Imperial Abbey of St. Maximin

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Coat of arms of the Imperial Abbey of St. Maximin
West front of the monastery church
Church from 1684: view from Petrisberg (east)
Abbey of St. Maximin (center) and St. Paulin (left) in front of the city wall (right and bottom). Engraving from 1646, probably based on a view from 1548 or 1550
Image of St. Maximin on the Trier court picture from 1589
Engraving of St. Maximin Abbey
Abbey in the 18th century

The Imperial Abbey of St. Maximin (Lat. Abbatia Sancti Maximini (around 1000) or Imperialis et exempta abbatia Sancti Maximini (17th century) etc.) was the largest and most influential of the four earlier Benedictine monasteries in Trier and one of the oldest Western Europe. The entrance portal of the monastery and the church from the 17th century, which is now used as a sports hall for a Catholic private school and as a concert hall, are still preserved from the structure.

An ancient burial ground with over 1000 sarcophagi is accessible for group tours under the church .


Until secularization

According to legend, the monastery was founded by Bishop Maximin von Trier in the 4th century. After Bishop Maximin died during a trip from Constantinople to Poitiers in 346, his successor transferred his bones to Trier in 353 . The monastery church was initially a Johanneskirche and was later renamed after the founder.

What is certain is that a Christian grave building was built in the 4th century on the northern burial ground of Roman Trier (see Augusta Treverorum ). A Benedictine abbey was founded at the burial site in the 6th century, which later became an imperial abbey .

The monastery was destroyed on April 5, 882 by the Normans. In 899 Regino von Prüm , previously Abbot of Prüm , retired to the St. Maximin Monastery in Trier. In 909 Eberhard von Franken became lay abbot of the monastery. In 937 St. Maximin settled the Mauritius monastery in Magdeburg. In the years 942 to 952, the rebuilding of the old church, which collapsed in 933, took place under Abbot Hugo.

From the 10th to the middle of the 12th century, the Counts of Luxembourg were bailiffs of the abbey, including:

The attempt of Adalberon von Munsterols to subjugate the direct imperial abbey of St. Maximin under his jurisdiction failed. In 1140 the Pope granted the monks a confirmation of their exemption . In the 13th century, after a fire, it was rebuilt according to the old floor plan.

The imperial immediacy of the monastery was long disputed and was contested by Kurtrier (the political territory of the Archbishop of Trier ). In 1669 the abbot and convent finally submitted to the electoral sovereignty of the Electorate of Trier, renouncing the imperial immediacy.

Due to the long dispute about imperial immediacy and the associated unclear rulership rights, many sources from this time "have been preserved as concrete evidence of rulership practice rather than in [sic] areas with undisputed sovereign and judicial rights." Research on witch trials in the Trier region benefits: From St. Maximin there are still approx. 250 complete trial files and several fragments of witch trials as well as lists of statements ( reports of other witches under torture) and executions, which for the St. Maximin area are temporarily " well-organized witch hunt ”, whereas in Kurtrier almost all files have been destroyed.

In 1674 the monastery was again completely destroyed by French troops. Under Abbot Alexander Henn, it was rebuilt again from 1680 to 1684 by the builder Hans N. Kuckeisen , preserving Gothic forms. The construction was financed through loans from private individuals. For example, it has been handed down that Philipp Dictius-Dixen, ferryman in Schweich, lent 256 Reichstaler, later another 200 Reichstaler, to the St. Maximin Monastery in 1674 for the reconstruction of the abbey church. The repayment was made to the heirs 70 years later.


  • Johannes monachus Antiochenus: 349 legendary
  • Memilianus: 634 (?)
  • Basinus: 726 (?)
  • Utilrad: 766 (?)
  • Uerinolf: end of the 8th century
  • Helysachar: around 815; † 836
  • Count Adalard or Alard, lay abbot: 853, 855
  • Waldo: 868, 879
  • Erkenbert: † 887
  • Megingaud, Graf im Mayenfeld, lay abbot: 887, 892
  • King Zwentibold , lay abbot: 892; † 900
  • King Conrad I , lay abbot: 906
  • Eberhard , Duke of Franconia , lay abbot: 909
  • Reginhar , Duke of Lorraine , lay abbot: 912; † 915 or 916
  • Giselbert , Duke of Lorraine, lay abbot: 916, 934
  • Hugo or Ogo: 934; † 948
  • Willer or Willihar: 953; † 957 (?)
  • Wiker: 959, 962; † 966
  • Asolf: 966, 967
  • Thiedfried: 967, 978
  • Ogo: 987
  • Folkmar or Folmar: 990, 993
  • Oferad or Ofterad: 992, 1006
  • Haricho: 1023
  • Johann: 1033, 1036
  • Poppo , also Abbot of Stablo and Malmedy : 1026, 1049
  • Theodoric: 1051, 1082
  • Heinrich: 1084, 1100
  • Folmai: 1101
  • Berengoz: 1107, 1125
  • Gerhard: 1129 (deposed by Archbishop Albero : 1140)
  • Siger: 1140, 1063
  • Arnold: 1168
  • Conrad: 1177, 1200
  • Bartholomaeus: 1201, 1207
  • Anselm: 1208, 1212
  • 1215-1231: Bartholomew
  • 1234–1258: Heinrich
  • 1257–1284: Wildgrave Heinrich (brother of Archbishop Gerhard I of Mainz )
  • 1304–1352: Diedrich II von Braunshorn , resigned, d. 1358
  • 1352-1367: Otto von Gennep
  • 1367-1411: Rorich von Eppelborn
  • 1411–1449: Lampert von Praunheim-Sachsenhausen (†)
  • 1449–1452: Johann von Forst
  • 1453–1482: Antonius Trubelius
  • 1482–1483: Dietrich (Theoderich) von Sehlem
  • 1483–1502: Otto von Elten
  • 1502–1514: Thomas von Heusden
  • 1514-1525: Vincent of Cochem
  • 1525–1548: John III. Rails from Zell
  • 1548–1556: Johann von Isenburg (Archbishop and Commendatarabbot)
  • 1556–1568: Petrus Reck from Luxembourg
  • 1568–1581: Matthias from Saarburg
  • 1581–1613: Reiner Biewer from Trier
  • 1613–1621: Nikolaus Hontheim from Biewer, 1609 coadjutor
  • 1621–1623: Peter von Freudenburg
  • 1623–1655: Johannes Agritius from Reckingen
  • 1655–1679: Maximin Gülich from St. Vith, 1654 coadjutor
  • 1680–1698: Alexander Henn from St. Vith
  • 1698–1719: Nicetius Andreae from Reckingen
  • 1719–1731: Nikolaus Paccius from Mayen
  • 1731–1738: Martin Bewer from Monschau
  • 1738–1762: Willibrord Scheffer from Luxembourg
  • 1762–1796: Willibrord Wittmann from Trier
  • 1797–1802: Benedikt Kirchner from Simmern, d. 1813

Historic property of the abbey in the area

Numerous documents document the development of the abbey properties in the area (first mentioned in brackets): Weimerskirch ( donated to the monastery by Karl Martell in 723 ), Kenn , Laubuseschbach , Münsterappel (all donated to the monastery by Arnulf von Kärnten in 893 ), Guntersblum ( 897 confirmed by Zwentibold as the property of the monastery), Mamer (given to the monastery in 960), Norheim (962 in exchange), Tiefenthal (Rheinhessen) (1051), Uhler (1200; mentioned in the document of the imperial abbey as owilre ), Hosten (early 13th century), Rittersdorf Castle (owned by the abbey in 1263), Kretz (1273), Dankerath (1276).

The imperial abbey of St. Maximin was wealthy in Luxembourg (city) from the earliest times . Her Vogt, Count Siegfried I , founder of the city and the country of Luxembourg, bought a Roman watchtower from her in 963 at the crossroads of two highways, which he expanded into Lucilinburhuc Castle , which is the nucleus of today's city. Even after the city and country were founded, the abbey remained present there with a branch, the so-called Refugium St. Maximin , which today serves as the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry .

Use since secularization

Troops of the 1st US Infantry Division in the Maximin barracks in November 1918.

After the secularization of the monastery in 1802, the building was redesigned and used as a barracks (Maximinkaserne), garrison church , prison and school . For this purpose, partition walls and ceilings were inserted in the church, but removed again in the eastern part to furnish the garrison church in 1876. In the part set up as a garrison church, neo-Gothic windows were built. The upper floors of the two towers had been torn down and replaced by simple pyramid roofs. Since 1871 parts were the seventh Rhenish Infantry Regiment 69th there in garrison , other parts were deployed in the Agneten- , Goeben - and in the Palace Barracks . In 1899, the Triersche Field Artillery Regiment No. 44 occupied part of the building. At the beginning of the 20th century, most of the remaining monastery buildings were demolished, but the former abbey church was preserved.

After the brief occupation by units of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe (American Expeditionary Forces, Europe), the French took over the barracks in 1919 and renamed them "Quartier Verdun". The French 41st Artillery Regiment (41 ° Régiment d'artillerie de Champagne, 41 ° RAC) was garrisoned there until December 31, 1928. The French also used the eastern part of the former nave as a garrison church. During the Second World War, the building was briefly occupied by the Wehrmacht with the 125th Infantry Regiment and the rest of the abbey buildings were destroyed as a result of bombing.

In 1953, during excavations for the Trier pension office in the south of the church building, a small, rectangular grave building with an apse (11.7 × 4.7 meters) was discovered and exposed by the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier . Several phases of construction and occupancy from Roman to early medieval times could be verified on the building. Part of the find was preserved with three sarcophagi in the cellar of the pension office.

After the end of its use as a school and residential building, the former abbey church of St. Maximin, which had become the property of the diocese of Trier , was redesigned into a gymnasium and festival hall by the architects Alois Peitz , Dieter Georg Baumewerd and Gottfried Böhm . The later fixtures were first removed and steel structures with nets were inserted as movable room dividers, but the original, now exposed sacred space was left in its shape. The original windows of the nave were largely reconstructed after found fragments, but the tower floors that were demolished after 1802 were not rebuilt, the remaining tower floors were given circumferential balustrades instead of the pyramid roofs. The resulting concert room with approx. 1200 seats, in which concerts take place at irregular intervals, is known for its excellent acoustics. In bad weather, the hall was also an alternative venue for the Antikenfestspiele held from 1998 to 2010 . The conversion of a former church as a gymnastics and multi-purpose hall was not without controversy at the time, but ensured the continued preservation of the monument and made the interior experience again, a church use or even a repopulation of the former abbey were not realistic.

In 1983 the Kath. Konstantin Hauptschule Trier moved into the building next to the former abbey church. In 1996 the school became a private school in St. Maximin due to its location . Renamed secondary school sponsored by the Diocese of Trier . The school has around 450 students and offers a 10th year of schooling to obtain the qualified secondary degree.

The burial ground discovered during the restoration of the church under St. Maximin has been open to the public for several years: over 1000, mostly simple sarcophagi are here, the oldest date from the 2nd century. A small number of the sarcophagi stand under the foundation walls of today's church and have supported the current structure for centuries. In some sarcophagi jewelry and in some cases human remains were found; some of them are still evaluated today by restorers and with the help of modern technology. Group tours through the burial ground are organized by the Episcopal Cathedral and Diocesan Museum on request .

In spring 2010 the Supervision and Service Directorate (ADD) approved an extension for the Office for Social Affairs (AsA) in the immediate vicinity of the former St. Maximin Abbey Church.


Overall representations

  • Bertram Resmini (arrangement): The Benedictine Abbey of St. Maximin in front of Trier. (= Germania Sacra . Third episode 11. The dioceses of the Church Province of Trier. The Archdiocese of Trier 13.) De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2016. Google book
  • Franz-Josef Heyen, Isabel Knoblich, Theo Kölzer, Adolf Neyses, Reiner Nolden, Winfried Weber, Theresia Zimmer: Trier, St. Maximin . In: Friedhelm Jürgensmeier (Ed.): The Benedictine monasteries for men and women in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, in connection with Regina Elisabeth Schwerdtfeger (= Germania Benedictina IX: Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland), St. Ottilien 1999, p. 1010 -1088.

Individual aspects

  • Andreas Heinz : The Palm Sunday liturgy in the former St. Maximin Abbey in Trier (1588) . In: Archive for Middle Rhine Church History 70 (2018), pp. 255–271.
  • Annette Homann: Scope of Faith - Anthropomorphism in Architectural Theory and the Transformation of St. Maximin in Trier . Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, 2005, ISBN 3-86573-110-4
  • Theo Kölzer : Studies on the forgery of documents of the St. Maximin Monastery in front of Trier (10th – 12th centuries) (= lectures and research. Special volume 36). Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1989.
  • Hiltrud Merten: The early Christian inscriptions from St. Maximin near Trier. With an appendix of the pagan stone monuments. Excavations of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier 1978–1990 (= catalogs and publications of the Museum am Dom Trier. Volume 8). Museum am Dom, Trier 2018, ISBN 978-3-945277-05-8 .
  • Adolf Neyses: The building history of the former imperial abbey St. Maximin near Trier . Trier 2001.
  • Nicole Reifarth: The late antique sarcophagus burials from St. Maximin in Trier. Problems of monument preservation - Exemplary concepts for scientific evaluation - Considerations for future handling. Master's thesis, Otto Friedrich University Bamberg 2006.
  • Bertram Resmini: The Holy Trier. The position of the St. Maximin Abbey in the historic monastery and monastery landscape of the city of Trier. In: Kurtrierisches Jahrbuch . Volume 2017, p. 77.

See also

Web links

Commons : St. Maximin (Trier)  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. Local community Metterich ( Memento from August 31, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), Verbandsgemeinde Bitburg-Land
  2. Matthäus Merian's engraving from 1646 is very similar to the woodcut of Trier from 1548 in Sebastian Münster's Cosmographiae Universalis (title: Situs & figura antiquissimae & praecipuae Medioniatricum ciuitatis Treuirensis), which is considered to be the first authentic cityscape of Trier. Although Merian's view is more detailed than the woodcut, it does not depict structural changes that were made between 1548 and 1646 (e.g. to the Constantine Basilica). Comparison of the woodcut in the Latin edition of Cosmographiae Universalis from 1550 on Historic Cities
  3. ^ Elisabeth Adams: Tour of monasteries and churches outside the city walls. ( Memento from June 25, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) In: Eine Stadt im Mittelalter. Trier in the Middle Ages - a city guide for young and old , p. 44 (Project study on medieval Trier at the University of Trier in the winter semester 2002/03.) Retrieved on January 30, 2007
  4. ^ A b Heinrich Beyer : Document book on the history of the Middle Rhine territories now forming the Prussian administrative districts of Coblenz and Trier , Volume 2, Coblenz: Hölscher, 1865, p. 197 ( online edition )
  5. ^ A b Rita Voltmer (December 7, 2000): St. Maximin near Trier (Reichsabtei) - witch hunt. In: Gudrun Gersmann, Katrin Moeller & Jürgen-Michael Schmidt (editor): Lexicon for the history of witch hunt. (accessed January 30, 2007)
  6. Hans-Peter Bungert, Schweich residents' register 1669 to 1880, Großrosseln 1999.
  7. ^ Heinrich Beyer : Document book for the history of the Middle Rhine territories now forming the Prussian administrative districts of Coblenz and Trier / from d. Sources ed. by Heinrich Beyer , Vol. 3, From 1212 to 1260 / by Leopold Eltester and Adam Goerz , Coblenz: Hölscher, 1874, p. 1117 ( online edition )
  8. Alfred Friese: The Lords of Praunheim-Sachsenhausen, inheritance of the Reich in Frankfurt am Main: Property, social and cultural history of an imperial family of the high and late Middle Ages . Masch. Diss. 1952, p. 91f.
  9. ^ Melanie Völker: City faces - Luxembourg. BoD - Books on Demand, 2012, ISBN 3-8482-0200-X , p. 6; (Digital scan)
  10. ^ Adolf Welter: Trier during the occupation 1918-1939. Petermännchen-Verlag der Trier Münzfreunde, Trier 1992, ISBN 3-923575-11-4 , p. 16.
  11. Entry on Former Abbey of Sankt Maximin - Gräberfeld in the database of cultural assets in the Trier region ; Retrieved on September 18, 2015. (with reference to the document Archeology between Hunsrück and Eifel - Guide to the excavation sites of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier . 1999, ISBN 3-923319-43-6 (series of RLM Trier publications No. 15))
  12. ^ Stefan Rethfeld: Between daring and severity on the death of Dieter G. Baumewerd. In: BauNetz, January 6, 2016, accessed on July 9, 2016 . Gudrun Escher: Retrospective: Dieter G. Baumewerd (1933–2015). (No longer available online.) In: Chamber of Architects North Rhine-Westphalia, February 16, 2016, archived from the original on July 9, 2016 ; Retrieved July 9, 2016 .
  13. Wolfgang Voigt (Ed.): Gottfried Böhm catalog book for the exhibition rocks made of concrete and glass. The architecture of Gottfried Böhm in the German Architecture Museum. JOVIS Verlag Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-936314-19-9 , p. 127.
  14. History of the private school St. Maximin website (accessed January 20, 2007)
  15. ^ Nicole Reifarth: On the grave equipment of late antique elite graves from St. Maximin in Trier. Purple, silk, gold and resins, Internationale Archeologie 124, Rahden / Westf. 2013.
  16. Confusion about building projects on Maximin site. Trierischer Volksfreund , May 7, 2010.

Coordinates: 49 ° 45 ′ 34.9 "  N , 6 ° 39 ′ 6.3"  E