was founded c. 750 under the influence of St. pirmin and reichenau and became with chur and disentis a spiritual center of Rhaetia. The free imperial abbey, under the protection of the Carolingian Lothair I by 840, came under the bishops of Constance (905), St. Gall (909), and Chur (920) before becoming independent (950). After an association with einsiedeln (c. 1000), Pfäfers was made exempt of the bishop of Basel (1116) during the investiture controversy, in which the abbey sided with the papacy. Territorially dependent on feudal lords in the 13th and 14th centuries, it came under the Swiss Confederation in 1482. Abbot Johann Jakob Russinger (151749) joined Zwingli but returned to Catholicism after the battle of Kappel (1531). Johann Heider (15861600) and Bonifaz Tschupp (16771706) headed revivals during which the baroque church was built (1694), but an economic and disciplinary decline led to suppression (1838). Since 1845 the abbey has been converted to use as a mental institution while the church serves a parish. From medieval times the abbey owned the spa Tamina-Ragaz.

Bibliography: h. wartmann, Das Kloster Pfäfers (St. Gallen 1883). m. gmÜr, Urbare und Rödel des Klosters Pfäfers (Bern 1910). l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:227172. r. henggeler, "Der Untergang des Klosters Pfäfers," Jahrbuch Heimatbund Sarganserland 1 (1930) 25238; Professbuch der Benediktinerabteien Pfäfers, Rheinau und Fischingen (Einsiedeln 1933). e. rothenhÄsler, ed., Die Kunstdenkmäler des Kantons St. Gallen, v.1 (Basel 1951). f. perret, Aus der Frühzeit der Abtei Pfäfers: Ein Kulturbild aus dem Ende des ersten Jahrtausends (St. Gallen 1958). o. l. kapsner, A Benedictine Bibliography: An Author-Subject Union List, 2 v. (2d ed. Collegeville, Minn. 1962) 2:249. i. mÜller, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 8:392393.

[a. maissen]

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