Rupertsberg
Community ID
 
1441
 
Alternate Names
 
Rupertsberg bei Bingen, Conventus Beatae Mariae Virginis
 
Town
 
Bingen
 
Diocese
 
Mainz
 
Medieval Location
 
Bingen
 
Modern Location
 
Bingen
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary; S. Martin (a lesser patron of the church at Rupertsberg); S. Rupert; S. Hildegard
 
Date Founded
 
1147
 
Date Terminated
 
1803
 
Religious Order
 
Augustinian (1147-1165); Benedictine (1165-1215); Cistercian (1215-1803)
 
Rule
 
Augustinian until 1165; Benedictine since 1165
 
Foundation Information
 

The convent of Rupertsberg by Bingen was founded in 1147 by S. Hildegard, abbess of Disibodenberg. In 1150 S. Hildegard and eighteen noble sisters moved into the convent. In 1152 the archbishop of mainz consecrated the main altar of the church to S. Mary, the apostles Philip and Jacob, Rupert, and Martin. According to Sigrid Krämer, this community began as an Augustinian double house founded at Disibodenberg. It lasted as such until 1165 at which time it became a Benedictine convent of Rupertsberg. It remained a Benedictine convent from 1165-1215. It then switched to a community of Cistercian nuns, which lasted from 1215-1632. The community was transferred in 1632 to Eibingen, where it remained until its final dissolution in 1803.

 
First Members
 

Hildegard and eighteen sisters from the convent of Disibodenberg.

 
Notable Heads
 

S. Hildegard dwelled in this convent for the remainder of her life. On September 17, 1179 she died in this convent. (Her bones have resided since 1642 in the parish church at Eibingen). Domina Elisa, depicted in the Rupertsberg antependium, served as abbess of the community since 1210. Circa 1233 the names of some of the women in the community are known: Abbess Elisa; her sister, Agnes, who served as prioress; Beatrix, the sexton; Odilia, the cellaress; Sophia, a singer; and Guda, a nun. Thus from the nuns depicted in the antependium, Elisa, Agnes, Sophia, and Guda find documentary mention as late as 1233 (Wilckens, 7).

 
Population Counts
 

Circa 1210-1230 there were fifteen nuns, ten of whom are named. (See Art/Artifacts field) All the nuns named on the Rupertsberg antependium (except for the two Idas) appear in the Rupertsberg documents, the oldest necrology, or the Protocollum canonisationis B. Hildegardis (Wienand, 162).

 
Other Ecclesiastical Relations
 

The convent has ties to Disibodenberg and Eibingen through S. Hildegard.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

Siegfried II von Eppstein, archbishop of Mainz, served as protector of the cloister. Agnes, Duchess of Nancy and Lothringia, was a patron of the convent.

 
Art & Artifacts
 

The convent is famous for its antependium, made between 1210 and 1230 by the nuns of the convent from costly purple silk with gold, silver and silk embroidery. In fact, Leonie von Wilckens suggests that the purple silk may have come to the convent via plundering in Constantinople during the fourth Crusade (circa 1204) and been given to the community as a gift. Originally, all the halos and the cross of the church held by S. Hildegard were decorated with pearls (Wilckens, 3). The antependium depicts Christ on his heavenly throne in the midst of an oval wound; he raises three fingers of his right hand in blessing and holds a book in the left. The sun and the moon, depicted as heads, and the alpha and omega, as well as eleven stars of various size surround him. From the four sides of the surrounding oval peer the symbols of the evangelists. He is also surrounded on the right-hand side by S. Mary and S. Peter, S. John the Baptist, and Mary Magdalene (depicted below) and on the left-hand side by S. Rupertus and S. Hildegard, S. Martin, and the abbess Adelheid (depicted below). Hildegard is dressed in her habit; she holds a model of the church in her right hand and a book in her left (Wilckens, 6-7). Below Christ's feet are the figures of Siegfried II von Eppstein, archbishop of Mainz and protector of the cloister, and Agnes, Duchess of Nancy and Lothringia, a patron of the convent (Wienand, 161-2). Three other secular donors(?) are depicted and named as Godefridus, Conradus, and (an unnamed) youth. The bottom portion of the antependium is unique in that it depicts ten nuns with their hands raised in prayer to Christ, accompanied by their names. The names read from left to right: Guda, Sophia, Ida, Agnes, D(om)ina Elisa(b), Ida, Sophia, Mechtild, Adelheidis, and Gertrudis. Domina Elisa served as abbess of the community since 1210. It is assumed that they produced the textile. All the nuns named on the Rupertsberg antependium (except for the two Idas) appear in the Rupertsberg documents, the oldest necrology, or the Protocollum canonisationis B. Hildegardis (Wienand, 162). This piece is one of the few surviving examples of textile art from the medieval Rhineland area. The work is housed in the Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire in Brussels and measures approximately 96.5 centimeters high and 230 centimeters in width. Originally the tapestry may have been slightly larger; it appears that a few centimeters have been lost due to the effects of time (Wilckens, 3). On the basis of its size and the saints depicted, it is assumed that the antependium was intended for the high altar of the convent church at Rupertsberg (Wilckens, 7).

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

The convent was built in the Ottonian style (see present state of medieval structures).

 
State Of Medieval Structure
 

The medieval convent is not still standing. It was destroyed in the Thirty Years War. See NULL In the exhibit-rooms of the Wuerth in the city of Bingerbrueck stand five arcades from the main trancept of the church of Rupertsberg. The wine cellars of the convent are still visible.

 
Manuscript Sources
 

The Landeshauptarchiv in Koblenz preserves manuscripts pertaining to the convent's foundation, #Abt. 701 A VII 3, nr. 5 and 8 Hss., from the 13-18th century, Ausfeld, 119. The Vatican contains a copy of Hildegard's Scivias from the convent, #Vat. Pal. lat. 311. Two other copies reside in the Landesbibliothek in Wiesbaden, # 1 (missing since 1945) and 2, from the Georgsklause, s. d. The Staatsarchiv of Wiesbaden also contains a copy of the necrology from the convent, # 23 II nr. 7. Copies of works of Hildegard of Bingen, which possibly belonged to this convent, are found in London at the British Library, #Add. 15102, and at the Bibliotheque Statale in Lucca, # 1942. A miscellany believed to belong to this convent is held in the Staatsbibliothek in Munich, # Clm 935.

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

Two pictures of the convent of Rupertsberg, one from the time of the Thirty Years War and one from the nineteenth century, as well as additional information about the convent can be found on Dr. Josef Krasenbrink's website http://www.uni-mainz.de/~horst/hildegard/wirk/erupert.html In 1632 the convent was destroyed by Swedish troops, and in 1641 the nuns moved (with their relics) to Eibingen.

 
Manuscripts Produced
 

Several works belonging (or believed to belong) to this convent's library are still extant. The foundation documents are preserved in Koblenz; copies of works by Hildegard of Bingen are held in London and Lucca, which date to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; Munich contains a miscellany from the convent dating from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In addition, two copies of Hildegard's Scivias are preserved in the Vatican and at the regional library in Wiesbaden. The Staatsarchiv in Wiesbaden preserves the convent's necrology, dating from the twelfth century. (see manuscript sources)

 
Admin. Notes
 

Possible to get picture of Antependium?
link to pages on Hildegard??

 
Contributors
 
June Mecham
 
Contributors Notes
 

While the monastery that S. Hildegard founded in Eibingen no longer survives, there is a small parish church of Eibingen which has a richly decorated shrine with her remains. The university of Mainz maintains a website which allows one to follow the path of art and artifacts relating to the life of S. Hildegard in Bingen. The site is in German at http://www.uni-mainz.de/~horst/hildegard/spuren/spuren.html
More research necessary

 
Date Started
 
1147
 
Date Finished
 
1803
 
Length
 
4026