Hirsauer reform

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The Hirsauer Reform was a monastic reform movement of the 11th and 12th centuries. It introduced central elements of the Cluny reform in the German-speaking area, but differed from this in particular in the form of organization.

Wilhelm von Hirsau


In connection with the reform of Cluny and the Gregorian reforms , reform efforts arose in the area of ​​today's Germany. These came from Siegburg , St. Blasien and the Hirsau monastery .

Hirsau was in a long founding process between 1049 and 1065 on the instructions of Pope Leo IX. has been re-established. The first monks came from the Einsiedeln monastery and brought with them ideas for the reforms of Gorze . Hirsau itself became a reform monastery under Abbot Wilhelm . It was from there that the Swabian monasteries in particular were reformed. The broadcast sometimes extended far beyond, for example, to Hesse, Bamberg , Magdeburg or Corvey .

The first goal of Wilhelm was to enforce the freedom of the monastery against the monastery rights of the Counts of Calw . In 1075 it was possible to enforce the free choice of abbots in the Hirsauer form . The handover of the abbot should take place solely through the Convention. Due to the open wording in the Hirsau form, the ordination could be carried out by practically every appointed bishop. This was in clear contrast to canon law, which guarantees this privilege to the diocesan bishop. In principle, he also obtained the free choice of the bailiff , but had to acknowledge that he always had to come from the family of the founder.

Some time later Wilhelm turned from the direction around Gorze and the circle around Cluny. The Constitutiones Hirsaugienses were drawn up with the mediation of Ulrich von Zell , a confidante of Abbot Wilhelm . These were partly based on recommendations from Hugo von Cluny for Hirsau. In these, the monastery adopted the strict Clunys way of life. The daily routine, the liturgy and the organization of the monastery community were strictly regulated.

Around 120 monasteries were reformed from Hirsau. In contrast to the Cluny community, the movement was not centralized. This was only connected through the common constitutions, through prayer fraternities and remembrance of the dead. The abbeys that were dependent on Hirsau were not legally bound to Hirsau to the same extent as the Cluniacens monasteries. The oblate system , that is, the acceptance of children to lead them to the religious vows , as it was still common in Cluny, was rejected. Instead, the reception of lay brothers (" conversi ") became characteristic. This differentiated the Hirsau direction from the Siegburg reform or from Gorze.

Contrary to the original intention, the rights of the bishops and bailiffs were not suppressed. This led to the support of the movement by the nobility, who viewed the monks' liturgical remembrance of prayer as positive. Politically, the Hirsau reform exerted influence by being wholly on the side of the reform papacy. In the investiture controversy, she clearly took sides with Gregory VII against Henry IV .

In the 12th century, however, the Hirsau reform was already losing its enforcement force.



  1. Hermann Jakobs : The Hirsauer. Their expansion and legal status in the age of the investiture controversy. Cologne 1961, p. 84.
  2. Norbert Reimann : The Constitutions of Abbot Wilhelm von Hirsau: Comments on the history of tradition and impact. In: Klaus Schreiner (ed.): Hirsau St. Peter and Paul 1091–1991. Volume 2. Stuttgart 1991, pp. 101-108.
  3. Burkhardt Tutsch: Studies on the history of reception of the Consuetudines Ulrichs von Cluny. Munster 1998.
  4. Klaus Schreiner: Hirsau and the Hirsauer Reform: Spirituality, way of life and social profile of a Benedictine renewal movement in the 11th and 12th centuries. In: Klaus Schreiner (ed.): Hirsau St. Peter and Paul 1091–1991. Volume 2. Stuttgart 1991, pp. 59-84.