St. Marienthal Abbey (Kloster St. Marienthal) is the oldest nunnery of the Cistercian Order in Germany to have maintained unbroken occupation of its house since its foundation. St. Marienthal is located to the south of Ostritz on the left bank of the Neisse, which at this point forms the German border with Poland.
The abbey was founded in 1234 by Kunigunde of Hohenstaufen, daughter of Philip of Swabia and wife of Wenceslas I of Bohemia, near a trade route that ran from Prague to Görlitz via Zittau. As early as 1235 the new foundation was incorporated into the Cistercian Order, with the abbot of Altzella acting as visitor. The first documented abbess of St. Marienthal Abbey was the noblewoman Adelheid I. von Dohna, daughter of Burgrave Otto von Dohna.
The abbey was destroyed during the Hussite Wars in 1427, and not rebuilt until 1452. It was damaged by fire in 1515, 1542 and (particularly seriously) in 1683. Rebuilding in the Baroque style began in 1685. The Baroque church interior suffered extensive damage in a flood of the Neisse in 1897.
During World War II the buildings were used as a military hospital. In 1945 the retreating German forces wanted to blow up the abbey to hinder the advance of the Russians, but the nuns refused to leave, and the building was spared.
The abbey survived the Communist East German régime and after 1989 spent large sums on restoration and developing the facilities. In August 2010 however another flood of the Neisse caused catastrophic damage.References:
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.
The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.
The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.