Prüm, Abbey of
PRÜM, ABBEY OF
Former Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Savior, Eifel, Archdiocese of Trier, founded in 721 by Bertrada of Mürlenbach. A generation later Pepin the Short brought it under Carolingian protection, granting it immunity from the local lord. Prüm, with a market and a mint (861), had economic and political importance under the Carolingians. It was a stronghold, and Charlemagne imprisoned his son Pepin there. Norman raids in 882 and 892 caused no serious setback, and by 893 Carolingian gifts brought the abbey's holdings to 1,530 estates. Its position as an imperial abbey was strengthened in 919 by the right to choose its own Vogt (advocatus ). The abbey played an important role in the Empire through the early Middle Ages, and until the 18th century its abbot had a seat in the Reichstag.
The peak of its spiritual and intellectual life occurred in the 9th century under abbots Tancred, Markward, Eigil, and ansbald. Its cloister school was noted in the Carolingian period, and the Annales Prumienses are the best history of the Empire for the 10th century. The Lotharingian reform of 1003–04 began at Prüm, and in the 11th and 12th centuries active building took place there.
In the 13th century discipline was relaxed, debts accumulated, and the abbey had quarrels with its Vogts, who were closely allied with the counts of Luxembourg. To maintain their freedom against this combination, the abbots turned to the prince-archbishops of Trier, but in the next three centuries Prüm and its estates became an appendage of the Electorate of Trier. There was a revival of spiritual life in the 18th century under energetic priors. A new abbey church was begun in 1721. In 1794 the abbey was besieged by revolutionary troops, and in 1802 it was one of the ecclesiastical territories secularized by Napoleon I to reimburse German princes for the lands they lost to France.
Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 1935–39) 2:2371. p. schmitz, Histoire de l'Ordre de Saint-Benoit, 7 v. (Maredsous 1942–56). j. semmler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 8:848–850.
[p. p. beckman]