Had the early church building

The time of Christianization by the Franks in the 8th and 9th centuries meant above all the creation of a church organization in the region of what is now the Ruhr area. Dioceses emerged in which the founding of new monasteries, original parishes and own churches formed the nucleus for the spread of the Christian faith, but also the consolidation of political and social supremacy. The then strange Christian faith, combined with unknown customs, new ecclesiastical structures and innovative building forms, ultimately brought about a new religious and cultural identity and standardization in the previously pagan regions of Westphalia.

The Werden monastery, which today belongs to the urban area of ​​Essen, is considered to be such a nucleus for the mission in Rhineland and Westphalia on the right bank of the Rhine. Liudger, appointed the first bishop of the Münster diocese in 805, founded a monastery here and members of his family also held episcopal seats. Over time, a network of monasteries and filiations emerged that promoted the spread of the Christian faith and its ecclesiastical organization. With the rise of the flourishing monastery to a royal protective monastery, the need for representation also increased and in 943 the mighty westwork of the church was consecrated. The Werden Abbey also had the function of a training center for missions and priests and was therefore the starting point for the Christianization of the Westphalian regions in this respect as well.

The numerous women's convents and women's pens that were created also had a very similar function. The first phase of start-ups can be set between the 9th century and 1100. The Essen Abbey was probably built around this time, but the date 850 is not certain. Knowledge and education were concentrated in the monasteries in the early Middle Ages. The women's monastery plays an important role in the cultural education of women and the introduction of a written culture, which is illustrated by the magnificent manuscripts that have been preserved from the Essen scriptorium. The political influence of the women's monastery was also enormous, since the abbess of the Essen monastery had ruled over a sovereign territory of the empire as the princely abbess since the 13th century.

Such a women's monastery was also founded in Herdecke in the 10th century, a subsidiary of St. Maria im Kapitol. At the collegiate church in Herdecke, there is another foreign impulse in addition to its function as an educational center, namely that of the innovative construction scheme of the monastery church. The first excavations in the 1930s and 40s revealed the following picture of the foundation structure: It was a three-aisled pillar basilica with a three-apse in the east and a mighty vestibule in the west.

Another aspect in this context is the formation of original parishes and individual churches. In the 8th century strict rules were set for church life. A ban on pagan rites was issued and the obligation to baptize was introduced; the church building was highlighted as the center of everyday religious life. 120 farm owners, plus a servant, a maid, and the tithe as a levy, each belonged to a church with its clergy. This led to the formation of firmly delimited parishes within the dioceses, the so-called "original parishes".

Unna is one of the oldest original parishes in Westphalia in the Archdiocese of Cologne. The location on Hellweg is decisive for the foundation, and it is assumed that Unna owned a royal court laid out on the initiative of Charlemagne. The foundation of a mission and baptismal church is believed to be possibly still within the courtyard area of ​​the royal court. Archaeological studies of this church itself are still lacking.

In addition to these organizational structures, there was also a distinctive individual church system, which was of great importance in Westphalia. Nobles usually founded a church right next to their court, saw to it that construction was going on and provided the priests they appointed with land. Such own churches could also become the starting point for the establishment of branches, the example of this is the own church with a walled churchyard in Bochum-Stiepel.