The first historical reference of the Abbey Church in Nykøbing is to St. Nicholas Chapel where Eric of Pomerania founded a Greyfriars monastery in honour of Our Lady, St Michael and St Francis. The church must have been completed by 1482 when the annual Franciscan chapter meeting was held in Nykøbing to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Francis of Assisi with representatives of Franciscan communities in the Nordic countries. In 1532, when the monks had left the abbey, the church was transferred to the citizens of Nykøbing as theparish church. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the church had close connections with Nykøbing Castle (now demolished) which became the residence of Denmark's dowager queens.
The church consists of a nave with a three-sided east gable, a tower on the north side and a cloister (now part of an aisle inside the church), along the south side, all built in red brick in the Late Gothic style. Apart from the church, only the west wing and a small part of the north wing of the abbey have been preserved. The west wing was built over several periods. The part next to the church is the oldest, possibly the first part of the abbey to be built, and certainly older than the church. This explains why the adjacent church windows are of different sizes and more profiled than those in the rest of the church. The church's long eastern section was constructed over two periods. From its style, which is similar to that of the east gable, it can be seen that the west gable was constructed at a later stage. The tower was built over three periods, the cloister over four periods. The style of architecture indicates all the basic construction work was completed by about 1500. The tower was heightened in 1766 and topped with today's onion spire. There are three bells from the 1470s, 1493 and 1634. The carillon of 26 bells from 1969 comes from Petit & Fritsen in the Netherlands.
The lower level of today's aisle was connected to the church by a doorway but later three round arches were completed. They were perfected during the restoration work in 1874 when the gallery was given its pointed twin openings. In 1966, the pulpit was moved closer to the chancel.
The elaborate altarpiece from 1616 is in the Renaissance style with paintings from Antonius Clement's workshop in Odense depicting theCrucifixion in the central panel flanked by Isaac's Sacrifice and the Snake in the Desert. The pulpit (1640) in the Auricular style is the work ofJørgen Ringnis who crafted several carved pulpits for Falster churches. Features include Moses with the Tablets of Law, and shell-framed niches with the four Evangelists. The artistic Mecklenburg Ancestral Table on which Antonius Clement started to work in 1622, completing it in 1627, shows 63 of Queen Sophie's ancestors from five generations with small paintings of each. The octagonal bronze font (1648) is designed by Antony Wisse from Lübeck. The crucifix on the north wall is from 1646.
Christopher Herfordt of Copenhagen received permission in 1665 to erect a burial compound on the south side of the church. Later known as Herfordt's Chapel, the brick structure is reported to have been covered with a half-roof and enclosed with wrought-iron railings. The sacristy, first mentioned in 1720, was a small half-timbered building but was removed in 1874 during restoration work. In 1847, after a newly designed cemetery was opened elsewhere, the churchyard simply became an annex. It was later transformed into the area called Rosenhaven (The Rose Garden) consisting of a flower garden and a car park. At its southern end there is a tombstone commemorating the statesman and bishop Ditlev Gothard Monrad (1811–1877) and his wife. It came from another cemetery which was closed in favour of a railway bridge. In 1967, the iron gate which stood at the western end of the churchyard was moved to the south entrance near the church's eastern wall. Crafted by the ironsmith T. C. Christoffersen in 1901, the gate was designed by the architect Henrik Christopher Glahn.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.