Gotthard of Hildesheim

The hl. Godehard or Gotthard of Hildesheim (* 960 in Reichersdorf at Niederaltaich, Lower Bavaria, † May 5, 1038 in Hildesheim ) was Bishop of Hildesheim and one of the most important saints of the Middle Ages. The traces of his worship ( naming of churches and villages ) range from Italy and Croatia to Scandinavia. With the St. Gotthard Pass in Switzerland one of the most important Alpine passes and tunnels bears his name.


Godehard was born in 960, according to the legend-like tradition in Reichersdorf ( parish Schwanenkirchen, Diocese of Passau). His father Ratmund was used by Archbishop Frederick of Salzburg as provost of the major Benedictine Niederaltaich. In the local convent school Godehard received his education. He entered the monastery and was favored by Duke Henry ( later Emperor Henry II ), already 996 Abbot, first in Niederaltaich, then - at the same time - in the years 1001/2 in Tegernsee and from 1005 to 1012 in Hersfeld; the Abbey Kremsmuenster 1007 to 1013 he was in charge, which leads him to her list of abbots. At that time went from Cluny from the great reform movement, which asserted Godehard in its monasteries with consistency.

After the death of Bernward Godehard was appointed in 1022 by Emperor Henry II to Bishop of Hildesheim and consecrated by Aribo of Mainz. It was the time of the Saxon emperors, as Hildesheim was one of political and cultural centers of the empire. Godehard continued the construction work of his predecessor continued with energy. Thirty new churches were built in the diocese, in the town of St. Michael's Church was completed, the cathedral received a new Westwerk. By traveling and synods Godehard depth but especially the spiritual life of his diocese. His monastic seriousness, but also his calm serenity left a deep impression and are praised in the sources in many cases. The legends that quickly allied themselves with his name, reflect the force and effect of his personality.

Godehard died on 5 May 1038 he founded Mauritius pen near Hildesheim.

He was canonized in 1131 by Pope Innocent II as the first Old Bavarian. In Hildesheim him the High Romanesque St. Godehard basilica was built in honor. In the cathedral crypt its relics shrine is worshiped. In Niederaltaich St. Mauritius is dedicated to Saint Gotthard altar in the parish and abbey church. The abbey held some used by Gotthard vestments: the Gotthard Casel ( a gift from the Empress Cunegonde, the wife of Henry II ), a cincture, a Pontifikalschuh and his Abtstab.

Godehard is the patron of the Thuringian town of Gotha, in the arms of the bishop is also shown. According to legend, let Godehard in his time as abbot of the monastery of Hersfeld ( the ownership in and around Gotha had ), etc. built the first city wall, make gardens, and built the Church of St. Margaret. To date, the city honors its patron saint with the two-day Gothardusfest which annually on the first weekend in May ( ie Godehard death around) takes place. The traditional school in the Gotthard Gotthard road was closed in 2003 and exists nurmehr by name.

The Abbey Niederaltaich commemorates its important saints, by the monastic school bears the name " St. -Gotthard -Gymnasium ".

Godehard is usually depicted as a bishop with glowing coals in the mantle. The display goes back to a legend, after Godehard in his youth as an altar the smoldering coals to have worn for the censer in his bosom, and this had anything burned.

Life Godehard is described by the Hildesheim Cleric Wolf Lives Here in two.


  • Catholic May 5 ( Non- optional memorial in the regional calendar for the German linguistic area, optional memorial in own calendar of the diocese of Passau)
  • Evangelical 5 May ( Memorial Day in the Protestant calendar name of the Evangelical Church in Germany )


  • Vita Godehardi episcopi Hildenesheimensis auctore Wolf Heri. In: Georg Heinrich Pertz et al (eds): Scriptores ( in folio ) 11: Historiae aevi Salici. Hannover 1854, pp. 162-221 ( Monumenta Historica Germaniae, digitized )
  • Translatio Godehardi episcopi Hildesheimensis. In: Georg Heinrich Pertz et al (eds): Scriptores ( in folio ) 12: Historiae aevi Salici. Hannover 1856, pp. 639-652 ( Monumenta Historica Germaniae, digitized )