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Disibodenberg Cloister

In the seventh century, an apostle from Ireland named Disibod travelled through France to Germany. As the story goes, he received a prophesy that he would build a hut there. He would plant his walking stick into the ground there and it would grow and flourish. He and his friends moved from place to place preaching. Disibod became older and older, and there was no sign of the prophesy being fulfilled. One day, as he arrived at the place where the Nahe and the Glan come together, the old prophet knelt on the grass and prayed. His walking stick, which was stuck into the ground near him, immediately started sprouting green. A white deer came out of the woods and grazed where a spring of clear water rippled through the grass. Disibod stood up and called out: "This is the holy place, let us build our huts here!" From this small settlement, the Disibodenberg monastery was later built and this played a great role in the development of the Nahe valley over the following centuries.

Apart from this legend, there is very little source material covering the history of the Disibodenberg. This much is known, however, around the year 675, the Irish monk Disibod settled in the former Celtic and Roman cult site of Disibodenberg, along with his three companions Gisbald, Clemens and Sallust. The archbishop Willigis of Mainz, (975-1011), awarded important lands to the abbey and promoted expansion and building of the Augustinian monastery there. In the year 1098 the Benedictines took it over. Under the abbot Kuno, it was extensively expanded. The most important part of this being the building of a basilica with three naves and a cloister. It was completed in 1143. There has been a women's hermitage since the year 1112, from where the abbess Hildegard von Bingen emerged. The monastery was taken over in 1259 by the Cistercian order and it prospered. During this era, it came into the ownership of the parish of Bad Sobernheim.

The monastery was plundered and partially destroyed in 1504 during the Pfälzisch-Zweibrücken war. It was finally abandoned in 1560. Starting at around 1790, it served as a source of stone for building in the nearby villages. Archaeological excavations and conservation work began in 1985. The "Scivias" foundation was established in 1989 for its upkeep. The name "Scivias" (Latin: "know the right track") has been chosen in recognition of Hildegard von Bingen's most famous book "Visions" that is still fascinating today.

Literature: Günther Stanzl, Die Klosterruine Disibodenberg; Forschungsberichte zur Denkmalpflege Rheinland-Pfalz, Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 1992
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