5. First monastery foundations
On the way to state church
Up to 200 AD Christianity had spread from Aquilea, through soldiers, traders, merchants and slaves to the Danube, had victoriously penetrated the educated social class in the Roman cities of Noricum. Emperor Constantine granted freedom of belief for Christianity (Tolerance Decree 313 AD). Emperor Theodosius raised in 340 AD Roman Catholic faith as the state religion and banned Arianism (denial of the divinity of Jesus) and paganism. Small houses of worship were immediately built out of wood or using old Roman buildings in front of the fortresses, in all cities, towns and pagan places of worship in Noricum. (The place name “-kirchen” often points to this.)
Since Traunkirchen with the Johannesberg, formerly known as Othinstein, has an old cultic place, early Christian church construction is suspected, possibly even in today's monastery area.
Even the Christian civil servant Severin found a church organized according to the image of the imperial, Roman administration.
An ecclesiastical province was led by a metropolitan based in the provincial capital in all religious and economic matters. It was devided in dioceses under the rule of a bishop, since the 4th century of archbishops. The clergy (priests and deacons) missionized and looked after the people, the faithful in the castles and villages.
Missio and consolidation of rule
Monastic life, as renunciation of all profane things, was seen as a perfect religious life. The early monasteries from the 4th century, also corresponded to this ideal. The founders of monasteries in the 7th and 8th century, kings (imperial monasteries), bishops, later the nobility (house and self-owned monasteries) saw themselves as mediators and guardians of religion, as fighters against evil, and founded many monasteries and nunneries to spread Christianity to defend, but also to consolidate their own rule.
Agilolfingian foundings of monasteries until 788 AD
The Bavarians themselves were finally converted to Christianity under Duke Theodo (696 - 718). Dukes brought male and femal Benedictines and covered the whole country from strategic points of view with richly equipped own monasteries. Mondsee (Odilo 748), Kremsmünster (Tassilo III. 777), Trunseo (760), St. Florian and others. Tassilo III was convicted on the Reichstag in 788 AD exiled to a monastery for life. His monasteries came into the possession of the empire and were run as monasteries or were given to so-called “Gaugrafen” (Earls of the “Gau”-Area), in our area called “Traungaugrafen”.
© E. Rumpf, R. Hofbauer; Translation: XiBIT Infoguide GmbH