Weiher Monastery

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St. Pantaleon Abbey around 1625

The Weiher Monastery was a women's monastery of the Augustinian women in Cologne consecrated in honor of St. Mary . The monastery was founded around 1198 and cleared and demolished in 1474 during the Neuss War at the instigation of the council.


The history of the monastery began with a pond by the Archbishop of Cologne I. Adolf issued document from the year 1198. According to this document sold "Blithildis" as "magistra" the Benedictines at St. Mauritius , with the consent of the Abbot of St. Pantaleon part of their goods. The text of the contract was as follows:

“Rigmudi's widow, a citizen of Cologne, the wife of Gerhard, son of Bailiff Th. Buys part of the from St. Mauritius and St. Pantaleon at a place that is usually called Zum Weiher (in loco qui vulgo appellatur ad piscinam) Weihers (partem lacus) and built a monastery on it in honor of the Virgin Mary (construxit ecclesiam conventualem in honorem virg. Marie). ”Richmud was the adoptive daughter and heiress of Gerhard Unmaze, who died in 1197, who was probably the richest citizen of Cologne at the time .

The property acquired by Richmodis (Rigmudis) consisted of two pieces of land totaling 28 acres . The two pieces located by the pond, which had formerly belonged to the Fronhof Sülz (“ad curtem in Sulzpze”, the later district of Sülz ) of the St. Pantaleon Abbey, now became the building site of the foundation of their monastery, the “Zum Weiher” convent. She also bequeathed her other fortune to the monastery , which also included her house across from the archbishop's palace at the court, which later became the Brabant court .

Location of the monastery

Tranchot map around 1810

The monastery was built in the west of the fortified city, far above the Roman wall in the foreland. According to the description of the historians Thomas and Wrede , this area was a depression at the level of today's northern Weyertal road, in which the stream of the same name, coming from the Gleuel area, silted up , for example on Universitätstrasse and Bachemer Strasse. The landscape, which was largely uninhabited when the monastery was founded, has changed little over the centuries.

The area of ​​the monastery site was also the area in front of the later gates of the curtain wall, the Hahnen - and the Schaafentor , and lay in the front area of ​​the streets beginning there, between the large arterial road leading to Antwerp (Antorf) and the narrow path to Lind and Bachem . At that time it was generally referred to as "piscinam" (located by the pond). In 1466 the monastery was called "clouster zo wijer".

The cartographic recording of this area by Tranchot shows few changes in the foreland of the city at the beginning of the 19th century. The area that has become the central Melaten cemetery , which was created on Aachener Straße on the site of a medieval infirmary , is clearly recognizable . The Geusenfriedhof , built in 1574, is also marked on the map as Cimetière. In the south the Hürther - or Duffesbach, striving towards the old brook gate, was marked and in the northwest the Gleueler Bach, which flows further northeast after passing the "Antoniusweiher" (at Tönneshäusgen), which then seeps into the so-called "Weiherkülchen".

The monastery was on the other side of the bishop's path , which encircled the city and marked the sphere of influence of the spiritual city lord, in the so-called " Schweid ". The area was in the sphere of influence of the St. Pantaleon Monastery, which owned large estates in the southwestern foreland. The new convent was therefore also subordinate to the St. Pantaleon Abbey.

Foundation and first destruction

The convent got its name due to its geographical location on a stream or pond in the medieval, western field of Cologne. This situation was soon to be fatal for the monastery. Soon after the founding, during the armed conflicts between the two opposing kings Philipp and Otto in 1205, the nuns were forced to flee to their house in the city center. The city, which, in contrast to its archbishop, was on Otto's side, was besieged unsuccessfully and could not be captured by the attackers. When they withdrew, the troops devastated the area around Cologne and also destroyed the “Zum Weiher” monastery, which had only been built seven years earlier. This was rebuilt until the year 1208 and in May of the same year received a letter of protection from King Philip in which anyone who was interested in the property or the life of the inmates of the monastery ("monast. Eccl. S. Marie de Piscina extra muros Col ") Went wrong, threatened with God's wrath and his, the king's disgrace .

House Weiher

A document from 1235 shows that the times were also viewed as uncertain afterwards. The nuns left their Weiher house in the city center to Duke Heinrich von Brabant in return for a hereditary interest of six Cologne solidis , half of which were payable at Easter and half for the feast of St. Gereon . The document contained the reservation that the nuns could return to the town house if they were forced to leave their monastery in the future because of fire or the danger of wandering warbands. This right should be granted to them without time restriction or remuneration until such a case of endangerment arose.

Place of negotiation and visit of high personalities

Ruprecht and Elisabeth of Hohenzollern-Nuremberg

Weiher Monastery also served as a neutral place of negotiation between the parties in dispute. The patricians , who had previously been expelled from the city by Archbishop Engelbert of Cologne, gathered in the monastery to negotiate with an envoy from the archbishop. A delegation of citizens also appeared at this meeting , who made the patricians an offer to forget old quarrels in order to be able to take action together against the archbishop who was suppressing urban freedoms.

Later on, Archbishop Wilhelm von Gennep also used the place for negotiations. In 1350 he appeared in person at the monastery to add additional concessions regarding urban rights and freedoms to a contract negotiated with the city and to stamp the document with his seal .

When King Ruprecht von der Pfalz and his family came to Cologne for his coronation in 1401 , he stayed at the city's Brabant court. After his coronation, he probably held his thanksgiving service in the Weiher Monastery, because according to tradition, after the Holy Mass, he entered the city with his wife in the “traditional way” through the Weyertor and Weyerstraße. It is possible that the monastery was also a place visited by rulers in the following years when they came from Aachen and chose the route via the Weyertor into the city, as Weyerstraße was also called Kaiserstraße for a while.

Further development

St. Augustine hands Norbert von Xanten his rule. Depiction around 1140
Saints Cäcilie and Paulinus with the abbesses Elisabeth on Manderscheid, and Elisabeth von Reven (the latter head of the Augustinian monastery at the Cäcilienkloster Cologne. Picture around 1515/30)

In the appendix to a document by Lacomblet , a manuscript of the monastery from the middle of the 15th century was cited, in which the Weiher monastery was described in its beginnings as a convent consecrated to the order of St. Augustine . This soon changed due to the action taken by the Archbishop of Cologne, with which he transferred the management of the monastery to the Abbot of the Premonstratensians in Knechtsteden . The long life of the abbey for spiritual guidance of the Convention as rectors used regular clergy , however, mixed later in the economic concerns of the monastery and arrested the hospitality of the sisters such claim that their "temporal goods melted away". Under the leadership of the canons sent from the Knechtsteden monastery , the discipline , the monastery morality and the modesty of the nuns left a lot to be desired, and the good reputation of the monastery in the Cologne population dwindled. In 1327 Archbishop Heinrich felt compelled to withdraw the leadership of the order from the Lords of Knechtsteden. For the time being he placed the leadership of the sisters under the responsibility of the Bonn monastery dean of the Cassius Foundation , later they were alternately subordinate to secular prelates . Discipline and order had returned to monastic life, yet the sisters were initially unwilling to take a religious vows and to agree to the complete renunciation of personal property. At the end of the year the prebends and the other income of the monastery were still divided among the sisters. If individual sisters in the community also received personal income from their families or other sources, they could dispose of it as they saw fit. This form of monastic coexistence could be conducted without objection in the Weiher monastery until 1443. Then strict reforms were introduced under Archbishop Dietrich . The sisters of the Weiher Monastery also had to submit to these new regulations.

From then on the strict enclosure was introduced, there was only the common monastery table in the refectory , the sisters were given a uniform habit . At that time, they were required to wear a white instead of the previous black veil (“pro subtili nigro subtle album”) and the complete renunciation of personal property was now mandatory (poverty law), existing assets fell to the order and were recognized when entering the monastery Considered dowry . The nuns were committed to absolute monastic obedience to the head of the community. This was no longer called "Magistra", but was given the name Prioress . The nuns elected the “noble-born” Mistress Elisabeth von Reven from among their number as the first prioress. Life in Weiher Monastery was now again in accordance with the requirements of the Augustine Rule .

The Weiher Monastery was finally destroyed

Due to the increased risk of imminent attacks on the city, the council made various efforts to counter this threat. Not only were defensive measures such as strengthening the curtain wall with stone bulwarks at the weaker points of the fortifications , but also numerous preventive structures in the area around the city were cleared and destroyed. These buildings included those at Judenbüchel , Hof Sülz, Leprosenhaus Melaten, and even the Weiher and Mechtern monasteries fell victim to these measures in 1474 and were destroyed. The appearance of the monastery complex remained unknown, and the furnishings were also lost when the building was closed in 1474.

Takeover of the St. Cäcilien monastery and abolition

View of St. Peter and the Cäcilienkloster around 1665

The community of the Weiher Monastery consisted of 51 people at the time when its Am Weiher buildings were cleared. In addition to the prioress, there were 34 sisters who had made their profession , four scholars and twelve lay sisters who had lost their accommodation. Since they were unable to enforce their old contractual rights of residence for the Am Hof ​​house from 1235 (they were rejected), they were initially accepted into the deanship of the Apostle monastery .

After long negotiations and with special use of Emperor Frederick and the papal legate , the nuns were assigned the noble women's monastery of St. Cäcilien in Cologne as their new monastic home.

The secular women's monastery, which at that time was only inhabited by the superior and a novice , was abolished as such and it was converted into a regulated Augustinian monastery. As such, it lasted until secularization in 1802.


  • Adam Wrede : New Cologne vocabulary . 3 volumes A – Z, Greven Verlag, Cologne, 9th edition 1984, ISBN 3-7743-0155-7
  • Adolph Thomas, in: History of the parish of St. Mauritius in Cologne. With an illustration of the old Abbey of St. Pantaleon after Stengelius. 1st edition JP Bachem, Cologne 1878
  • Hermann Keussen: Topography of the City of Cologne in the Middle Ages , in 2 volumes. Cologne 1910. ISBN 978-3-7700-7560-7 and ISBN 978-3-7700-7561-4
  • Irene Gückel: The Maria zum Weiher monastery in front of Cologne and its continued life in St. Cäcilia until secularization . Cologne writings on history and culture 19. Cologne 1993.
  • Margrit Jüsten-Hedtrich: St. Maria zum Weiher , in: Colonia Romanica IX Volume 2. 1996 p. 125. ISSN  0930-8555

Web links


  1. a b c d e f g h i Adolph Thomas: History of the parish of St. Mauritius in Cologne . Section Weiher Monastery, p. 45 ff
  2. Hermann Keussen , chapter "Feldfluren", vol. II., P. 320, with reference to: Lacomblet, 1198: UB (document book for the history of the Lower Rhine) volume I no. 564
  3. ^ Hermann Keussen, Volume I, Plate VI, District S. Laurenz
  4. ^ Adam Wrede, Volume III, p. 268
  5. ^ Hermann Keussen: Topography of the City of Cologne in the Middle Ages , Vol. I, p. 187
  6. Margrit Jüsten-Hedtrich: St. Mary of the pond , in Colonia Romanica IX Volume 2. 1996 S. 125
  7. Irene Gückel, The Maria zum Weiher monastery in front of Cologne and its continued life in St. Cäcilia up to secularization

Coordinates: 50 ° 55 ′ 48 ″  N , 6 ° 55 ′ 12 ″  E