Saint-Mihiel Abbey is an ancient Benedictine abbey situated in the town of Saint-Mihiel, near Verdun. The benedictine abbey was built in 708 or 709 by a Count Wulfoalde and his wife Adalsinde, probably to house the relics that Wulfoalde had brought back from Italy. It was dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel, a popular saint at the time, as can be testified by the establishment of the abbeys of Mont St Michel in Normandy and the Abbey of Honau in Alsace in the same period. In 1734 the tombs of both Wulfoalde and Adalsinde were discovered in the abbey.
The abbey was placed under the authority of Fulrad of St Denis, chaplain to Charlemagne. In 755 a mayor Wulfoald, probably a relative of the founder of the abbey, was accused of high treason and plotting against Pepin the Short, was condemned to death. When Fulrad intervened to save his life, Wulfoald expressed his gratitude by giving King Childéric II his possessions, including the Abbey.
The Abbey is best known for its abbot Smaragdus, who moved there around the year 814 with his monks from the monastery on Mt. Castellion. Some time between 816 and 826 Smaragdus obtained royal protection for the abbey from Louis the Pious, ensuring that wagons, pack-horses and ships would be exempt from customs taxes on goods transported between the monastery and its lands.
Over the years, the abbey proved very popular with royalty, emperors and kings and dukes. In the 11th century, for example, it came under the protection of Gérard, Duke of Lorraine. During the Middle Ages, the Abbey was famous for its relics, not least of which concerned Saint Anatole, Bishop of Cahors, whose body was reputed to have been transferred to Mihiel in 779.
The Abbey was dissolved during the French revolution.
The Abbey Church is known as the Church of Saint Michel. Part of the 11th century porch still remains. The nave was rebuilt in the 16th century and modified in the 17th century.
The Church contains a walnut sculpture of the swooning of Mary by Ligier Richier dated 1531 (or 1537).References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.