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Fulda Monastery, Germany

Established in 743/44, Fulda was a Benedictine monastery in Hesse-Nassau that grew rich from pilgrimages to the grave of St. Boniface and gained renown as an intellectual center as its library grew. Sts. Boniface and Sturmius founded the house as a training school and base for missionaries whom Charlemagne sent to the Saxons. Soon after the death of Boniface, Fulda became an important destination for pilgrims, and about a century after its founding, the abbot Rabamus Maurus increased the intellectual riches of the monastery through its school, scriptorium, and library, which, at its peak, held approximately 2,000 manuscripts. It preserved works such as Tacitus' Annales, and the monastery is considered the cradle of Old High German literature.

The abbots of Fulda became in the X Century the abbot general of the Benedictines in Germany and Gaul. In the XII Century, they became imperial chancellors and in the XIII Century, princes of the empire. Fulda was the center of monastic reform during the reign of Henry II.

The prestige of Fulda declined in succeeding centuries, although it had a brief revival in the late XVII Century. The monastery was secularized in 1802 after the Treaty of Paris but became an episcopal see in 1829.

Karen Rae Keck


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