Himmelspforten
Community ID
 
2395
 
Alternate Names
 
Coeli Porta
 
Town
 
Würzburg
 
Diocese
 
Würzburg
 
Medieval Location
 
Himmelstadt by Karlstadt; then moved to Schottenau by Würzburg.
 
Modern Location
 
Würzburg; in the governmental district of Unterfanken.
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary; S. John the Evangelist; (today S. Nicholas)
 
Date Founded
 
1231
 
Date Terminated
 
1804, May 5
 
Religious Order
 
Cistercian
 
Rule
 
Benedictine
 
Foundation Information
 

This Cistercian convent was founded by Hermann von Lobdeburg, bishop of Würzburg in 1231. The convent was established initially in Himmelstadt near Karlstadt on the left bank of the Main river and received the name "Coeli porta". The bishop retained the secular rights of patronage as well as the spiritual episcopal rights over the foundation, despite Cistercian proscriptions. He also ensured that the convent had a freedom from advocacy (Krausen, 55). In 1231 the convent was formally assumed within the Cistercian order and placed under the authority of the abbot of Ebrach. There was a constant dispute between the bishops of Würzburg and the abbots of Ebrach over visitation rights, investiture and benediction of the abbesses. Most of the convent's father confessors came from the monastery of Ebrach, among them the Chronicler P. Joseph Agricola, who died in Himmelspforten in 1680. In 1251 the convent was moved to Schottenau near Würzburg with the permission of the pope, due to its previous unfavorable location.

 
First Members
 

The first abbess was Gertrud, a sister of the founder.

 
Visitations
 

There are no known visitations for this convent.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

Friederich of Truhendingen acted as a patron of the community.

 
Social Characteristics
 

In addition to daughters of the regional nobility (from the families of Rieneck, Grumbach, and Heidingsfeld), early on Himmelspforten also admitted women from the local bourgeoisie. In 1352 the first non-noble abbess appears, Abbess Elisabeth IV Silberlin. Lay-sisters formed part of the community since the sixteenth century.

 
Assets/Property
 

The increasing expansion of the convent's possessions encouraged the leasing of goods in place of the original self-sufficient state of the convent and led eventually to disputes (Krausen, 55).

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

With the move to Schottenau near Würzburg, a new church was built in the "typical" style for Cistercian women's houses, i.e. with one nave, two stories, and a choir bordering the main nave. The church was consecrated in 1276. A cloister with grave memorials dates from the fourteenth century (Krausen, 55). According to Link, the cloister was completed circa 1300, and money for the construction was raised through collections and the sale of indulgences (Link, 661).

 
State Of Medieval Structure
 

The medieval church is still extant, although it was renovated in the Renaissance style by Abbess Katharina IV. Seubott (1592/1630).

 
Manuscript Sources
 

The archives for the community are located in the Hauptstaatsarchiv in München (Munich) and in the Stadtarchiv in Würzburg as well as in the Julius-hospital archives in Würzburg.

 
Secondary Sources
 

HUEMER, B. Verzeichnis der deutschen Cisterzienserinnenkloester. (StMBO, 37, 1916).
Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg.
Die Klöster des Zisterzienserordens in Bayern

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

In 1297 the bishop and cathedral chapter placed Würzburg under interdict, when the city refused to acknowledge the convent's economic freedoms granted through papal privileges. Along with other female convents, Himmelspforten received a great privilege for protection from King Karl IV in 1360 (Krausen, 55). Abbess Sophie von Grumbach (d. 1526) built a new abbey. In 1847 the cloister was acquired and reinhabited by members of the Reformed Carmelite order.

 
Admin. Notes
 

more research necessary Hist. Staetten, 279. Link refers to the convent as originally a Bernardinerinenkloster (Cistercian?).

 
Contributors
 
June Mecham
 
Date Started
 
1231
 
Date Finished
 
1804
 
Length
 
2628