Brenkhausen Monastery

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Former Brenkhausen Cistercian Convent
Brenkhausen Abbey in April 2017
Brenkhausen Abbey in April 2017
location Germany
Region Westphalia
District Höxter
Coordinates: 51 ° 48 '9.5 "  N , 9 ° 21' 6.2"  E Coordinates: 51 ° 48 '9.5 "  N , 9 ° 21' 6.2"  E
founding year 1245
Year of dissolution /
Mother monastery Amelungsborn Abbey ,
Corvey Abbey

Daughter monasteries


The Brenkhausen Monastery is a former Cistercian monastery in Brenkhausen near Höxter , Höxter district , in Westphalia and is now used as a male monastery and seat of the Bishop General of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Germany, Bishop Anba Damian . The Coptic Orthodox Church maintains the monastery u. a. a Bible museum and a cross exhibition. The monastery was extensively renovated by deacons of the Coptic Church and voluntary helpers, mostly on their own. The completed exhibition rooms are open to the public during the day.


Around 1245, the Cistercian women , who had settled in Ottbergen around 1234 and relocated to Brückenfeld before Höxter around 1236, settled next to the existing parish church under the Corveyer Abbot Hermann I von Holte . The church was rebuilt and construction of the monastery began. The provost was appointed from the Cistercian monastery Amelungsborn .

In 1276 there was a fire that destroyed buildings, documents and privileges. The monastery was rebuilt in the 1280s. Pope Nicholas V commissioned the abbot of Amelungsborn to visit the monastery in 1288. In 1301, the abbot of Hardehausen became the spiritual superior and visitor of the Vallis Dei monastery . The construction work was completed in 1320 and the church was consecrated by the Paderborn auxiliary bishop Hermann on December 3 of the same year. The Paderborn auxiliary bishop Hermann consecrated 23 women to nuns in 1339 . Obviously the monastery belonged to the diocese and the bishopric Paderborn and not to the neighboring monastery or monastery Corvey .

There are documents dating from the end of the 14th century that tell of a convent school and a girls' boarding school where higher daughters are brought up. Around 1560 there was a decline of the monastery, caused by moral and economic disruption. At that time only the abbess and two nuns lived in the monastery. Corvey Monastery tried to rearrange the situation of the monastery, but had to withdraw the provost at the urging of the Cistercian monastery Hardehausen.

In 1595 the monastery was reoccupied by the provost of Corvey and in 1601 it was resettled with Benedictine nuns from Corvey, and in 1608 the first Benedictine was elected abbess. The monastery was devastated during the Thirty Years' War and rebuilt from 1630 onwards. In 1656 he was given lower jurisdiction. Around 1683 the monastery flourished again under the provost Florence von der Feld . Between 1678 and 1691 the church was decorated in a baroque style. In the census conducted by Abbot Florence von Corvey in 1700, 51 people lived in the monastery, including 14 nuns and seven students from the monastery school. Between 1710 and 1746 three baroque monastery wings were built. Ambrosius Bruns , who later became abbot of the Grafschaft monastery, was the confessor of the nuns in Brenkhausen from 1717 to 1719. In 1803 the monastery was secularized and converted into an agricultural domain with a cattle shed, barn and distillery.

Ownership / renovation

The first secular owner of the monastery was the secular sovereign, Hereditary Prince Wilhelm Friedrich of Nassau-Orange . During the Kingdom of Westphalia under Napoleon , General Colbert became the temporary owner of the monastery, which then came to the Russian General Friedrich Karl von Tettenborn and in 1818 to the Landgrave of Hesse-Rotenburg, who united it with the Media Principality of Corvey .

In 1993 the Coptic Church under Abbot-Bishop Anba Damian bought the monastery from the state government. On January 29, 1994, the first Coptic Eucharistic liturgical celebration was celebrated in the monastery. The Coptic Pope Schenuda III. supported the monastery project from the start. In the same year, renovation work began on the south and west wings and, from 2007, on the north wing. Volunteers of various origins often helped, especially with the wall renovation in traditional clay construction. The final plaster was then given a white lime-quark paint . Task forces of the international building order were also active several times. The Detmold Order of St. Martin supports the monastery in structural engineering issues and in the procurement of material and equipment. In the north wing, exhibition rooms are currently being built on the ground floor and guest rooms on the upper floor.

Monastery church and building

Catholic Church of St. Johannes Baptist Brenkhausen

The former monastery church of the convent is now the parish church of the parish of St. Johannes Baptist, Brenkhausen. It is a three-aisled pillar basilica with a straight choir closure without a nun gallery. Only the high altar is preserved as a baroque interior (some figures in the main nave still exist). The nun's gallery was demolished in the 19th century. One of the aisles was demolished and rebuilt around 1924.

On the high altar the figures Benedict of Nursia , his sister Scholastica , John the Baptist (namesake of the church) and Vitus (the patron saint of Corveys) can be seen. The altar also bears the Corvey coat of arms and the year 1696. The altarpiece is supposed to represent the Assumption of Mary. In the tip above the Corvery abbot coat of arms, the Trinity is shown in another picture.

The Gothic wing of the former monastery is used by the Catholic parish as a parish home. The monastery church and the parish hall are owned by the Catholic Church.

The baroque part of the convent building is owned by the Coptic monastery. The baroque monastery wings are used as a Bible museum and a church model exhibition. A cloister wing is used as a Coptic worship room. The Coptic Monastery has the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Mauritius.

It is unusual that the former monastery church was consecrated to the patronage of St. John the Baptist and not, as in many nunneries, has a Marian patronage.

The Brenkhausen settlement already existed before the monastery was founded.


  • Lisa Agaibi, Heike Behlmer u. a. (Ed.): The Christians from the Nile on the Weser. Coptic centers of monastic life in Germany: The Coptic-Orthodox monastery Höxter-Brenkhausen in the context of the Coptic tradition. Published by the Coptology project group "Research-oriented teaching and learning" 2013/14 of the Georg-August University of Göttingen, Göttingen 2016, ISBN 978-3-9817438-2-1 .
  • Margit Mersch: The former Cistercian monastery Vallis Dei in Brenkhausen in the 13th and 14th centuries. Preservation of monuments and research in Westphalia, Volume 45. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8053-3884-4 .
  • Margit Mersch: Founding and early days of the Cistercian convent Vallis Dei in Brenkhausen with special consideration of Höxter's aegidia suburb. In: Andreas König (ed. Et al.): Höxter and Corvey in the early and high Middle Ages. (= Höxter: history of a Westphalian city 1). Hahnsche Buchhandlung Verlag, Hanover 2003, ISBN 3-7752-9580-1 , pp. 357-377.
  • Brenkhausen monastery guide, Coptic Orthodox Monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Mauritius. 2005.
  • Dorothea Kluge, Winfried Hansmann (edit.): Georg Dehio (start.): Handbook of the German art monuments North Rhine-Westphalia, II. Westphalia. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich / Berlin, 1969, ISBN 3-422-00354-1 , p. 83.
  • Hiltrud Reinecke: Brenkhausen / Ottbergen. In: Peter Pfister (Ed.): Monastery guides of all Cistercian monasteries in German-speaking countries. 2nd edition, Editions du Signe, Strasbourg 1998, ISBN 2-87718-596-6 , p. 304.
  • Gabriele Maria Hock: The Westphalian Cistercian convents in the 13th century; Founding circumstances and early development. Dissertation Uni Münster, 2004, digitized version
  • Karl Hengst (Hrsg.): Westphalian monastery book: Lexicon of the monasteries and monasteries established before 1815 from their foundation to the abolition. Verlag Aschendorff, Münster ,; Volume 1 1992, pp. 147-151; Volume 2, 1994.
  • Ludwig Schmitz-Kallenberg : Monasticon Westfaliae, p. 12.
  • Hans Joachim Brüning: On the history of the Brenkhausen monastery. In: Höxtersches Jahrbuch 6, 1981, pp. 43–97.
  • Franz Anton Koch: Brenkhausen Monastery. In: Westefälische Zeitschrift, 36 / II, 1878, pp. 113–128.

Web links

Commons : Brenkhausen Abbey  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. According to the information from the dissertation by Hock p. 434 f.
  2. Simone Flörke: Coptic Monastery in Brenkhausen celebrates anniversary ,, article from June 1, 2018.
  3. According to the information from the dissertation by Hock p. 438 f.