- Hiberno-Scottish mission
Irish and Scottish missionaries (Iro-Scottish, Hiberno-Scottish) were instrumental in the spread of
Christianityin Anglo-Saxon Englandand the Frankish Empireduring the 6th and 7th centuries. The Latin term "Scotti" refers to the Gaelic-speaking people of Ireland and the Irish who settled in western Scotland. In early medieval times Ireland was known, not only as Éire, but also as Scotiaa name that the Romans used to refer to Ireland. The Romans also gave Ireland the name "Hibernia". Thus, the "Scots" missionaries who were so influential in the early Church history of Germany included men from both Ireland and Scotland in the modern sense, but were predominantly Irish.
Schottenklöster (meaning "Scottish monasteries" in German, singular: "Schottenkloster") is the name applied to the
monasticfoundations of Irish and Scottish missionaries in Continental Europe, particularly to the Scottish Benedictinemonasteries in Germany, which in the beginning of the 13th centurywere combined into one congregation whose abbot-general was the Abbot of the Scots monastery at Regensburg.
sixth centurymigrations into what is now Scotland were Ulster clans such as the Airgíallaand the Uí Néill. Among them was Colm Cilleof Gartanwho, with twelve companions, founded Ionain the early 6th century. Adomnánof Donegal wrote his biography in the early 8th century. As late as the 11th and early 12th century the name Scot or Scotus identified the missionary or traveller as a Gaeland thus monks of Irish as well as Scottish origin were commonly both referred to under the same, at the time shared, nomenclature. Marianus Scotustogether with is companions was the founder of St. Peter at Regensburg in 1072.
Columba to Columbanus (563-615)
Saint Ninian, Christianity first spread to Scotland again in 563with the foundation of Ionaby Columcille. Following the foundation of Lindisfarnein 635by Saint Aidan, Hiberno-Scottish missionaries converted most of Anglo-Saxon England during the following decades; the last pagan Anglo-Saxon king, Penda of Mercia, died in 655. Columbanusfrom 590was active in the Frankish Empire, establishing monasteries throughout what is now Franceand Switzerlanduntil his death at Bobbioin 615. Other Hiberno-Scottish missionaries active at the time, predominantly in Swabia, were Wendelin, Kilian, Arbogast, Landelin, Trudpert, Fridolin, Pirmin(founded Reichenau abbey), Gallus ( Abbey of St. Gall), Korbinian, Emmeramand Rupert.
Examples of Hiberno-Scottish monasteries on the continent include the Scots monasteries in
Regensburg, Vienna, Erfurtand Würzburg. In Italy, there are the establishments of Columbanus, founder of Luxeuil and Bobbio, and Saints Donatus and Andrew of Tuscany, of Fiesole.
The first Schottenkloster of which we have any knowledge was Säckingen in
Baden, founded by the Irish missionary, St. Fridolin, towards the end of the 5th century. The same missionary is said to have founded a Schottenkloster at Konstanz. A century later St. Columbanusarrived on the continent with twelve companions and founded Annegray, Luxeuil, and Fontaines in France, Bobbioin Italy. During the seventh centurythe disciples of Columbanus and other Irish and Scottish missionaries founded a long list of monasteries in what is now France, Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland. The best known are: St. Gall in Switzerland, Disibodenbergin the RhinePalatinate, St. Paul's at Besançon, Lure and Cusance in the Diocese of Besançon, Beze in the Diocese of Langres, Remiremont Abbeyand Moyenmoutier Abbeyin the Diocese of Toul, Fosses-la-Villein the Diocese of Liège, Mont-St-Michel at Peronne, Ebersmunster in Lower Alsace, St. Martinat Cologne.
After Columbanus (8th to 11th c.)
Hiberno-Scottish activity in Europe declined after the death of Columbanus.
Celtic Christianitywas united with Roman Catholicism after the Synod of Whitbyin 664, and from 698until the reign of Charlemagnein the 770s, the Hiberno-Scottish efforts in the Frankish Empire were continued by the Anglo-Saxon mission. See: Germanic Christianity.
The rule of St. Columbanus, which was originally followed in most of these monasteries, was soon superseded by that of St. Benedict. Later Gaelic missionaries, founded
Honauin Baden (about 721), Murbachin Upper Alsace (about 727), Altomünsterin Upper Bavaria(about 749), while other Gaelic monks restored St. Michel in Thiérache (940), Walsort near Namur (945), and, at Cologne, the Monasteries of St. Clement (about 953), St. Martin (about 980), St. Symphorian (about 990), and St. Pantaléon (1042).
High Middle Ages (11th to 12th c.)
Irish monks known as
Paparare said to have been present in Iceland before its settlement by the Norse in the 9th century. Among the Irish monks who were active in Central Europe were two particularly important theologians, Marianus Scotusand Johannes Scotus Eriugena. Legends surrounding Iro-Scottish foundations are recorded in a Middle High Germantext known as "Charlemagne and the Scottish Saints" (BL Harley 3971).
Towards the end of the eleventh and in the
twelfth century, a number of Schottenklöster, intended for Scottish and Irish monks exclusively, sprang up in Germany. About 1072, three Scottish monks, "Marianus", "Iohannus", and "Candidus", took up their abode at the little Church of Weih-St-Peter at Ratisbon. Their number soon increased and a larger monastery was built for them (about 1090) by Burgrave Otto of Ratisbon and his brother Henry. This became the famous Scottish Monastery of St. Jacob at Ratisbon, the mother-house of a series of other Schottenklöster. It founded the Abbeys of St. Jacob at Würzburg(about 1134), St. Aegidius at Nuremberg(1140), St. Jacob at Constance(1142), Our Blessed Lady at Vienna(1158), St. Nicolas at Memmingen(1168), Holy Cross at Eichstätt(1194), and the Priory of Kelheim(1231). These, together with the Abbey of St. Jacob at Erfurt(1036), and the Priory of Weih-St-Peter at Ratisbon formed the famous congregation of the German Schottenklöster which was erected by Innocent IIIin 1215, with the Abbot of St. Jacob at Ratisbon as abbot-general.
14th century onwards
In the 14th and 15th centuries most of these monasteries were on the decline, partly for want of Scottish or Irish monks, partly on account of great laxity of discipline and financial difficulties. In consequence, the abbeys of
Nurembergand Viennawere withdrawn from the Scottish congregation and repeopled by German monks in 1418. The Abbey of St. Jacob, Würzburgwas left without any monks after the death of Abbot Philip in 1497. It was then re-peopled by German monks and in 1506 joined the congregation of Bursfeld. In 1595, however, it was restored to the Scottish congregation and continued to be occupied by Scottish monks until its suppression in 1803. The abbey of Constance began to decline in the first half of the 15th century and was suppressed in 1530. That of Memmingen also disappeared during the early period of the Protestant Reformation. The Abbey of Holy Cross at Eichstatt seems to have ceased early in the fourteenth century. In consequence of the Protestant Reformationin Scotland many Scottish Benedictines left their country and took refuge in the Schottenklöster of Germany during the 16th century. The Scottish monasteries in Ratisbon, Erfurt, and Würzburg again began to flourish temporarily, but all endeavors to regain the monasteries of Nuremberg, Vienna, and Constance for monks of Scottish nationality were useless.
In 1692 Abbot Placidus Flemming of Ratisbon reorganized the Scottish congregation which now comprised the monasteries of Ratisbon, Erfurt, and Würzburg, the only remaining Schottenklöster in Germany. He also erected a seminary in connection with the monastery at Ratisbon. But the forced secularization of monasteries in 1803 put an end to the Scottish abbeys of Erfurt and Würzburg, leaving St. Jacob's at Ratisbon as the only surviving Schottenkloster in Germany. Though since 1827 this monastery was again permitted to accept novices, the number of its monks dwindled down to two capitulars in 1862. There being no hope of any increase,
Pope Pius IXsuppressed this last Schottenkloster in his brief of 2 September, 1862. Its revenues were distributed between the diocesan seminary of Ratisbon and the Scotch College at Rome.
*Frank Shaw (ed.), "Karl der Große und die Schottischen Heiligen. Nach der Handschrift Harley 3971 der Britischen Bibliothek London", Deutsche Texte des Mittelalters LXXI, Berlin (DDR),
Scots Monastery, Regensburg
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13589b.htm Original Catholic Encyclopedia text of this article]
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