The first historical reference of the Abbey Church in Nykøbing is to St. Nicholas Chapel where Eric of Pomerania founded a Greyfriars monastery in honour of Our Lady, St Michael and St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 Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.
The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.
In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.
In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.
After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.
In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.
In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.