Gebhard III. from Zähringen

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Gebhard III. von Zähringen (* around 1050; † November 12, 1110 ) was 1084–1110 Bishop of Constance .


Gebhard was a son of Berthold I von Zähringen and his wife Richwara († 1092). He was a brother of Hermann I , the founder of the line of the Margraves of Baden and of Berthold II , the Duke of Swabia and later of Zähringen. Her sister was the co-founder of the Kastl monastery and founder of the Regen monastery , Liutgard von ZähringenDiepold II. Von Vohburg .

Church career

Around 1065 Gebhard was a member of the Cologne cathedral chapter and then provost of the canons of Xanten . Gebhard entered Hirsau Monastery around 1075 . As early as 1079 he was named by Pope Gregory VII as one of the candidates for the election of the bishop of Magdeburg .

On December 21, 1084 he was elected Bishop of Constance by the diocesan synod - the synod was chaired by the papal legate Odo von Ostia . On the same day Gebhard was ordained a priest and the following day he was ordained bishop . The abbot of Hirsau Monastery, Wilhelm von Hirsau , Gebhard's brother Berthold and Welf , the outlawed Duke of Bavaria, were present at the synod . The loyal bishop of Konstanz, Otto I. von Lierheim, was excommunicated by Pope Gregory VII in 1080, but was still considered the true bishop of Konstanz by the party loyal to the emperor. His direct predecessor was Bishop Bertolf, who was appointed bishop by the papal party after Otto I was deposed. For health reasons, however, the episcopal ordination did not take place and Bertolf probably never really took up his office.

In May 1085, Gebhard was dismissed and excommunicated at a council in Mainz convened by Heinrich IV, and Otto I was confirmed in office.

The abbot of St. Gallen appointed by Heinrich IV, Ulrich von Eppenstein , was the regional counterpart of the House of Zähringen. Gebhard's father Berthold I had been withdrawn from the Duchy of Carinthia by Heinrich IV in 1077 because of his support for Rudolf von Rheinfelden and handed over to Ulrich's brother, Liutold von Eppenstein . In connection with a feud between the Abbot of Reichenau , who was allied with the Zähringer , Ekkehard II of Nellenburg and Ulrich von St. Gallen, Gebhard had to flee Constance in 1085 and did not return until 1086.

Also in 1086 Gebhard reformed the Petershausen monastery with support from Hirsau , initially removing two abbots and then finding the right occupation with Theoderich, son of Count Kuno von Wülfelingen from a morganatic marriage, and greatly expanding the monastery.

In 1089 Gebhard was able to complete and consecrate the new construction of the Constance Minster that his predecessors had begun.

Ulrich von Eppenstein set Heinrich IV's bishop's seat occupied by a monk from St. Gallen, Arnold von Heiligenberg. From the perspective of the party loyal to the emperor, the bishopric had been vacant since the death of Bishop Otto in 1086. Ulrich now tried to bring his protégé into office by force of arms, but was prevented from doing so by the resistance of the city of Constance. The brother of Constance and Gebhard, Berthold II, then devastated the properties of the St. Gallen monastery.

In 1095 Gebhard took part in the Synod of Piacenza . In 1102 Heinrich von Heiligenberg, Arnold's brother, attacked the Petershausen monastery and in 1103 Arnold forcibly took over the bishopric - Gebhard fled to the monastery of St. Blasien . Arnold was not expelled until 1105 (although Pope Paschal II had already excommunicated him in 1103) and Gebhard returned to Constance with the help of Heinrich V. On behalf of Pope Paschalis II, Gebhard had exempted Heinrich V from the church ban as papal legate. Gebhard accompanied Heinrich on his journey through Bavaria and Saxony.

Position in the investiture dispute

According to Dopsch, he was closely related to the Counts of Sulzbach and the Counts of Kastl and, like them, was close to the Hirsau reform movement .

Gebhard (Gebehardus) was a prominent representative of the papal party against Emperor Heinrich IV in the investiture dispute . In 1088 the anti-king Hermann von Salm, supported by Gebhard, stayed in Constance. Gebhard was appointed papal legate in Germany by Pope Urban II in 1089 . Gebhard supported the sons of Henry IV against their father. He tried to win the Duchy of Swabia and Bavaria for Konrad in 1093 and brought Heinrich V the papal blessing. He was driven from his episcopal chair by Heinrich IV, but continued his resistance, also confirmed as a legacy by Paschal II , and exerted great influence on the Ingelheim Reichstag in 1105, where Heinrich IV was forced to renounce the throne.

Foundations of monasteries

He sponsored and consecrated a number of monasteries, including:


Lexicon article


  • Helmut Maurer : The Diocese of Constance - The Constance Bishops from the end of the 6th century to 1206 (= Germania sacra. Bd. NF, 42.1). De Gruyter, Berlin et al. 2003, ISBN 3-11-017664-5 , pp. 221-261 ( online )
  • Elmar Wadle: The Constance Pax and Bishop Gebhard III. In: Freiburg Diocesan Archive Vol. 109 (1989), pp. 141–153 ( online )
  • Ian S. Robinson: Bernold von Konstanz and the Gregorian reform circle around Bishop Gebhard III. In: Freiburger Diözesan-Archiv Vol. 109 (1989), pp. 155–188 ( online )
  • Karl Schmid To the alleged Constance counter-bishops during the investiture controversy. In: Freiburg Diocesan Archives, Vol. 109 (1989), pp. 189–212 ( online )
  • Claudia Zey : Work and effect of papal legates in the investiture dispute using the example of Bishop Gebhard III. from Constance. In: Harald Derschka, Jürgen Klöckler , Thomas Zotz (eds.): Constance and the southwest of the empire in the high and late Middle Ages. Festschrift for Helmut Maurer on his 80th birthday (= Konstanz historical and legal sources. Vol. 48). Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2017, ISBN 3-7995-6848-4 , pp. 57-74 ( online ).


  1. In the literature she is sometimes seen as the daughter of Hermann IV from the Babenberg family , but this is controversial
  2. Helmut Maurer: The Diocese of Constance - The Bishops of Constance from the end of the 6th century to 1206. Berlin et al. 2003, p. 221 f. ( online )
  3. Karl Zell: Gebhard von Zäringen - Bishop of Constanz , In: Freiburger Diözesan-Archiv Vol. 1 (1865), pp. 305–404, here: p. 358 online
  4. Son of Count Konrad von Heiligenberg and brother of the guardian of Petershausen and Konstanz, Heinrich von Heiligenberg
  5. See family tree The "Counts of Sulzbach, Kastl and Habsberg" in: Heinz Dopsch : Siedlung und Recht. On the prehistory of the Berchtesgaden founders , in: Walter Brugger (Ed.): History of Berchtesgaden. Stift - Markt - Land , vol. 1, p. 214
predecessor Office successor
Bertolf Bishop of Constance
Ulrich I.