St. Martin Abbey

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Abbey and church around 1750 (Martinsmühle in the foreground)

The St. Martin Abbey was a monastery complex in Trier that was probably built in the 6th century . It is said to go back to a church built by Martin von Tours in the 4th century. In the 10th century at the latest, the abbey was occupied by monks of the Benedictine order , it was once one of the largest abbeys in the city and was abolished in 1802 under Napoleonic rule. The abbey was in the immediate vicinity of the banks of the Moselle, in the northwest of the city center of Trier; the street that runs along the still preserved building is now called Martinsufer .

The preserved west wing of the abbey building and a modern new building are used today under the name "Martinskloster" as one of the six student residences in Trier .



Martin with the emperor
St. Martin's Abbey on an engraving from 1646; this view without a Renaissance building goes back to 1548

According to tradition, Bishop Martin von Tours (* 316/317; † 397 - the "Saint Martin" who shared his coat with a beggar) came to Trier several times, for the first time in 371 shortly after his episcopal ordination. He is said to have healed the devil-possessed servant of the Trier proconsul Tetradius, whereupon Tetradius converted to the Christian faith and in 385 made his house at the gates of the city available, “so that Martin could found a church there in honor of the Holy Cross could". On the site on the Moselle, which was supposed to be outside the city walls for centuries, Martin is said to have founded a chapel himself, where Christian burials also took place.

In fact, in connection with the dispute over the indictment and execution of the heretical bishop Priscillian , Martin visited the Roman Emperor Maximus in Trier several times , including in 386. In addition, during emergency excavations for an air raid shelter on the grounds of the Martinskloster, floors and walls of a large one were found Roman residential building from the 4th century. Around 400 a wall was built to separate a room for religious purposes. Inside were graves with grave goods from the 4th to 7th centuries. The tradition with its legendary details cannot be proven by this, but the finds speak with a certain probability for the foundation of the original church by Martin himself.

This church, consecrated to the Holy Cross , was devastated during the migration period in the 5th century . Around 587, the Trier Bishop Magnerich (also Magnericus, 573-596) built the Martinskirche, which later became an abbey. Reliable information about whether Magnerich already called Benedictines there are not available. Magnerich was buried in the Martinskirche.

Preserved abbey building, inner courtyard
Preserved abbey building, today a student residence, street side
Martin relief on the monastery building
Copy of the crucifixion group from 1498

St. Martin Abbey

In April 882 the abbey was at least partially destroyed during the Norman raids on Trier. In 899, Archbishop Radbod von Trier (883–915) appointed Abbot Regino (* around 840; † 915), who had been released from Prüm Abbey, as Abbot of St. Martin and commissioned him to reestablish the monastery. After Radbod's death, St. Martin and other monasteries in the Trier area came into the possession of Duke Giselbert of Lorraine (928–939). Archbishop Theodoric I (965–977) succeeded in regaining the rights of the Trier church.

In 975 Theodoric gave the monastery back to its intended use and the old possessions were given back. The convention was allowed to freely elect abbot. From the same year comes a certificate from Emperor Otto II , according to which he confirmed the restored Abbey of St. Martin and took it under his protection. Theodoric's predecessor, Archbishop Heinrich I (956–964), had withdrawn eighty Mansus land from the abbey and installed canons after the expulsion of the monks . One of the abbey's properties mentioned in 975 was the church of St. Viktor (destroyed in 1443) with all its accessories: Sivenich ( Siuinic ), Kimmlingen ( Cumelanch ) and Beßlich ( Bessilich ); the church of St. Symphorian (fell into disrepair after 1393) with accessories: Lorich ( Lorchen ) and Sirzenich ( Sarceni ); the manor districts of Irsch ( Erche ), Hockweiler ( Hocuuilre ), Korlingen ( Corlanch ) and Ockfen ( Occava ). Archbishop Hillin donated lands near Wehlen , Graach and Zeltingen to the abbey in 1168 and confirmed all rights. In addition to the possessions already mentioned in 975, the following were named: the village Pallien , three Mansus Land in Pfalzel , one Mansus in Wiltingen , one in Lonebach, one in Dudeldorf and various smaller possessions.

In the 10th century the Strahov Gospel, written in Tours in the 9th century, was in the possession of the abbey, where it was revised and decorated by the master of the Registrum Gregorii .

The new construction of the monastery church at the end of the 11th century was followed by the economic heyday of the monastery until the 13th century. The medieval Trier city wall was built up to the monastery, and the Martinstor was built in its immediate vicinity.

In the following centuries the monastery was continuously expanded; a dormitory (1506) and the west wing of the abbey building, which still exists today, with the late Renaissance facade on the Moselle side (1626, extension 1735) were built.

Secularization, porcelain manufacture

As a result of the French Revolution , Trier was occupied by French revolutionary troops on August 9, 1794. In 1797/1801 the Left Bank of the Rhine became part of the French Republic . On March 15, 1802 was carried out by the prefect of the Saarland Department of the abolition of the Abbey and the confiscation of all property. The remaining six clergy were retired . In 1804 the monastery was auctioned, the church and various buildings including the dormitory were demolished. In the remaining west wing, Christian Deuster set up a porcelain factory in 1807 , and the crypt was where the kiln was located . In 1813 this factory was given up and, after Trier came to Prussia in 1815 , it was put back into operation by Peter Marx in 1816. The factory closed around 1824.


0899- 0915 Regino  
0975- 0995 Engelbert  
0995-1040 Eberwin also wrote various writings
? Siegfried only name handed down
? Remigius  
Middle of the 11th century Ernestus  
around 1074 Hugo  
000? -1094 Winner completed the construction of the monastery in 1090
1094-? Theodericus as a monk wrote a pamphlet against Gregory VII ; completed the church
around 1136 Otto  
around 1138 Rainald appears as a witness in the deed of foundation of the Cistercian Abbey of Himmerod
around 1156 Godefried I. appears as a witness in the deed of foundation of the Premonstratensian Abbey of Arnstein
1163-1168 Reginer  
1168-1178 Oliverus  
1178–? Cono  
before 1181 Godefried II.  
1181–? Purer from the Abbey of St. Maximin elected
around 1197 Wilhelm I.  
1218-1230 Richard  
1230-1240 Baldwin  
1240-1249 Theodoric II  
1250-1297 John I. was also Trier auxiliary bishop 1361-1376
1297-1339 John II of Lieser  
1339-1366 Werner von Zandt zu Merl  
1366-1388 Wilhelm II of Zandt zu Merl  
1388-1415 Hugo von Ellenz  
1415-1427 John IV of Schwarzenburg  
1427-1429 Herbrand of Güls  
1430 Heinrich von Gmünd (de Gemunda)  
1434-1440 William III. from Helmstadt  
1440-1465 Matthias Rutger (died 1482, resigned) 
1483-1499 Johannes V. Blankart  
1499-1523 Konrad von Rat (t) ingen  
1523-1539 Nikolaus von Reil (Ryle)  
1539-1562 Rupert (Ropert) from Echternach  
1563-1577 Gregor von Virneburg  
1577-1604 Johann (es) VI. by Malmedy  
1604-1621 Servatius Maring  
1621-1652 Franz Holz (erus)  
1652-1668 Martin (us) Mering (ius)  
1668-1672 Albert Balthasari  
1672-1680 Nikolaus Lyser (Liser, Lieser)  
1680-1687 Matthias Irsch  
1687-1700 Jacob de Belva (de Bellevaux)  
1701-1747 Benedict Henn  
1747-1778 Paul Lejeune  
1778-1790 Karl von Sachs  
1790-1802 Paul Tisquin  

Abbey building

Courtyard house of the abbey in Trier-Pallien

Today only the west wing of the abbey building in the late Renaissance style is preserved. Next to it is a copy of a late Gothic crucifixion group (1498), the original of which is in the Church of St. Paul . The courtyard house of the abbey in Pallien - directly opposite on the other side of the Moselle - and the courtyard house of the abbey in Ockfen have also been preserved .

Todays use

typical traffic jam in front of the former abbey buildings

In 1972 the west wing of the 17th century abbey building was completely refurbished after a long period of vacancy and converted into a student residence with a new building built in the same year . The new building was attached to the straight old building in the shape of a horseshoe, so that an inner courtyard is created between the buildings, which houses a mighty red beech (natural monument).


  • Friedhelm Jürgensmeier in connection with Regina Elisabeth Schwerdtfeger: The male and female monasteries of the Benedictines in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. (= Germania Benedictina IX: Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, published by the Bavarian Benedictine Academy in Munich in conjunction with the Abbot Herwegen Institute Maria Laach), St. Ottilien 1999.

Web links

Commons : Martinskloster  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Matthäus Merian's engraving from 1646 is very similar to the woodcut of Trier from 1548 in Sebastian Münster's Cosmographiae Universalis (title: Situs & figura antiquissimae & praecipuae Medioniatricum ciuitatis Treuirensis), which is considered to be the first authentic cityscape of Trier. Although Merian's view is more detailed than the woodcut, it does not depict structural changes that were made between 1548 and 1646 (e.g. at the Basilica of Constantine ). Comparison of the woodcut in the Latin edition of Cosmographiae Universalis from 1550 on Historic Cities
  2. a b ( Memento from February 6, 2013 in the web archive ) Hans-Georg Reuter (1997). Martin of Tours († November 8, 397). Martin donates a church in Trier on the website of the Diocese of Trier (accessed February 16, 2012)
  3. a b c d e f Jakob Marx : History of the Archbishopric Trier , Volume 1, Section II, Trier: F. Lintz, 1860, p. 252 ff ( History of the St. Martin Abbey )
  4. a b Jakob Marx, Nikolaus Thielen, Heinrich Volk: History of the parishes of the deaneries Trier, Konz and Engers , part 2, Trier: Verlag der Paulinus-Druckerei, 1932, p. 51 ff ( online at )
  5. ^ Heinrich Beyer : Mittelrheinisches Urkundenbuch , Volume I, Coblenz: Hölscher, 1860, p. 715 ( certificate )
  6. ^ A b c Georg Dehio : Handbook of German Art Monuments : Rhineland-Palatinate / Saarland; Munich: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1984; ISBN 3-422-00382-7 ; P. 1057
  7. Gottfried Kentenich : On the history of the Trier porcelain manufactory. In: Trierische Chronik. Trier 12/1911, p. 64 ( online at )
  8. Engelbert Giesen: Peter Marx, a benefactor of the St. Paulinuskirche in Trier. In: Trierische Chronik. 1920, p. 137 ( online at )

Coordinates: 49 ° 45 ′ 45 ″  N , 6 ° 38 ′ 0 ″  E