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Freckenhorst - St. Bonifatius | by Martin M. Miles
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Freckenhorst - St. Bonifatius

A monastery was founded here by some Everward and his wife Geva around 854 as a house of secular canonesses, unmarried daughters of the saxonian nobility. Everhard and his wife Geva are only known from a legend, that was written down in the 15th century - and is very similar to many "foundation legends" of monasteries. There are parallels to the abbey in Gandersheim, - only a few years younger - and as well a secular house for noble unmarried ladies.

 

Historian Dr. Wilhelm Kohl published some details in 1979, that connect Freckenhorst to the south of France!

 

In 860 relics of "Bonifacii et Maximii" and "Eonii atque Antonii" were given to the new monastery by bishop Luidberts of Muenster.

Aenius was archbishop of Arles 492-502, Antonius was bishop of Carpentras 463-473. Maximus was bishop in Riez and later abbot in Lerins and a bishop named Bonifatius is known in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux within the 5th century.

 

How did they all together travel to Freckenhorst? According to Dr. Kohl, Charles the Bald, Louis the German and Lothair I met in Koblenz in 860. Lothair and his entourage were just returning from Burgundy, that stretched far south in the 9th century. As the of "Bonifacii et Maximii" and "Eonii atque Antonii". Danes/Normans were threating to loot every abbey, town and village in southern France (what they actually did), the most valuable treasures (the relics) were transferred north - and so ended in that young monastery in Freckenhorst.

 

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The abbey existed upto 1812, and during centuries had a very colourful history. In 1473 all members of the convent got excommunicated due to a lawsuit. After Luther´s reformation the canonesses favoured to be "Lutherians" in future, so that some Anabaptists of the Muenster rebellion could find a secret asylum here, until bishop Franz of Waldeck found out, three years after the rebellion had ended in nearby Muenster. Catholicism returned finally to Freckenhorst during the 17th century.

 

In 1116 the collegiate, the church and the village burnt down - and a new church was constructed after that.

This is the church seen here. It got consecrated in june 1129 by Egbert, bishop in Muenster, a relative of and advisor to Lothair III.

 

Standing within the 13th century-cloister. The church is constructed in the basilica style. Here to be seen is the transept and the two towers on the sides of the rectangular choir, that originally was semicircular.

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More details can be found in:

 

Kirche und Stift Freckenhorst,

Jubilaeumsschrift zur 850. Wiederkehr des Weihetages der Stiftskirche am 04. Juni 1979, Warendorf 1979

 

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Taken in January 2011