St. Margaret is the Birkendorf parish church and belongs to the pastoral care unit of Upper Schlücht Valley.
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Along with Barbara and Catherine, St. Margaret was one of the three women among the Fourteen Holy Helpers. They were saints of popular piety, called upon in various times of need. According to legend, Margaret was born in Antioch in the second half of the 3rd century as the daughter of pagan parents. The midwife, a devout Christian, raised the girl according to the Christian faith from the day she was born. Margaret died a martyr around the year 305, during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. Her veneration began in the west in the 7th century and has since become wide-spread. Margaret of Antioch is depicted in various different ways. The most common one, which is also depicted in the three statues in the Birkendorf church, shows her with a dragon – a symbol of the victory over evil. In the Middle Ages, the day of St. Margaret (20 July) was one of the most important days of the year for farmers. If the weather had previously been good, the rent for the land was paid.
The feast day of St. Margaret is on 21 October.
The church in Birkendorf is first mentioned in connection with a gift bestowed upon the Allerheiligen Abbey in 1085 by Ita von Birkendorf: “So that the church in Birkendorf does not complain about this donation, it will in turn receive property in Mettingen.” The development of the church in Birkendorf was closely interwoven with the former convent St. Faith in Grafenhausen. When the monastery in Grafenhausen was dissolved, religious life suffered a noticeable decline. The citizens of Grafenhausen were looked after by a secular priest in Birkendorf, and St. Faith thus became a daughter church of St. Margaret until 1610. Special circumstances led to a change which took place that year. The Birkendorf vicarage was in need of renovation, and nobody was making arrangements for the repairs to be done. The pastor moved into the existing monastery buildings in Grafenhausen with the bishop’s permission, leaving Birkendorf without a priest. Many attempts at rebuilding the vicarage were unsuccessful until St. Margaret’s Vicarage was built in Birkendorf in 1909. A key event in Birkendorf, the winner of a national competition in 1973 called “Making our village more beautiful”, was its 900th anniversary in July 1985 with numerous cultural, musical, and ecclesiastical highlights.