Private churches become parishes
Communities of believers around churches with property were organized by the church even before monasteries were founded. The economic basis of a parish was the donation by the founders. The teaching of the faith and the fullfilling of divine service were done by secular priests. These were proposed by the landowners and appointed by the bishop. They were supported by auxiliary priests and chaplains. The patronage right granted the property owning monasteries income from the parishes. Associated with this was the right to appoint priests who had to pay tribute to the monastery.
Parishes of the monastic patronage
The original area of the parish of Traunkirchen may have reached from the Atweng (meadow of the Ata) to the church, to the Langbath stream, on the south side of the Sonnstein mountain to Ebensee. Due to the growing ownership of the monastery north and south of Lake Traunsee, a monastic parish network of mother and daughter parishes with branch churches in the upper Salzkammergut to Aussee and north of Lake Traunsee to Lake Attersee developed. The parishes of Goisern, Hallstatt, Aussee, Traunkirchen, Pinsdorf and Nußdorf am Attersee and others were supervised by the monastery.
Abbesses acquire rights and benefices
The right to appoint the priest was originally reserved for the Wilhelms, then the Otakars as church owners, and was to be requested from the Archbishop of Salzburg. Duke Otakar IV handed 1181 to the abbess Diemund this right of petition and the associated administrative rights of the parishes in Traunkirchen. He also determined that at least two priests should serve there. The parish came under the protection and control of the monastery, but remained in the ducal possession and episcopal sphere of influence.
Shortly after the parish was granted patronage, the sovereign Babenbergs (1192 – 1246) wanted to enforce their own priests and to bring the benefices of the parish back into possession.
The abbess Elisabeth von Pollheim (1247 – 1262) prevailed after the death of Duke Friedrich II and exercised the patronage right of the monastery again.
Abbess Elisabeth II von Pollheim (around 1332 – 1341) and her predecessor Kunigunde von Kirchberg (1305 – after 1325) were able to incorporate the parishes into the monastery after renewed disputes with the Habsburg following. In 1332, Bishop Albert von Passau justified the incorporation with the damage caused by the fire in 1327, and with the disregard of the presence of the vicar. An “eternal vicar”, proposed by the abbess to the bishop, now headed the parish and received an annual benefit of the parish income of the monastery. The rest of the parish income went to the monastery women for clothing and livelihood. The yield of this parish fief was very rich, in 1436 it was indicated with 140 gold guilders. The struggle continued.
Annuity instead of parish income
In 1428, Johann von Ebersdorf, the "disputatius", arranged himself with the monastery and received the parish. From the prelature of Abbess Barbara I Stadlerin (1429 – 1462), the monastery received 32 pounds of Viennese pennies annually from the parish income.
The main beneficiaries of the parish benefices had now become episcopal and ducal favorites. They often challenged the payments to the monastery and did not pay them. Abbess Barbara asked the Pope for help and received confirmation from him that the annuity was legal in 1437. The souvereign also confirmed the rights of the convent at regular intervals.
© E. Rumpf, R. Hofbauer; Translation: XiBIT Infoguide GmbH