Fulda

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Fulda (German pronunciation: [ˈfʊlda]) is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district (Kreis).

Contents

History

Early Middle Ages

The Benedictine monastery of Fulda was founded in 744 by Saint Sturm, a disciple of Saint Boniface, as one of Boniface's outposts in the reorganization of the church in Germany. It later served as a base from which missionaries could accompany Charlemagne's armies in their political and military campaign to fully conquer and convert pagan Saxony.

The initial grant for the abbey was signed by Carloman, the son of Charles Martel. The support of the Mayors of the Palace and later, the early Pippinid and Carolingian rulers, was important to Boniface's success. Fulda also received support from many of the leading families of the Carolingian world. Sturm, whose tenure as abbot lasted from 747 until 779, was most likely related to the Agilolfing dukes of Bavaria. Fulda also received large and constant donations from the Etichonids, a leading family in Alsatia, and the Conradines, predecessors of the Salian Holy Roman Emperors. Under Sturm, the donations Fulda received from these and other important families helped in the establishment of daughter houses Johannesberg and Petersberg near Fulda.

After his martyrdom by the Frisians, the relics of Saint Boniface were brought back to Fulda. Because of the stature this afforded the monastery, the donations increased, and Fulda could establish daughter houses further away, for example in Hamelin. Meanwhile Saint Lullus, successor of Boniface as archbishop of Mainz, tried to absorb the abbey into his archbishopric, but failed. This was one reason that he founded Hersfeld Abbey, to limit the attempts of the enlargement of Fulda.

Between 790 and 819 the community rebuilt the main monastery church to more fittingly house the relics. They based their new basilica on the original 4th-century (since demolished) Old Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, using the transept and crypt plan of that great pilgrimage church to frame their own saint as the "Apostle to the Germans". The crypt of the original abbey church still holds those relics, but the church itself has been subsumed into a Baroque renovation. A small, 9th century chapel remains standing within walking distance of the church, as do the foundations of a later women's abbey.

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