Marienstift (Aachen)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Aachen Marienstift , also called the Coronation Monastery of St. Marien from 1000 onwards , was a collegiate monastery in the imperial city of Aachen , which existed from the end of the 8th century until the secularization of 1802. The church supervised by the monastery chapter was the chapel of his palatinate in Aachen, built on behalf of Charlemagne , whose octagon forms the core of today's Aachen Cathedral . The Marienkirche was the medieval coronation church of the German kings , an important pilgrimage church and later burial place of Charlemagne. From 1789 the monastery belonged to the diocese of Liège and in 1802 it was partially converted into a cathedral monastery for the episcopal church of the newly founded first diocese of Aachen .


The chapel of his royal palace built by order of Charlemagne was built at the end of the 8th century and was consecrated to Saint Mary . Konpatrone were Corona and Leopardus . After the canonization carried out by Frederick I in 1165 , Karl himself became patron of the Marienkirche. Karl donated extensive property and numerous relics to the monastery , which over the years made St. Mary's Church a much-visited pilgrimage church. A list from the 12th century lists 87 relics alone, omitting those in the altars; later lists give even higher numbers. In 1367 Louis of Hungary donated relics of the holy kings of Hungary to the monastery .

The monastery was initially responsible for carrying out the services for Karl and the associated representation of the rule in his kingdom and beyond. In the collegiate church there was Karl's throne, which thirty of his successors climbed here in the course of the Middle Ages until 1531 on the occasion of their coronation as a token of their legitimation, as it was later laid down in the Golden Bull . Karl himself and his later successor Otto III. , who founded the Aachen coronation monastery St. Marien here in 1000, were buried in the church. In 1172 Frederick I referred to the monastery as sedes et caput regni , seat and head of the empire.

Until 1794 the Aachen imperial regalia , which were shown from around the 13th century on the occasion of the respective royal coronation and consisted of the Stephansbursa , the imperial gospel and the saber of Charlemagne , were kept in the monastery . At the beginning of the 14th century, the Marienkirche became a pilgrimage church that is known and increasingly important throughout Europe, also because of its numerous relics. Since the middle of the 14th century, pilgrims from all over Europe have set out for the presentation of the four most important relics as part of the shrine trips to Aachen. For this reason, the collegiate church was extended by a Gothic choir hall between 1355 and 1414 based on the French model.

A hospital existed at the Marienstift even before 1200 . At the beginning of the 15th century, documents from the monastery show that the cantor and scholaster of the monastery each had to provide a teacher for ten, and since 1577 for eight young canons for church and school. There is evidence of a Latin school in the 16th century , where, in addition to the choir students, urban students were also taught. From 1694 there was a Sunday school, separate for girls and boys . In 1707 a teaching and education house for the choir students and the "Choralenhaus", which was abandoned in 1802, were built. Due to its importance, both instrumental and choral music were performed at the Marienstift . The choir of the choir school was supplemented by professional singers (music priests) and professional musicians, twelve music priests were named for 1629 and 38 musicians in 1689. After a donation from canon Peter von Beeck (Latinized Petrus a Beeck ), who also wrote the first history of the city of Aachen in 1624, bread rolls were distributed to those in need in the 17th century.

In addition to its function as a coronation church, the collegiate church was also the parish church for the villa and fiscus of the imperial city of Aachen. In the 9th and 11th centuries the parish around Laurensberg , Würselen and Burtscheid was reduced in size. Then in the 13th century certain parish rights were given to the parishes of St. Peter , St. Jakob and St. Adalbert ; The monopoly of baptism remained with the Marienstift until 1802.

Pen chapter

Seal and seal stamp of the chapter of the monastery, Hans von Reutlingen , 1528

The collegiate chapter initially consisted of twelve canons , headed by an abbot , who was only called provost from 972 onwards . In connection with this, in 855 the monastery is still referred to as monasterium , Latin for "monastery", and in 1166 the term Ecclesia collegiata ( collegiate church ), 1207 Imperialis capella , Latin for "imperial chapel". The number of canons increased over time, at the end of the 14th century 39 canons and two imperial vicars were named, who, in contrast to the canons, were only entitled to half the income from the benefices of a canonate. From 1577 until the abbey was dissolved, eight fewer canons were appointed for cost reasons. With his coronation, the ruler himself also had rights from a canonical of the monastery. The provost was always a nobleman who was appointed by the emperor. Otto I had decreed in 972 that the provost was to be selected from the members of the royal court orchestra , and therefore had to belong to the imperial nobility . This regulation was followed until the 14th century. In 1348 the right of occupation for the post of provost was pledged to the Duchy of Jülich , whose rulers subsequently conferred the post of provost to members of the Rhenish nobility. Only a few members of the chapter belonged to the high nobility , most of them came from the service aristocracy as well as the lower nobility and respected bourgeois families in the near and far between Düsseldorf, Bonn, Roermond and Huy . Together with the Pope, the city enforced that from 1418 proof of legitimate birth and an academic degree became the sole criteria for receiving full income from a canonical. If the candidate had not yet completed a degree, he was obliged to take up such a degree when he entered the chapter. Most of the candidates studied in Cologne or Leuven , the preferred field of study was law .

Collegiate District, Immunity, and Jurisdiction

At the end of the 12th century, Provost Philipp von Schwaben , who later became the German king, had a cloister and dormitory built for the canons , presumably in the northwest of the church building. Also in the 12th century, a so-called Brudermühle was built on the monastery grounds, connected to a bakery, and a granary and wine cellar can also be identified from this period. The Rommel brewery on the Katschhof has also been part of the monastery district since the 13th century . The mill and brewery as well as a fish pond were used for self-sufficiency and were initially operated by the monastery staff, but were leased at the end of the Middle Ages. In contrast to the city, the production of malt and beer was tax-free there, which led to disputes with the city. In the 18th century the monastery district extended to the southern part of the Katschhof, the Klosterplatz and the Klostergasse, its outer borders formed the Jakobstraße, the Klappergasse , the Spitzgässchen and the Rennbahn.

The monastery had certain privileges because it was founded by Karl. In 966 Otto I expressly assured him royal protection and immunity , which meant that it was no longer subject to normal jurisdiction. A walled immunity district owned by the Reichskirche included, in addition to the Marienkirche itself, other sacred, residential and farm buildings. There, jurisdiction in civil matters and minor offenses was the responsibility of the dean and the chapter, civil and criminal jurisdiction against urban citizens and strangers was incumbent on the provost. In his possessions outside the monastery district, bailiffs were appointed for the administration of justice, who were appointed by the ruler himself until the offices were converted into hereditary offices . In the abbey district itself, the provost was also entitled to jurisdiction .

Pen ownership

The high reputation of the monastery also meant that after Karl it received extensive donations of land, tithe and non-nonsense rights from other Franconian and German rulers well into the 11th century . Most of the nuns' rights were transferred to the monastery by Lothar II , Heinrich I and Otto I. The property comprised about twenty localities with churches and the resulting tithe rights, as well as another ten churches with the corresponding tithe rights and the occupation rights for the parish offices, plus vineyards on the Rhine, Ahr and Moselle. From the land ownership and the tithe rights of incorporated churches , including the Salvatorkirche on the Salvatorberg since 1059 and the St. Paulus-Kerk in Vaals , which essentially remained until 1802, about 60% of the monastery’s grain income resulted. In the course of time there were further bequests and foundations, some of them from private individuals for annual trade fairs. The monastery also acquired basic rights, pensions and bonds, partly to compensate for property around Liege that was lost during the Eighty Years' War .

Resolution 1802

When the first diocese of Aachen was founded in 1802, the Marienstift was dissolved and most of its property was sold. Parts of the church treasure such as the imperial regalia reached Paderborn as early as 1794 and later to Vienna, others such as the Proserpina sarcophagus were transported by French troops to Paris. The Marienkirche became the episcopal church of the new diocese in 1802, the church was assigned a cathedral chapter of eight canons, three of whom had already belonged to the Marienstift. With the dissolution of the first diocese of Aachen, the cathedral monastery again became a collegiate monastery with a provost at its head. With the re-establishment of the Aachen diocese in 1930, the collegiate monastery again became a cathedral monastery with a cathedral provost .

coat of arms

In the 18th century the coat of arms of the monastery is shown on a split shield , the right side of which shows a halved eagle and the left side a field of lilies with a Madonna and a picture of Charlemagne, who is holding a model of the church in his right hand.


  • Ludwig Falkenstein : Charlemagne and the emergence of the Aachen Marienstift (= sources and research from the field of history. NF, 3). Schöningh, Paderborn 1981, ISBN 3-506-73253-6 ( digitized version ).
  • Peter Offergeld: Marienstift. In: Manfred Groten , Georg Mölich, Gisela Muschiol, Joachim Oepen (eds.), Wolfgang Rosen (ed.): Nordrheinisches Klosterbuch. Lexicon of the monasteries and monasteries until 1815. Part 1: Aachen to Düren (= studies on Cologne church history. Vol. 37). Schmitt, Siegburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-87710-453-8 , pp. 121-139 ( text examples ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Emil Pauls : Agreement between the provost and the canons (fratres) of the Marienstift in Aachen on a wax delivery for candles. 1213 . In: Journal of the Aachen History Association . 25th volume. Aachen 1903, p.  362–364 ( Text Archive - Internet Archive [accessed May 11, 2015]).
  2. Emil Pauls : Decision of the spiritual court (chapter) of the Aachen Marienstift in matters of a debt claim against a clergyman of the monastery. 1543, October 19 . In: Journal of the Aachen History Association . 28th volume. Aachen 1906, p.  458-464 ( Text Archive - Internet Archive [accessed May 11, 2015]).