Columban (or Colomba in Latin) the famous monk of Ireland came to the area in 610, but was not successufl in converting the Allemain pagans to new religion, went back to the Island Iona, today Scotland.Iona was a monastic island, well known today for the Book of Kells. Hundred years later, Pirin with whom is bound the simmilar legend like with St Patrick- expulsion of all snakes for the island-was the founder of the abbey in 720, just shortly after St Gallen was founded.
Reichenau once was a monastic island, like Iona, had Benedictine Abbey, big and influential.It had the biggest library in the West. In its scriptorium many illuminated books were created, during the X and XI century it was a largest and most influential center of manuscripts creation, possessing huge library, very famous than, and school of painting. Renowned scholars of the day (among them Strabo) and men of great talent worked and lived there. The style of the manuscripts written and illuminated in the abbey is called Reichenau style. It is characterized by simplicity of design and soft, pastel-like colors.
Click on the link to see an example of illuminated manuscript from Reichenau.
And another example, this time full codex, you can see every single page, in the collection of Walters Art Museum, Reichenau Gospel
And here is the splendid crozier from Reichenau, today at Victoria and Albert Museum in London.The first crown of German emperor was also made here.
And here is Sankt Georg church. Often is seen on pictures surrounded by field of salad or sunflowers, I didn't have such luck.
|Reichenau Abbey, Sankt Georg church, Oberzell, Reichenau Island, Germany|
|Reichenau, Oberzell, St Georg basilica, Ottonian murals|
The name Riechenau means in old German Rich Island, and it was really fitting. In addition precious relics were donated, important thing during those days, among them a crucifix containing blood of Christ, as was there, also the pitcher form wedding of Cana. Any blood relics were very important. Still today in the treasury of St Mary and Marcus church, there are some objects which are preserved, not as much of them as in the times of glory. Pitcher of Can is there, blood relic is in a preserved in the church of Mary, and it is presented in procession Monday after Trinity Sunday ( don't know the day).
|Reichenau, Sankt Georg church, interior with Ottonian murals, by Heidi Fuchs|
Sankt Georg church, murals dating from the times of the Ottonian Renaissance. I apologize for the quality, but the light conditions are not favorable for photography. Could't use flash, by principle, and hate when people do, not good for the ancient paintings.
Here are some grave stones from the St Georg church.
The glory of Reichenau abbey is lost, but what we have left is beautiful anyway!
And in the garden of St Mary and Mrcus church is the plate which honors poet and scholar Walahfrid Strabo, (lived during the first half of the IX c.) mentioning that he wrote the first book about gardening in Germany describing 440 plants for healing and for cooking
Click here to go to UNESCO's description of Reichenau as the world heritage Site
There is another side in Reichenau: holy blood relic. About it tomorrow.