A Christian chapel at Hirsau dedicated to Saint Nazarius had already been erected in the late 8th century. The monastery itself was founded in about 830 by the Rhenish Franconian count Erlafried of Calw at the instigation of his relative, Bishop Notting of Vercelli, who gave it the relics of Saint Aurelius of Riditio, an Armenian bishop who had died about 475, brought from Milan among other treasures; they were first placed in the oratory of St. Nazarius' Chapel, while the monastery at Hirschau was being built on the count's estates. It was settled by a colony of fifteen monks descending from Fulda Abbey, disciples of Rabanus Maurus and Walafrid Strabo, under one abbot Liudebert or Lutpert. Count Erlafried endowed the new foundation with extended lands and other gifts, and made a solemn donation of the whole into the hands of Lutpert, on condition that the Rule of Saint Benedict should be observed. A first aisleless church, dedicated to Saint Aurelius, was not completed until 838, when it was consecrated by Archbishop Odgar of Mainz, who at the same time translated the relics from their temporary resting place to the new church.