Mosbach Abbey was a Benedictine monastery, later a monastery of Augustinian Canons. As part of the systematic Carolingian Christianisation of this part of Germany, a number of monasteries were set up, covering between them the whole region of the Odenwald: Amorbach, Lorsch and Fulda, all founded in the 8th century, and Mosbach, the southernmost and least documented. It is first mentioned in a reference in the records of Reichenau Abbey in 825, but in the context of the other monastic foundations in the Odenwald, it seems likely that it was also founded in the previous century. The next record of it is in 976, when Emperor Otto II granted it to Worms Cathedral chapter as a private episcopal monastery. In about 1000, it was changed from a Benedictine house to one of canons regular. In 1268 however the abbey regained its independence with the re-grant of the right to elect its own abbots.
In 1308 the present Saint Juliana's church was built to replace the earlier abbey church. In 1556 in the course of the Reformation the Elector Palatine Otto-Heinrich abolished Roman Catholic services and made the abbey church the town's Protestant parish church. The former Catholic parish church of Saint Cecilia's was thus rendered superfluous and was demolished. Otto-Heinrich dissolved the abbey itself in 1564, of which virtually nothing remains except the church.
During the course of the 17th century the need for a Catholic church re-emerged, however, and in 1708 Saint Juliana's was partitioned to allow both Protestants and Catholics to use the same building for worship as a simultaneum: the Protestants have the former nave and the Catholics the former chancel. Their congregations form part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Freiburg and the United Protestant Church in Baden, respectively.
In 1688 a community of Franciscans settled here and established a friary on a new site further out of the town centre. The friary was dissolved in 1808 during the secularisation in Baden, and the buildings were reused for administrative and local government purposes. The friary garden however has recently been re-developed as a herb garden, in connection with the local Herb Market.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.