920 - 1184

Around the year 920 the name “Steinfeld” is mentioned for the first time. Count Sibodo of Hochstaden lets transfer the bones of St. Potentinus the Confessor and his two sons Felicius and Simplicius from Carden Moselle to Steinfeld. For this he got permission of the Archbishop Rutger of Trier. There the Count is said to have had a hunting lodge, which he converted into a Benedictine monastery. Wigfried, Archbishop of Cologne (925-953) consecrated this House of God.

Since the religious discipline of the nuns became lax, Archbishop Frederick of Cologne (1100-1131) bought the monastery and called Augustinian canons from the convent Springiersbach County Wittlich to Steinfeld in 1097. An already built chapel to St. Andreas received the rights of a parish church. The foundation charter of Archbishop Friedrich, which regulated the rights and obligations of the monastery, is the oldest preserved document of Steinfeld.

St. Norbert of Xanten founded the Norbertine Order in 1121, which reflects the rule of the Augustinian Canons. A short time later, under the first provost Evervin of Helfenstein (1121-1151), who personally knew the Saints Norbert and Bernard of Clairvaux, the Convent associates itself to the Norbertines (Premonstratensians) around 1138.

This provost was of outstanding importance for Steinfeld Monastery. In 1142 he laid the foundation stone of a new monastery church. In a building time of eight years, the today’s basilica was built as a three-aisled, Romanesque vaulted church. Under Evervin a development of Steinfeld began that brought it to one of the most important monasteries in Germany. It was also him who sent out Confreres from Steinfeld to found new monasterys. Daughter monasteries were in the Netherlands, Ireland and Germany (e.g. Duisburg-Hamborn), but especially in the east. Of particular importance is the foundation of the monastery of Strahov above Prague (1140).

The second provost Ulrich (1152-1170) was guided by the movement of renewal of the Church that came from France and was connected with the places Citeaux, Clairvaux and Prémontré. In 1163 the Blessed Frederick of Mariengarten committed his foundation in Friesland to the monastery Steinfeld. Provost Ulrich also admitted the young Hermann of Cologne, later St. Hermann Joseph, in the Convent. Later on Hermann completed his studies at the Convent Mariengarten.

After the death of the fifth Steinfeld provost in 1184, Steinfeld was promoted to an abbey. Until the abolition during the secularisation in 1802, 44 abbots presided over the monastic community in consecutive order.