At some point, however, these heroes grew old. The average life expectancy of these men lay between 40 and 60. Even the worst ruffians would ultimately start to think about death, the Last Judgment, and eternal damnation.
Collegiate church at Gernrode
What could they do? There was the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, circumstances permitting. Santiago de Compostella and Rome were possibilities as well.
Yet, great and rich sinners, or their confessors, occassionally would get doubts about the proportionality of sin and atonement. In that case, the foundation of a monastery was required.
This was also the case for Margrave Gero (c. 900-965).
To this butcher of Slavs we owe the foundation of the collegiate church of Gernrode. It is one of the most beautiful examples of Ottonian architecture.
Translation: Erik Eising (M.A.)