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Was there a German Renaissance?

by Martin Ederer A denarius of Charlemagne. Plaque with the Christ receiving from the 900s into the early 1000s. sance? Actually there were two.
the Magdeburg cathedral from They wisely decided to use cultur- And they at least made the Italian
Most of us are well familiar Charlemagne’s efforts defined Emperor Otto I. al initiatives to control otherwise Renaissance more possible. It
with at least some of the the ideals (he invented the con- fractious German nobility. bears mention that the Italian hu-
images and personalities of the cept, actually) of medieval West- became known as the Code of manist and poet regarded as one of
Italian Renaissance: Michelange- ern Europe by standardizing both Canon Law. Monks following The arts and literature flour- the intellectual fathers of Italian
lo’s David. The Mona Lisa. St. culture and religious practices. In Charlemagne’s orders started ished as Otto III, whose mother Renaissance humanism, Francesco
Peter’s Basilica. The entire city of the process the Carolingian Re- making copies of any ancient text was a Byzantine princess, moved Petrarcha, got his inspiration after
Florence. Leonardo da Vinci. Ma- naissance put a Germanic spin on they could lay their hands on. his court to Rome in order to re- finding long-neglected works of
chiavelli. the classical heritage that Western mind Western Europe of the im- Roman writers buried in northern
Europe had inherited. In architec- Some historians have estimat- portance of its Greek and Roman monasteries. And then the Italian
Historians have actually identi- ture Roman arches were elongated ed that 90% of Greek and Roman heritage and to show that the Renaissance in turn shaped north-
fied three other Renaissances that and proportionalities became more literature that we still have would dream of the restoration of the ern thought, some of which would
predated THE Renaissance. Argu- vertical. Architecture at Aachen, have been lost had it not been for western half of the Roman Empire influence the Reformation in all its
ably, there might have been no the city the Carolingians estab- the efforts of the monasteries dur- had been realized (well…it hadn’t aspects.
Italian Renaissance had there not lished as their capital, emulated ing the Carolingian Renaissance. really). But the cultural awakening
been the others. They are (in Roman and Byzantine architecture The monks would also become endured. Travelers in northern Eu- What’s the basic takeaway
chronological order) the Carolin- – again reinterpreted in a distinc- important educators and re-civiliz- rope can still marvel at the Ro- here? Culture matters. Always has.
gian Renaissance (700s-800s); Ot- tively Frankish way. ers of Western Europe. manesque architecture it inspired. Always will. It would be less than
tonian Renaissance (c. 1000); the German to think otherwise!
12th Century Renaissance. The This Renaissance also defined The Ottonian Renaissance: Was there a German Renais-
two earlier of these developed in and standardized western religious This Renaissance is named for the
German Central Europe. The third sensibilities and practices. It laid Ottos: Otto I, Otto II, and Otto III
was French. Let’s look at the two the groundwork for a standard Lat- of the Saxon dynasty which ruled
German Renaissances. in sacramentary and for what later the Holy Roman Empire/Germany

The Carolingian Renais-
sance: This Renaissance reached
its high point with the reign of
Charlemagne (r. 768-814). He was
the first political figure in the West
after the breakup of the Roman
Empire to restore some facsimile
of the western half that had fallen.
A Frank, he was committed to con-
verting his neighbors to Catholic
Christianity and protecting the pa-
pacy, policies which earned him
the title of “Roman Emperor” from
the papacy.

The St. Ann German Mass is ended

by Martin Ederer
The Friends of St. Ann and the St. Ann community have decided to
discontinue their annual German Mass. Their decision has come as the
result of their defeat by Bishop Richard Malone and the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Buffalo, which announced in late 2017 that the St. Ann
community had lost its case at the Apostolic Signatura in Rome. At that
time the diocese also announced its intention to sell the church.
Members of the now-scattered St. Ann community decided that it
was pointless to continue the Mass, especially since the annual Canisius
College Advent German Mass is moving to St. Louis Church in Buffalo.

The St. Ann community began
the German Mass in 2007 when it
was still a parish with an open
church. After the St. Ann commu-
nity was locked out of its church in
2012 the celebration was moved to
St. Louis Church.

Housing one of Buffalo’s most
striking church interiors, St. Ann
Church is still fenced off. The west
tower, which diocesan officials
stated in 2013 faced imminent
structural failure as an explanation
for the lockdown of the church,
shows no obvious further exterior

In the meantime, the diocese
has removed the St. Ann Shrine
altar “for safekeeping” and two
windows have now sustained
weather-related damage.
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