Marmoutier abbey is doubtless one of the oldest in Alsace.
According to legend, it was founded in the 6th century by an Irish monk,
Leobard, a disciple of Saint Colomban, on a stretch of land donated by King
Childebert, in around 589. The monastery took the name of its founder,
Throughout its history, the abbey has known alternating periods of decline
and prosperity. Destroyed by fire on a number of occasions (670, 717, 827,
950, ...), it always rose from its ruins until its confiscation in 1792.
In the 8th century, the monastery enjoyed a veritable boom under the abbacy
of Saint Maur, which introduced the Benedictine order and gave it its name:
The abbey became a religious seigneury, the economic, political and
administrative centre of a vast area of more than 80 towns and villages,
called the March of Aquilée.
In 816, Benoît d'Aniane directed the monastery for 10 months and
wrote the current Benedictine order there.
Thanks to the introduction of these new rules, it guaranteed it a spiritual
and religious influence without precedent.
As of the 13th century, local barons such as the Geroldsecks gradually
monopolised power and land ownership. Up to the end of the 17th
century, the convent underwent a period of decadence.
In around 1705, thanks to the bishop of Strasbourg,
François Egon de Furstenberg, the abbey regained a large part of its
original possessions. Abbots Anselme Moser and Placide Schweighaeuser
reconstructed the monastery and ushered in a new era of prosperity.
By suppressing the monastic establishment, the French Revolution put an end
to the abbey and took all of its assets into state ownership.