Marienberg Monastery (Helmstedt)

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St. Marienberg

Marienberg refers to a former monastery on a hill in the Lower Saxony district town of Helmstedt in Germany .


Floor plan of the monastery complex, 1896
Monastery church from the southwest
Convent building

Marienberg Monastery was founded in 1176 by Abbot Wolfram von Kirchberg as a monastery for the Augustinian choir women and was named in honor of Maria . Marienberg is the direct successor of the Mariental Monastery . In the war between the opposing emperors Otto IV of Braunschweig and Philipp von Schwaben in 1199, the city of Helmstedt was almost completely destroyed, but the Marienberg monastery remained intact. In 1230, the abbot of Helmstedt Gerhard von Grafschaft set the number of canonesses to forty, that of lay sisters to four, and that of priests to five. He also supported the pen through donations.

Between 1230 and 1250 a number of nuns were transferred to the Marienborn monastery when the local hospital was converted into a monastery. Around 80 years later, Helmstedt was besieged by Duke Albrecht II in the course of the Guelph inheritance disputes in 1279 . The forecast for protecting their monastery Maria. When the enemy wanted to plunder Marienberg too, the maiden opposed them with a crown on her head. During the siege she stretched a thread between the monastery and St. Stephen's Church , walked on it and caught the enemy missiles in her golden cloak.

During the Reformation, the monastery was dissolved in 1569, but the property did not go to the state, but remained a special fund that is now administered by the Braunschweig United Monastery and Study Fund, which was brought under the umbrella of the Braunschweigischer Kulturbesitz Foundation in 2004. Since 1754, the von Veltheim family has had the right to the office of dominatrix of the Marienberg monastery, as evidenced by Duke Carl I. von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel .

In the 19th century the almost completely destroyed monastery was rebuilt on the original foundations. From the Romanesque interior of the collegiate church, fragments of stained glass that date back to 1200 have been preserved. They were put together to form a window on the east side of the north transept.

Higher private school for girls from 1872 to 1940 and toddler school from 1882 to 1922

From 1872 to 1940 the monastery housed a higher private school for girls up to 16 years with 65 boarding places. There was also a toddler school from 1882 to 1922. Both educational institutions were founded by Charlotte von Veltheim . The toddler school had to close in 1922 because all private primary schools were banned.

A Marienberg conference was held annually in the monastery for former students .

Former pupils have received the bulletin from the private school since 1925 with the name Marienberger Gruß . The Marienberg Greeting has been published three times a year since 1925: at Easter, after the Marienberg Conference and at Advent. He also published lists of names and addresses of former students.

Due to a National Socialist decree, the private girls' school also had to stop teaching in 1940. The efforts of the conventual women to restart their school work after 1945 did not find a corresponding response.

Evangelical Convention

In 1862 the monastery was settled by Charlotte von Veltheim with a convent, which died out in 1984. Since 1989 there has been a Protestant convent in the Marienberg Monastery, which is headed by Domina Mechthild von Veltheim.

Parament workshop

Today the St. Marienberg Monastery houses a parament workshop , in which not only liturgical vestments, but also modern embroidery and weaving work are made, as well as the Helmstedt study seminar for the training of primary, secondary and secondary school teachers , rehearsal rooms for the Helmstedt choirboys and the St. Marienberg.

Monastery church

Section through the monastery church, 1896

The church is a Romanesque cruciform pillar basilica with a flat wooden beam ceiling. The originally semicircular apse was extended by a high choir in the Gothic style. Almost the entire building is surrounded by a round arch frieze under the main cornice. The west building was planned with two towers, but was only carried out up to the height of the nave and provided with a centrally arranged tower fragment. The arched portal on the west side has a rich ornamentation, it was largely renewed in 1860.


A new organ was built on the west gallery in the main nave in 1877 by the organ builder Adolf Appelt from Schöningen. As early as 1900 the church received a new organ from Furtwängler & Hammer , with 24 registers , two manuals and a pedal with pneumatic action in the romantic sound characteristics customary at the time. The existing prospectus of the Appelt organ and some of the pipes were reused. During the First World War, the prospect pipes were removed as metal donations and replaced by a linen covering. This organ was rebuilt in the middle of the 20th century.

In 1973 a new neo-baroque organ was built in the north aisle by Alfred Führer from Wilhelmshaven, it has 25 registers with also two manuals and a pedal.

The existing organ was shut down, but not dismantled; Efforts are being made to restore this Furtwängler & Hammer organ to its original state.


  • Wilhelm Hobom: St. Marienberg Helmstedt ( Large Architectural Monuments , Issue 358). Munich / Berlin 1984.
  • Horst-Rüdiger Jarck: Document book of the Augustinerchorfrauenstift Marienberg near Helmstedt , in: Sources and research on Braunschweigische Landesgeschichte, Volume 32, or in publications of the Historical Commission for Lower Saxony and Bremen XXXVII, Sources and studies on the history of Lower Saxony in the Middle Ages, Volume 24, Hanover 1998.
  • Editor: Tobias Henkel, Braunschweiger Kulturbesitz Foundation: "The endless thread. St. Marienberg monastery in Helmstedt." Series of publications by the Braunschweiger Kulturbesitz Foundation. Appelhaus Verlag, Braunschweig 2011. ISBN 978-3-941737-47-1 .

Web links

Commons : Marienberg Monastery  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Horst-Rüdiger Jarck, Günter Scheel (ed.): Braunschweigisches Biographisches Lexikon. 19th and 20th centuries. P. 624.

Coordinates: 52 ° 13 ′ 47 ″  N , 11 ° 0 ′ 2 ″  E