Schottenklöster (meaning Scottish monasteries in German, singular: Schottenkloster) is the name applied to the monastic foundations of Irish and Scottish missionaries in Continental Europe, particularly to the Scottish Benedictine monasteries in Germany, which in the beginning of the 13th century were combined into one congregation whose abbot-general was the Abbot of the Scots monastery at Regensburg.
In the sixth century migrations into what is now Scotland were Ulster clans such as the Airgíalla and the Uí Néill. Among them was Colm Cille of Gartan who, with twelve companions, founded Iona in the early 6th century. Adomnán of Donegal wrote his biography in the early 8th century. As late as the 11th and early 12th century the name Scot or Scotus identified the missionary or traveller as a Gael and thus monks of Irish as well as Scottish origin were commonly both referred to under the same, at the time shared, nomenclature. Marianus Scotus together with is companions was the founder of St. Peter at Regensburg in 1072.
Columbanus from 590 was active in the Frankish Empire, establishing monasteries throughout what is now France and Switzerland until his death at Bobbio in 615. Other Hiberno-Scottish missionaries active at the time, predominantly in Swabia, were Wendelin, Kilian, Arbogast, Landelin, Trudpert, Fridolin, Pirmin (founded Reichenau abbey), Gallus (Abbey of St. Gall), Korbinian, Emmeram and Rupert.
Examples of Hiberno-Scottish monasteries on the continent include the Scots monasteries in Regensburg, Vienna, Erfurt and Würzburg. In Italy, there are the establishments of Columbanus, founder of Luxeuil and Bobbio, and Saints Donatus and Andrew of Tuscany, of Fiesole.
The first Schottenkloster of which we have any knowledge was Säckingen in Baden, founded by the Irish missionary, St. Fridolin, towards the end of the 5th century. The same missionary is said to have founded a Schottenkloster at Konstanz. A century later St. Columbanus arrived on the continent with twelve companions and founded Annegray, Luxeuil, and Fontaines in France, Bobbio in Italy. During the seventh century the disciples of Columbanus and other Irish and Scottish missionaries founded a long list of monasteries in what is now France, Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland. The best known are: St. Gall in Switzerland, Disibodenberg in the Rhine Palatinate, St. Paul's at Besançon, Lure and Cusance in the Diocese of Besançon, Beze in the Diocese of Langres, Remiremont Abbey and Moyenmoutier Abbey in the Diocese of Toul, Fosses-la-Ville in the Diocese of Liège, Mont-St-Michel at Peronne, Ebersmunster in Lower Alsace, St. Martin at Cologne.
The rule of St. Columbanus, which was originally followed in most of these monasteries, was soon superseded by that of St. Benedict. Later Gaelic missionaries, founded Honau in Baden (about 721), Murbach in Upper Alsace (about 727), Altomünster in Upper Bavaria (about 749), while other Gaelic monks restored St. Michel in Thiérache (940), Walsort near Namur (945), and, at Cologne, the Monasteries of St. Clement (about 953), St. Martin (about 980), St. Symphorian (about 990), and St. Pantaléon (1042).
Towards the end of the eleventh and in the twelfth century, a number of Schottenklöster, intended for Scottish and Irish monks exclusively, sprang up in Germany. About 1072, three Scottish monks, Marianus, Iohannus, and Candidus, took up their abode at the little Church of Weih-St-Peter at Ratisbon. Their number soon increased and a larger monastery was built for them (about 1090) by Burgrave Otto of Ratisbon and his brother Henry. This became the famous Scottish Monastery of St. Jacob at Ratisbon, the mother-house of a series of other Schottenklöster. It founded the Abbeys of St. Jacob at Würzburg (about 1134), St. Aegidius at Nuremberg (1140), St. Jacob at Constance (1142), Our Blessed Lady at Vienna (1158), St. Nicolas at Memmingen (1168), Holy Cross at Eichstätt (1194), and the Priory of Kelheim (1231). These, together with the Abbey of St. Jacob at Erfurt (1036), and the Priory of Weih-St-Peter at Ratisbon formed the famous congregation of the German Schottenklöster which was erected by Innocent III in 1215, with the Abbot of St. Jacob at Ratisbon as abbot-general.
In 1692 Abbot Placidus Flemming of Ratisbon reorganized the Scottish congregation which now comprised the monasteries of Ratisbon, Erfurt, and Würzburg, the only remaining Schottenklöster in Germany. He also erected a seminary in connection with the monastery at Ratisbon. But the forced secularization of monasteries in 1803 put an end to the Scottish abbeys of Erfurt and Würzburg, leaving St. Jacob's at Ratisbon as the only surviving Schottenkloster in Germany. Though since 1827 this monastery was again permitted to accept novices, the number of its monks dwindled down to two capitulars in 1862. There being no hope of any increase, Pope Pius IX suppressed this last Schottenkloster in his brief of 2 September, 1862. Its revenues were distributed between the diocesan seminary of Ratisbon and the Scotch College at Rome.