History Timeline Part IV
During the Farmers’ Revolt, the Michaelsberg, Frauenberg, Neuenberg and Petersberg monasteries were destroyed. With the help of the Hessian Landgraves, the revolt was crushed.
The old City Hall was expanded.
Prince Abbot Philipp Schenk to Schweinsberg (1541 - 1550) issued an edict, inspired by the theologist Georg Witzel, who is a defender for non-denominationship, for a Reformation Order, which ignored the edict issued by the Second Vatican Council. The progressive ideas were neither popular or continued.
An army commanded by Duke Christoph of Oldenburg plundered Fulda.
With the arrival of the Jesuits in Fulda, who took over the Fransician Church and Monastery, the Counter-Reformation began.
Fulda’s oldest club was founded – the Fulda Shooting Society.
The plague returned to Fulda.
More than 100 men and women were accused of practicing witchcraft, subsequently tortured and burned during the next three years by the Fulda Zentgraf (Church Sheriff), Balthasar Nuß. In 1606 Nuß was charged with crimes against outstanding citizens, and was hanged in 1618.
From this year until 1612, the Abbot Castle was rebuilt in Renaissance Style.
The second oldest newspaper in Germany , the "Fuldaische Postreuther" was published. It appeared until 1630.
The 30 Year War raged. In the following den two decades Fulda would be repeatedly plundered and burnt. Unfortunately most of the famous monastery library fell victim to this violence. The population sank from 6210 inhabitants in the year 1600 to 2780 inhabitants in 1648, when the Westphalia Peace Treaty was finally signed.
Prince Abbot Placidus of Droste (1678 - 1700) was a thrifty man, and was able to scrupulously save money, to save the ecclesiastical kingdom. He made it possible to save enough money for the monastery to erect a number of wonderful Baroque buildings in the 18th century.
Benedictine Abbey St. Maria
In 1626 the Abbey St. Maria was founded in Fulda and is still a Benedictine Abbey today. The abbey church is a plain building with late Gothic and Renaissance elements. Especially worth seeing in the interior where the altar is and where the nun choir is, where you can see the work from the former Mother Superior Lioba Munz, who passed away in 1997.
They also have a shop in the abbey, where you can buy hand-made things that were made by the nuns.
Inside the Palace
"A Bishop's Own Country"
Centuries ago, where the cathedral of Fulda know stands there was once a mighty oak tree. In the 9th century, the native people in the Fulda valley were anything BUT Christian - they were like most of Germany, Heathen, and believed in Wotan instead of the Almighty Father, Freya instead of the Virgin Mary, and Thor instead of Jesus Christ. Their "church" was a stone alter underneath this mighty oak tree.
St. Boniface, who was growing exasperated at preaching an unpopular gospel to a disbelieving public, decided to do something drastic. To prove that God and Christ were stronger than Wotan and Thor, he threatened to chop down Wotan's Holy Oak Tree.
The people were sure that he would be struck dead, but he wasn't.
They used the tree to build the first church in Fulda, where the cathedral stands today.
"Princes of Peace"
Right next to the cathedral is the impressive baroque palace of the Bishop of Fulda, who, incidently no longer lives here.
Ironically, Fulda turned into a city that St. Boniface never envisioned, and may not have approved.
Because St. Boniface is attributed to turning the Germans into Christians, the church became a pilgrimage place, which meant it had to have an abbey to make regular devotions, and an abbot to manage the whole show, and above all, to collect the pilgrim donations. The donations were used to buy more and more land, which had to tended to. The bigger this got, the more interesting this became for Rome, who were also interested in having a share of the donations and earnings made from the sale of agra products. The pope appointed a Bishop - another name for a Catholic King, hence the two crowns in the picture.
"The Unholy World of His Holiness"
Although the Mother Church continued to preach "Peace on Earth" and the "Brotherhood of Man" throughout the centuries, they rarely applied it to themselves. The Bishops of Fulda became increasing land hungry and often confiscated farming property on the grounds of witchcraft, daemon possession or ex-communication.
The episcopate (Bishop's kingdom) soon because the center of jealous neighbouring noblemen's attention, and was often attacked and besieged. This is one reason why Fulda has a baroque cathedral. It was sacked and burned up until the 16th century.
In the middle of the 12th century, Fulda was stricken with a bizarre form of Catholic fanaticism that was only rivalled by the Spanish Inquisition. It suddenly became fashionable to enter monasteries and nunneries. Entire families were consumed with religious fevor and gave up their homes, their marriages, their property to become monks or nuns. After awhile, there was a severe population drop, and Fulda sent missionaries to other places to recruit more people - something which got them in trouble with their neighbours again.
A good book about this period is the book, "Pope Joan" by Donna Woolfolk Cross.
"Opulance Par Course"
The worldly king of the sacral kingdom of Fulda lived in an opulance that boogled even his neighbours. Lavish wall coverings, inlaided parkett flooring, lustrous chandelears from the ceilings.
Although the Americans carried off most of the furnishings to this palace after the 2nd World War, the rooms still ooze a lavishness that couldn't be carted off.
"Fasanerie & Orangerie"
Back in the late 16th century, and nobleman that was worth 2 bits not only had an extensive baroque palace (outside ho-hum; inside oh-mi-god), they had to have an Orangerie and a Fasanerie.
Originally a Fasanerie was nothing more than a wildlife breeding station (e.g. for Pheasants) so that you something to kill during your hunting party trip, to which you invited your friends, rivals and other people you wanted to make jealous of you over for the weekend. The building was for housing wildlife, falcons, hawks, horses, and guest and party rooms.
The Oranerie was originally more or less for raising exotic plants that normally didn't cope in a cold climate, such as oranges, lemons and pineapples. If you didn't impress everybody during your hunting party, dinner was your last chance - the more opulant and exotic, the better.
The Bishop didn't worry too much about the monks who preached poverty and self-denial - it didn't go over which God's personal representative on earth.
The forerunner to the world famous Pope-Mobile is this Bishop-Mobile - a two-door, four slave cab for quick dashes to the market or parading about the masses.
Seriously this was sedan for carrying His Excellency to the church during holy ceremonies so His Holinesses Pure White Satin Slippers didn't dirty or soggy in the rain. It was also used for jogging around with him during Easter and Pentecostal processions.
Although most of the original furnishing were destroyed, carried off or sold after the 2nd World War, there are a number of original period pieces displayed in the palace, such as this wooden wardroom, with inlaid work from a Master Craftsman.
Among other items, they have a large collection of paintings and portaits, tapestries, desks and a large porcelain collection.
One of the true treasures in this museum is it's porcelain figure collection, with more than 500 individual sculptures, dating from the 18th-20th centuries. Some were donated by the Bishop of Fulda, former reception gifts, while many more were donated from private collectors.
If you get the whim of wanting to having one of these figures, there are a number of porcelain and antique shops in Fulda which sell similar figures.