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Abbey of St. Emmeram

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A Benedictine monastery at Ratisbon (Regensburg), named after its traditional founder, the patron saint of the city. The exact date of foundation is unknown. St. Emmeram flourished in the middle of the seventh century and 652 is given by most authorities as the approximate date of the establishment of this monastery. Its beginnings were connected with a chapel in which certain much venerated relics were preserved, and which, in 697, was enlarged and beautified by Theodo, Duke of Bavaria, who built at the same time a new monastery for Benedictine monks, of which Appollonius was first abbot. It was still further enlarged by Charlemagne about the year 800 and endowed with extensive possessions and many privileges. When St. Boniface, in 739, divided Bavaria into four diocese, the first Bishop of Ratisbon fixed his see at the Abbey of St. Emmeram , but later on it was removed by a subsequent bishop to the old Cathedral of St. Stephen, which stands beside the present one. In 830, the then bishop obtained from Louis, King of Bavaria, the administration of the abbey for himself and his successors, and for upwards of a hundred years the Bishops of Ratisbon ruled the monastery as well as the diocese, but in 968 St. Wolfgang restored its independence and from that time forward it enjoyed the rule of its own abbots. For some centuries it was customary to elect as bishop a canon of St. Stephen's and a monk of St. Emmeram's alternately. Many of the early bishops of Ratisbon were buried in the abbey church and their tombs are still to be seen there, as also is that of the Emperor Arnulph (d. 899). The abbots held the rank of princes of the Empire, and as such had a seat in the Imperial Diets. The present church, which is a Romanesque basilica, dates from the thirteenth century, but was restored in a somewhat debased style in the eighteenth. It is one of the few German churches with a detached bell-tower. The monastery was suppressed early in the nineteenth century and in 1809 the conventual buildings became the palace of the Prince of Thurn and Taxis, hereditary postmaster-general of the old German Empire, whose family still (1909) reside there. The cloister garth, in the centre of which is a modern mortuary chapel, is now used as the family burial-place.


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