Community ID
Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt)
Medieval Location
near Magdeburg
Modern Location
near Magdeburg
Date Founded
Religious Order
Foundation Information

In 950 Margrave Gero founded this Benedictine house on property that he possessed. In 961 the community was transformed from a male Benedictine house into a chapter of canonesses.

Dependency Of

The communities of Gernrode and Frose inherited all of Margrave Gero's possessions and holdings at his death.

Social Characteristics

In Gernrode and Frose the canonesses' privelege of eating meat and cheese was recorded in a document issued by Emperor Otto II. Otto II also permitted the women of Frose to live in their own dwellings. A copy of Otto II's decree from 961 reads: "Et sicut ab antecessoribus nostris eis est constitutum, sic concediums et firmiter stabilimus, ut habeant proprias mansiones et albis vestibus induantur..." Such privileges indicate the canonesses' aristocratic origins. White habits (albis vestibus) were worn by the women at Frose and probably were also worn by the canonesses at Gernrode.

Relative Wealth

Gernrode and Frose were among the richest land holders in the Eastern Harz region.


After Gero's death, the communities of Gernrode and Frose inherited all his possessions and holdings. Circa 1200 the community of Gernrode drew up a manuscript listing all its rights of ownership, dependencies, and holdings. According to this manuscript 24 entire villages, 21 churches, and nearly 400 hides of land belonged to the communities of Gernrode and Frose. Although the manuscript is a forgery (it purports to be a document issued by Margrave Gero in 964), it was accepted and strengthened by Pope Innocent III and was accepted as the truth thereafter. Although the manuscript does not record Gero's original bequest, it does reflect the communities' holdings circa 1200. At the height of their wealth, the communities of Frose and Gernrode held approximately 1,000 hides of land (11,000 hectares), comprising woodland, vineyards, fish ponds, and grazing.

Architecture & Archaeology

A Romanesque church built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries was used by the canonesses.

State Of Medieval Structure

The chapter church from the community of Frose still exists.

Manuscript Sources

Documents pertaining to Frose and Gernrode are preserved in the archive for Anhalt (Anhaltisches Gesamtarchiv).

June Mecham
Contributors Notes

See also the website for Gernrode

Date Started