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The Deeds of Wiprecht


Impatient of delay, Wiprecht made known to more prudent men the desire and wish he was incessantly turning over in his mind. It seemed to them that it ought to be done in a certain prominent place, adjacent to the same castle [i.e., Groitzsch], called Nible in antiquity, now Old Groitzsch. But, sensibly, this displeased certain more careful men with more profound advice; they prudently contended that if the castle itself should at some time be surrounded by a siege (as will be clear, this later happened) that place would be a refuge for the enemy and a source of desolation for those staying there. Afterwards it pleased Wiprecht to designate for such a great work a place on this side of the river Elster, adjacent to the village of Pegau, where now a certain village called Wolftitz lies. For that place, quite pleasant and spacious, was then empty on this side of the nearby highway. But because the public highway created an opportunity—even a necessity—for everyone to be passing through frequently, and this would be a loss—even a catastrophe—for those ready to serve God there, that advice was also withdrawn as useless. After Wiprecht had surveyed everything all around with diligent consideration, they looked toward the region west of the village of Pegau at a place chosen for this work—so we believe—by divine agency. It was most fitting but not every part of it lay in his control, for a certain Erpo possessed a castle bordering this place; since he did not possess an heir, he was bound most closely to Wiprecht by both consanguinity and friendship. When Wiprecht had opened his mind to him, Erpo held that he was entirely in agreement with him. And so he donated that place, together with other benefices in Saxony, in order to renounce completely his ownership of it. Consequently, he ordered the place to be levelled, and the defences to be fully removed as well. In the year of the Lord 1091. Divine clemency had led the way by inspiring Wiprecht, and that same clemency also followed after by working together with him. Therefore, because the charity kindled in him by divine agency was not able to be idle, he turned this over in his most wise mind all day and all night by frequent meditation: how might he properly begin the work of his most devout intention and more properly complete it? He judged it fitting to seek advice and comfort from his father-in-law, that is, from King Vratislav of Bohemia; therefore he did not neglect to go see him. Vratislav, joyfully favouring the praiseworthy petition of the man, since he was his son-in-law, put 700 talents into Wiprecht’s hand. The king gladdened him not a little with words and promises that, in view of his help, he should act confidently and establish a work becoming to the honour of God and of St. James with his encouragement and assistance. Having returned, Wiprecht went to the lord Hartwig, archbishop of Magdeburg, entreating and inviting him to give the blessings of foundation and of cemeteries to the place under consideration. He also invited [Bishops] Walram of Zeitz and Albuin of Merseburg to come with him. Meeting together, they discharged the duties of the priestly office. After they had given the blessing, they advised Wiprecht that he should first carry on his own shoulders baskets of stones for the twelve corners of the foundation, the same number as in imitation of the deed of the most pious prince Constantine, who was the first and most powerful among the princes as a founder of Christ’s churches. Wiprecht complied readily. And he kindled so great an ardour in all his men for willing labour that, unlike the foundation of other churches laid by the labour of paid servants, the work surged eagerly from his armed band and from the perseverance of those yielding to them, such that within three years, without any break, it had risen up to the top of the towers. Meanwhile, next to the same work, he established a court for himself (in the place where a hospital is now located), in which he immediately had a chapel to God and the blessed confessor Nicholas constructed. In the year of the Lord 1092. Next, Wiprecht considered it advantageous to seek out some man of a pious way of life, who, joined with brothers, might put the finishing touch on the same work, construct workshops, and most especially introduce the divine office. Going to the monastery called [Münster]Schwarzach, well known to him since it was preeminent in piety, he obtained there the lord Bero and three other brothers, companions in such great labour. To Bero, Wiprecht commended the care of his monastery.
In the year of the Lord 1093. The lord Wiprecht had exhausted nearly everything that his father-in-law, namely King Vratislav of Bohemia, had given to him. So he sent to him again and was not disappointed by the king's usual encouragement. Vratislav sent him another 300 talents toward completing the work that had been started.
In the year of the Lord 1094. In the year of the Lord 1095. The finishing touch was put upon the church of the monastery of Pegau. And by the industry of the lord Bero, who governed that place commended to him and was not lazy in administering it, many workshops were established for the use of the brothers. In the year of the Lord 1096. On the seventh Kalends of August [26 July], the church of the monastery of Pegau was dedicated by the venerable lord Hartwig, Archbishop of Magdeburg, working together with Bishops Albuin of Merseburg, Walram of Zeitz and Hezilo of Havelberg, in the presence of the lord Wiprecht, the founder of the same place, and with very many other nobles and his sons, Wiprecht and Henry, also present.
The celebration of the aforesaid dedication solemnly extended over five days, and the lady Countess Judith, to everyone’s admiration, came forth adorned with garlands of changing design, equally inlaid, one for each of the five days. Therefore, after everything was suitably arranged according to his will, the lord Wiprecht bid farewell to everyone and dismissed the whole assembled crowd. Afterwards, he gave for the adornment of the pulpit crystal and ivory chess pieces with carvings in relief. In the year of the Lord 1097. In the year of the Lord 1098. In the year of the Lord 1099.
In the year of the Lord 1100. The lord Abbot Bero, thus far looking out for this place both as much as he was able and as well as he knew, was finally ready to receive the rewards for his labours and migrated to the Lord. He was buried in the brothers' old chapter hall near the entrance of the church, on the seventh Kalends of January [December 26].