Köln: religion

History of Christianity in Köln

Christianity in medieval Köln was intimately linked with secular politics. Christianity was present in Köln prior to the time period for this project, and Köln was part of a diocese created by Roman Emperor Diocletian during his restructuring of the late Roman empire [1]. Christian bishops took control of the diocese, including Köln’s diocese, in the fourth century, shifting the power from the secular Romans to the Church [2]. Maternus was the first recorded bishop of Köln, who is recorded as present at two gatherings of clergy in the early 4th century [3].

The Franks arrived in Köln sometime between the mid-fourth and the fifth centuries, setting off a stoppage in bishopric record keeping, but Köln remained the see of the bishopric and a series of close relationships between the secular Frankish kings and the powerful bishops of Köln [4]. Bishops served as advisers, ambassadors, and regents to the Merovingians [5]. The Carolingians also established a close relationship with the church in Köln [6]. Charlemagne made the bishopric of Köln an archbishopric in 785 [7]. He continued to enhance the power of Köln and its archdiocese by elevating the status of Bishop Hildebald in c.794 or 795 and provided it with more power and land, enveloping most of modern-day northwestern Germany [8]. The relationship between the Carolingians and the Church within Köln also extended to education through Charlemagne’s efforts. He asked monks to teach at court, and those monks became bishops in several cases – a cyclical relationship between educational education and leadership training that benefited both institutions [9].

Viking raiders attacked and destroyed Köln in 881 and 882 [10]. The city was rebuilt, and by the rule of Emperor Otto I, the church in Köln was back on its upward trajectory [11]. Otto I appointed his brother, Bruno, archbishop of Köln and Bruno’s actions solidified the church’s control over the city and the surrounding area [12]. Beginning with Bishop Heribert towards the end of the time period for this project, the Bishop of Köln gained the right to anoint and crown the King at Aachen [13]. By training men for church service at the court chapel, as well as placing his own family members into vacant bishoprics, Otto helped the church expand its power throughout his reign as the royal family and those in power in the church became increasingly interconnected [14].

[1] Lawrence G. Duggan, “Diocese,” in Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia, ed. John M. Jeep (New York: Garland Pub., 2001), 168-169.

Joan A. Holladay, “Cologne, Art,” in Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia, ed. by John M. Jeep (New York: Garland Pub., 2001), 134.

[2] Duggan, 168-69.

Holladay, 134.

[3] Joseph P. Huffman, “Cologne, Archdiocese,” in Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia, ed. John M. Jeep (New York: Garland Pub., 2001), 132-134.

[4] Duggan, 168-169.

Holladay, 134.

Huffman, “Cologne, Archdiocese,” 132.

“Cologne,” in Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, 3rd ed (Merriam-Webster, 2007), https://login.ezproxy.carleton.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/mwgeog/cologne/0?institutionId=6659.

Joseph P. Huffman, “Cologne, History,” in Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia, ed. John M. Jeep (New York: Garland Pub., 2001), 137-139.

[5] Huffman, “Cologne, Archdiocese,” 132.

[6] Huffman, “Cologne, Archdiocese,” 132.

[7] “Cologne,” in The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide, ed. Helicon (Helicon, 2018), https://login.ezproxy.carleton.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/topic/cologne?institutionId=6659.

[8] Holladay, 134.

“Cologne” in Meriam Webster’s Geographical Dictionary.

Huffman, “Cologne, History,” 138.

[9] C. Stephen Jaeger, “Two Models of Carolingian Education,” in The Envy of Angels: Cathedral Schools and Social Ideals in Medieval Europe, 950-1200, 21-35  (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), 26-27, http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46nqgm.6.

[10] Huffman, “Cologne, History,” 138.

[11] Huffman, “Cologne, History,” 138.

[12] Huffman, “Cologne, Archdiocese” 132.

[13] Huffman, “Cologne, Archdiocese” 132.

[14] C. Stephen Jaeger, The Origins of Courtliness: Civilizing Trends and the Formation of Courtly Ideals, 939-1210 (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Pr., 1991), 21-23.

Huffman, “Cologne, Archdiocese,” 132.

Important Churches

Between the 4th and 11th centuries, eleven of “The Twelve Romanesque Churches of Cologne” were built, burned down, repaired, and/or altered in various fashions. The Romanesque designs of these churches reflect the desire to make Köln more similar to Rome [1]. The saints they are dedicated to include:

  • St Severin
  • St Ursula
    • The Golden Chamber: which allegedly contains the relics of St. Ursula and her 11,000 holy virgin martyrs. It would become an important site for the cult of the holy virgins that would grow in popularity in the early 12th Century [2,3].

  • St Gereon
  • St Maria im Kapitol
  • St Apostela
  • St Cecilia
  • St Maria Lyskirchen
  • St. Pantaleon
    • Although originally a church built in 886, Bruno renovated Pantaleon into an abbey in 964. Both he and Empress Theophanu, the wife of Otto II, were buried here [4].
  • St. Andreas
  • St Martin
  • St Georg

[1] Huffman, Joseph P. “Cologne, Archdiocese.” In Medieval Germany : An Encyclopedia, edited by John M. Jeep. New York: Garland Pub., 2001. 135.

[2] Holladay, Joan A. “RELICS, RELIQUARIES, AND RELIGIOUS WOMEN: VISUALIZING THE HOLY VIRGINS OF COLOGNE.” Studies in Iconography 18 (1997): 74-75. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23924070.

[3] https://www.pinterest.com/pin/210191507582900809/

[4] Sanderson, Warren. “The Sources and Significance of the Ottonian Church of Saint Pantaleon at Cologne.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 29, no. 2 (1970): 83-84. doi:10.2307/988643.

Important Religious Figures

The most significant religious figures in Köln during this period were its bishops, and later archbishops.  Little is known about the early bishopric. Maternus, first known bishop, ruled in the early fourth century, around the time that St. Ursula and her virgin followers were supposedly martyred near Köln [1].

The Archbishopric rose high under Bruno, who served as Archbishop from 953 to 965.  The younger brother of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, Bruno served as both archbishop and duke, maintaining a close alliance with his brother, and serving as the second most powerful man in the Holy Roman Empire.  In addition to his political accomplishments and temporal power, Bruno consecrated multiple new churches and monasteries near Köln, including the church of St. Pantaleon, a martyr whose relics he acquired from the Pope, as well as vastly expanding Köln Cathedral [2].  He also invested in the education of new church leaders within his archdiocese; at least five pupils of Bruno who studied at Koln would later become bishops themselves, including his friends Wicfrid, bishop of Verdun, and Dietrich, bishop of Metz.  While archbishops did not appoint their subordinate bishops, Bruno was highly influential in the decisions of his brother the Emperor, who did choose the bishops [3].

Bruno’s biography was written about four years after his death by Ruotger, a monk.  The work was commissioned by Bruno’s successor as Archbishop of Koln, Folcmar, who had served as the administrator of Köln cathedral under Bruno [4]. Bruno was noted by Ruotger as being a model of good practices, rather than a worker of miracles.  Rather than a classical hagiography, Ruotger thus sought to represent the fact that Bruno’s wielding of temporal power was not incompatible with his being a good Christian bishop, an idea that was essential for later archbishops considering their ever-growing involvement in politics [5].

While no archbishop after Bruno would hold the duchy of Lotharingia, his example would lead to a growing tradition of Köln clergymen who wielded both secular and spiritual power. Heribert was archbishop from 999. He was a close associate of two emperors, served as Chancellor of Germany, and was regarded as a tremendously holy man, with multiple attributed miracles.  As such, he was acclaimed a saint even within his own lifetime, and canonized soon after his death in 1021 [6].  He was also a great builder, founding another abbey-church [7].

Pilgrim, who ascended to the Archbishopric after Heribert, was also involved in politics, commanding troops on the battlefield and leveraging his ability to crown kings; he also continued the tradition of great builder-bishops. He was responsible for the foundation of the Church of the Holy Apostles and the consecration of yet another abbey. A wealthy man from a noble family, as with many of Köln ’s bishops during this period, Pilgrim donated heavily to his own cathedral [8].

[1]  Huffman, Joseph P. “Cologne, Archdiocese.” In Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia, edited by John M. Jeep. New York: Garland Pub., 2001.Pg. 132.

[2] Mayr-Harting, Henry. Church and Cosmos in Early Ottonian Germany: The View from Cologne. Oxford University Press, 2010. Pg. 12.  

[3]  Mayr-Harting pg. 12

[4]  Mayr-Harting pg. 14

[5]  Mayr-Harting pg. 15

[6]  Huffman pg. 132

“Heribert of Cologne.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Oct. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heribert_of_Cologne.

[7] Holladay, Joan A. “Cologne, Art.” In Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia, edited by John M. Jeep. New York: Garland Pub., 2001. Pg. 135.

[8] “Pilgrim (Archbishop of Cologne).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 July 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilgrim_(archbishop_of_Cologne).

References

“Cologne.” In The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide, edited by Helicon. Helicon, 2018. https://login.ezproxy.carleton.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/topic/cologne?institutionId=6659

“Cologne.” In Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary. 3rd ed. Merriam-Webster, 2007. https://login.ezproxy.carleton.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/mwgeog/cologne/0?institutionId=6659

Duggan, Lawrence G. “Diocese.” In Medieval Germany : An Encyclopedia, edited by John M. Jeep. New York: Garland Pub., 2001.

“Heribert of Cologne.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Oct. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heribert_of_Cologne.

Holladay, Joan A. “Cologne, Art.” In Medieval Germany : An Encyclopedia, edited by John M. Jeep. New York: Garland Pub., 2001.

Holladay, Joan A. “RELICS, RELIQUARIES, AND RELIGIOUS WOMEN: VISUALIZING THE HOLY VIRGINS OF COLOGNE.” Studies in Iconography 18 (1997): 74-75. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23924070.

Huffman, Joseph P. “Cologne, Archdiocese.” In Medieval Germany : An Encyclopedia, edited by John M. Jeep. New York: Garland Pub., 2001.

Huffman, Joseph P. “Cologne, History.” In Medieval Germany : An Encyclopedia, edited by John M. Jeep. New York: Garland Pub., 2001.

Jaeger, C. Stephen. “Two Models of Carolingian Education.” In The Envy of Angels: Cathedral Schools and Social Ideals in Medieval Europe, 950-1200, 21-35. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46nqgm.6.

Mayr-Harting, Henry. Church and Cosmos in Early Ottonian Germany: The View from Cologne. Oxford University Press, 2010.

“Pilgrim (Archbishop of Cologne).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 July 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilgrim_(archbishop_of_Cologne).

Sanderson, Warren. “The Sources and Significance of the Ottonian Church of Saint Pantaleon at Cologne.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 29, no. 2 (1970): 83-84. doi:10.2307/988643.

11 Comments

  1. Cece Lasley
    ·

    Hi Nick and Sid,

    How does meeting on Saturday at 3pm in the Libe work for you to go over the meeting on Thursday and to sort of getting organized sound? Nick, I know you and I discussed this today, but I thought I’d ask on here too.

    Best,

    Cece

    Reply
    1. Nicholas Pandelakis
      ·

      That sounds perfect, I will see you there!

      Reply
  2. pandelakisn
    ·

    Hey Sid and Cece,

    Here is a summary of our meeting on 3/2.

    We broke up our work on Religious Life into three categories: important religious figures, important churches/buildings/art, and a general overview of how religion came to Cologne and then subsequently developed. Since we all have a multitude of commitments, we decided to work more independently and have all our research up by this weekend. From there, we will edit and arrange our research as well as finalize our presentation.

    Sid, you said you wanted to work on the important figures, I chose to focus on the buildings and art, and Cece will provide a broader view of how religion in Cologne transformed from 300 -1050.

    We will be working together out of Cece’s Google folder, but we should also make sure to try and put up relevant resources and questions on our discussion board

    Reply
  3. pandelakisn
    ·

    Hey Cece,

    I found a source that might about an interesting and slightly weird topic from Cologne’s early christian history.

    Holladay, Joan . “Relics, Reliquaries, and Religious Women: Visualizing the Holy Virgins of Cologne.” Studies in Iconography 18 (1997)

    Here is a link to the JTOR pdf:

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/23924070.pdf

    Hope this is helpful!

    Reply
    1. Cece Lasley
      ·

      Thank you so much, Nick! I really appreciate it!

      Reply
  4. pandelakisn
    ·

    Hey Sid,

    I just checked out a book called, “Intellectual Life in the Middle Ages.” It includes an essay written on Bruno the Great that you might find interesting. Let me know if you’re interested in using it.

    Reply
  5. Cece Lasley
    ·

    Hi Nick and Sid,

    I checked out a book today called “Family Commerce, and Religion in London and Cologne” which looks to be mostly later, but I’ll let you all know if there’s anything relevant in the section about our time period. I also did some searching in Catalyst and found a few things that I put on the google drive, and I have a few more that I still need to go through.

    Best,

    Cece

    Reply
  6. pandelakisn
    ·

    Do you guys have a time that works well to meet (either today or tomorrow) in order to edit and finalize the page?

    Reply
    1. Cece Lasley
      ·

      Hi! I am free all day tomorrow with the exception from 6-7 pm. When are you all free?

      Best,

      Cece

      Reply

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