Community ID
Modern Location
In the governmental district of Unterfranken.
Corporate Status
Blessed Virgin Mary
Date Founded
Date Terminated
Religious Order
Benedictine (by the eleventh century)
Benedictine (by the eleventh century)
Foundation Information

This community was founded in the mid-eighth century as a chapter of canonesses. In the beginning of the eleventh century (after 1007) the foundation was renewed or reformed(?) as a Benedictine abbey. The convent was reputedly founded by Boniface as part of his missionary activity among the Germans. According to Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., it was among the first female houses founded by Boniface in Germany (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 526). The convent of Lioba may have suffered from decline (as many other houses founded by Boniface did), resulting in its renewal in the eleventh century. In 828 King Ludwig decreed the reform of the convent by the bishop (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 561). Under the abbecy of Bertha (III) (c. 1108) Bishop Heinrich allowed the nuns to eat meat as well as change their habits from white to black. During this period the convent had grown lax and Bishop Otto of Bamberg reestablished order within the community (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 561).

First Members

S. Leoba was one of the first members of the community (see Life of Leoba.) She is credited with the miracle of stopping a fire and saving the convent from burning to the ground. On another occasion she is credited with a healing miracle whereby she cures a sick nun who was believed already dead (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 532-533). Others mentioned among the founding members of the community are Williswind, Agathe, Eoliba, and Nana. It is unknown whether the earliest members of the community came from England or from among the Franks.

Notable Heads

S. Leoba; S. Thekla; S. Adelheid; Rothburga (c. 766); Bertha (I); Sophie; Alberadis; Kize; Bertha (II)1022; Bertha (III) 1108; Imma (Hemma) 1139; Sophie of Neuburg, 1154; Bertha (IV), daughter of Count Rappoto of Abenberg, 1171. Mechtildis, Countess of Meran and Diezen or Andechs, became abbess in 1214 and held this position for forty years. She was the mother (and fellow sister) of S. Elizabeth of Thüringen and her brother Eckbert was the bishop of Bamberg. In 1254 Sophia, the daughter of Elizabeth of Thüringen born in 1227, became abbess of the convent. She had been raised in the convent as well. In 1271 Euphemia or Ofimia succeeded as the next abbess of the convent; followed by Mechtild, 1304; B. von brunecke, 1312; Richza, 1315; Gertraud, 1327; Gisela, 1337; Kunigund of Geich, 1355; Adelheid of Brunecke, 1357; Anna, 1360; Christine of Grumbach, 1363; Katharina, 1385; Hedwig of Hoffwert, 1386; Sophia of Hohenberg, 1402; Anna of Bickenbach, 1416 (she was appointed by the bishop as the nuns failed to elect their own abbess by the appointed time); Magdalene, 1428; Barbara, countess of Castell, 1435; and Margaretha Schenk, 1444. In 1466 Margaretha of Hirsberg was appointed as abbess of the convent by Margrave Albert according to a papal order. In this disputed election, Sabina Schenk of Erbach was also elected (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 563). She was followed by Abbess Magdalena of Leonrod, 1474; Margarethe Truchfeß (?) of Baldersheim, 1492; Elisabeth of Finsterloh, 1520; Katharina of Fronhofen in 1522; Amalia from the family of Kolben from 1529-1541; and Veronika Hund of Saulheim from 1542-1544.

Priveleges & Papal Exemptions

Popes Gregory IX and Innocent IV took the convent under their protection in the thirteenth century.

Dependent Communities

According to Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., nuns from the convent of Kitzingen also dwelled in a cell a quarter-hour from the village of Kaltensondheim. The nuns were supported in food and other materials from the convent (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 611). (The existence of this cell requires further verification).

Other Ecclesiastical Relations

The convent perhaps had ties with another, Bischofsheim, which was likely destroyed by the Saxons (? although it was not dissolved until 1802?). Abbess Sophie of Neuburg turned to Abbess Hildegard Rupertsberg to aid in the reformation of Kitzingen. Abbess Hildegard sent her a mystical work and in 1156 visited the convent herself, where she gave a sermon in the marketplace (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 562).


In the eighth century Habbert and Hraud of Geldersheim divided their property in half, donating half to Fulda and the other half to Kitzingen (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 560). At the request of the Counts of Henneberg and Castell, the abbess was permitted to enjoy the income of the convent's parishes for two years, since the convent had suffered economically from wars (in the mid-thirteenth century).

Secular Political Affiliations

Abbess Sophie of Neuburg was taken into the protection of King Konrad III against renegade knights. King Friedrich I attempted to bring better order to the convent in the mid-twelfth century along with the bishops of Bamberg and Würzburg. In 1180 Abbess Bertha (IV) appeared before King Friedrich to emplore his protection of the convent. King Heinrich granted the convent his protection.

Relative Wealth

At the request of the Counts of Henneberg and Castell, the abbess was permitted to enjoy the income of the convent's parishes for two years, since the convent had suffered economically from wars (in the mid-thirteenth century). The parish of Kitzingen was incorporated into the convent at this time (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 562). In 1284 Pope Martin IV ordered the provost of Bamberg to secure the convent's alienated property for the convent again. It is likely this property was alienated under the protectorate of Friedrich of Hohenlohe.


In 1344 Kitzingen received patronage rights over the parish church of Darstadt.


In 1345 a hospital was reestablished in conjunction with (?) the convent. In addition to the sisters within the convent, there were hospital sisters. A few of the recorded hospital sisters are: Kunigunde of Giechen, Adelheid of Bruneck, Elisabeth of Bruneck, Kunigunde of Steyne, Agnes of Paris, Christine of Wiesenthau, Margareth of Strytberg, Adelheid of Wundeck, Elsbeth of Frankenstein, and Anna of Heydeck (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 564).

Art & Artifacts

The likeness of Abbess Magdalena of Leonrod (1474) once existed in the cloister.

Architecture & Archaeology

In 1484 the convent was almost completely destroyed by fire.

Manuscript Sources

The Library in Trivulz. in Milan contains a twelfth-century Breviary from this community, #263 (Cat. Nr. 47). The Staatsarchiv in Würzburg contains a Sal-und-Gültbuch, from the fifteenth century, #Standbuch 198; a manuscript on the Reformation of the convent,(circa 1493), #Standbuch 200; and an Altes Salbuch (15th c.), #Standbuch 202. The University Library in Würzburg contains three works from this community: a Collectanea (15th c.), #M. ch.f. 84; a Gült- u. Zinsbuch (c. 1510), M. p. misc. f. 20; and a Zins- u. Gültbuch, (16th c.), #M. p. misc. q.4.

Published Primary Sources
Miscellaneous Information

Circa 1360 Bishop Albert ordered the nuns of Kitzingen to restore the administrative duties, which they had taken away from Abbess Anna, under the threat of excommunication (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg.,563. The convent had the privilege of granting criminals protection within its walls (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg.,564. In 1544 the convent was transformed into an evangelical women's chapter by the Margrave of Brandenburg.

Manuscripts Produced

According to Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., during the abbecy of S. Thekla the convent engaged in the production of books, although no formal documentation of this activity exists. Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg. also speculates that the convent had a library (Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg., 550-551).

June Mecham
Contributors Notes

The history of this convent appears rather sketchy and requires further verification. Several of the manuscript sources held in Würzburg contain economic information from this house.

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