Quedlinburg Abbey

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Collegiate Church and Quedlinburg Castle, view from the Munzenberg
Collegiate Church and Castle, aerial view (2015)

The Quedlinburg Abbey was founded in 936 on the intercession of Mathilde , the widow of the East Franconian-German King Heinrich I , who died in 936 , by her son Otto I on Quedlinburg Castle Hill . In terms of its character, it was a royal family monastery and, after its foundation, it soon flourished thanks to a wealth of gifts. The main task consisted in the memoria , i.e. in commemoration of the dead for Heinrich I, who died on July 2, 936.


Castle view from 956 (recognition mark MGH DD O. I, 184)

The “Imperial Free Secular Reichsstift Quedlinburg”, as it was officially called until its dissolution in 1802, was a community of unmarried daughters of noble families who wanted to lead a godly life in this women's monastery. The term “secular” in the name is to be understood as the opposite of “monastic”.

The largest and most famous women's pens of this type were the pens in Essen , Gandersheim , Gernrode , Cologne and Herford . The young Queen Mathilde was brought up in the latter monastery by her grandmother, who was abbess there. In 936 Mathilde had tried in vain to move the convent of Wendhusen monastery completely to Quedlinburg. In the course of time, however, the connection between the two monasteries developed in such a way that the provostesses of Wendhusen were chosen from the Quedlinburg monastery chapter .

In the Middle Ages and the early modern period, women's monasteries were important centers for looking after unmarried noble women and widows. The canonesses were often scholarly and skilled handicrafts.

After disputes between the city of Quedlinburg and the Bishop of Halberstadt on the one hand and Abbess Hedwig of Saxony and her brothers Ernst and Albrecht of Saxony on the other, the Electoral Saxon Bailiwick was established through the imperial monastery in 1477/79 . This was sold to Kurbrandenburg in 1697, which led to the occupation of the monastery area by Brandenburg-Prussia on January 30, 1698.

After the secularization in 1802 and 1803, the imperial monastery was taken over by Prussia as the Principality of Quedlinburg . Between 1807 and 1814 it belonged to the Kingdom of Westphalia .

See also: Castle Museum (Quedlinburg)

Church building

View from the south. In the foreground the Quedlinburg Castle Mill (now a hotel)
The former monastery building at dusk

The collegiate church of St. Servatius , also St. Servatii, often referred to as Quedlinburg Cathedral , is a church consecrated to Saints Dionysius and Servatius and a monument to high Romanesque architecture. The flat-roofed three-aisled basilica was started before 997 on the remains of three previous buildings and finished in 1021. Following the change of pillars in Lower Saxony , two columns alternate with one pillar.


Queen Mathilde founded and directed the monastery from 936 to 966, but was not an abbess. The first abbess was her granddaughter Mathilde , daughter of Emperor Otto I , a Liudolfingerin . Anna II, Countess zu Stolberg , was the 28th and last Catholic abbess. In 1540 the monastery became Protestant. The last abbess was Sophie Albertine , Princess of Sweden .

See: List of Abbesses of Quedlinburg

Donations to the women's monastery

In the first decades after the founding of the women's monastery, numerous donations were made, especially by the Saxon royal family. All of the deserts from the immediate vicinity described later are part of it, but also places far away, such as Soltau , 170 km away , which Otto I gave as a gift in 936. Here is a chronologically sorted selection:

  • The church consecrated to St. Michael next to the Volkmarskeller hermitage near Blankenburg in the Harz Mountains was donated to the Quedlinburg Abbey by Otto I in 956.
  • In 974 the place Duderstadt in the southeast of Lower Saxony came to the Quedlinburg monastery, which administered it for 262 years. The village of Breitenfeld / Berg bei Duderstadt belonged to Quedlinburg until the women's foundation was dissolved.
  • Potsdam was first mentioned in a document in the deed of donation from King Otto III. on July 3, 993. The diploma marks a turning point in the recovery of East Elbe areas; because due to the Slav uprising of 983 the German rule was pushed back to the Elbe .
  • In 999 the provincia Gera came into the possession of the Quedlinburg monastery, whose abbess appointed the bailiffs of Weida as administrator of the area in 1209 .
  • Otto I donated twenty-five places in 936, two places in 937, one place in 944, two places in 946, one place in 954, eleven places in 956 and seven places in 961. Otto II gave five places in 974, one place in 979 and five places in 985. Otto III. gave three places in 992, two places in 993, four places in 995 and one place in 999. More than 150 places were added later.

See also: Quedlinburg Cathedral Treasury

See also


  • Hans-Erich Weirauch: The goods policy of the Quedlinburg monastery in the Middle Ages. In: Saxony and Anhalt, 13. Magdeburg 1937, pp. 117–181.
  • Hans-Erich Weirauch: The property of the Quedlinburg monastery in the Middle Ages. In: Saxony and Anhalt, 14. Magdeburg 1938, pp. 203–295.
  • Barbara Pätzold: Abbey and City of Quedlinburg. On the relationship between the clergy and the bourgeoisie in the late Middle Ages. In: Hansische Studien, Vol. 8 (1989), pp. 171-192.
  • Walter Breywisch: Quedlinburg's secularization and its first years under Prussian rule 1802–1806. In: Saxony and Anhalt, 4th Magdeburg 1928, pp. 207–249.
  • Clemens Bley (ed.): Kayserlich - frey - secular. The Reichsstift Quedlinburg in the late Middle Ages and in the early modern period (=  studies on regional history. Vol. 21). Halle 2009, ISBN 978-3-89812-628-1 (Introduction and ten contributions from the conference on September 16/17, 2006 in Quedlinburg; Appendices: Prosopography of the Quedlinburg chapter in the post-Reformation period [pp. 45–104] and senior officials the abbey 1575-1750 [p. 227]).
  • Clemens Bley: Tradition - Reformation - Legitimation. To introduce the Reformation in the Quedlinburg Imperial Monastery. In: Women's Convents in the Age of Confessionalization. Klartext Verlag, Essen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8375-0436-1 .
  • Christian Marlow: So… the Quedlinburg Abbey in secularized state has now been determined and assured as a complete hereditary property - the secularization of the Quedlinburg Imperial Abbey. In: Quedlinburger Annalen 14 (2011), pp. 72–86.
  • Christian Marlow: The Quedlinburg Abbesses in the High Middle Ages. Quedlinburg Abbey in times of crisis and change until 1137. Magdeburg 2017 ( pdf 2.24 MB).
  • Peter Kasper: The Reichsstift Quedlinburg (936-1810). Concept - time reference - system change. V&R unipress, Göttingen 2014. ISBN 978-3-8471-0209-0 .
  • Teresa Schöder-Stapper: Princely abbesses early modern monasteries between kinship, local powers and Reichsverband, Böhlau Verlag Cologne, Weimar, Vienna, 2015. ISBN 978-3-412-22485-1

Web links

Commons : Stift Quedlinburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Jan Gerchow (Ed.): Essen and the Saxon women's pens in the early Middle Ages. Essen research on Frauenstift 2; Essen 2003.
  2. Bernd Feicke: On the political prehistory of the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss 1803 and its results for Electoral Saxony and Prussia in the Eastern Harz with special attention to the county of Mansfeld, which was incorporated in 1780, the imperial city and the Reichsstift Nordhausen as well as the Reichsstift Quedlinburg. In: Contributions to the regional and state culture of Saxony-Anhalt, 29; Hall 2004; Pp. 4-29.
  3. ^ Klaus Voigtländer: The collegiate church of St. Servatii in Quedlinburg. History of their restoration and furnishing. Berlin 1989.
  4. See the loan deeds in the digitized city archive of Duderstadt at: Stadtarchiv Duderstadt ( Memento from October 31, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  5. See the list with Manfred Mehl: The coins of the Quedlinburg monastery. Hamburg 2006, pp. 42-49.

Coordinates: 51 ° 47 ′ 9.4 ″  N , 11 ° 8 ′ 12.5 ″  E