La Lucerne Abbey (Abbaye Sainte-Trinité de La Lucerne) was founded in 1143 by Hasculf de Subligny, son of Othoerne, the tutor of William Adelin, both of whom perished in the White Ship disaster of 1120, and later had the support of the English crown. The new monastery was settled from Dommartin Abbey near Hesdin. The foundation stone of the permanent buildings was laid in 1164 by Achard of St. Victor, who was later buried here. Construction lasted from 1164 to 1178 and was in the Romanesque style, in the restrained and sober manner of Cistercian architecture, except that the complex was dominated by an Anglo-Norman Gothic tower. Major structural renovations were carried out in the 15th and 17th centuries.
La Lucerne was the mother-house of four other Premonstratensian monasteries: Ardenne Abbey, Mondaye Abbey and Belle-Étoile Abbey (at Cerisy-Belle-Étoile) in Normandy, and Beauport Abbey in Brittany.
During the French Revolution, in 1792, the abbey was suppressed. Its buildings were at first turned into a cotton mill and then used as a source of stone.
In 1959, under the aegis of Abbé Marcel Lelégard (1925-94), the enormous task was begun, which still continues under the 'Fondation Abbaye de La Lucerne d'Outremer', of the restoration of the abbey. The first phase of the work was the reconstruction of the abbey church, particularly the ogival crossing vaults and the west front with its Romanesque portal, continuing to the refectory and cellars.
Work has continued since then and the tithe barn, the Romanesque lavatorium (the only one in Normandy), the medieval gatehouse (with its bakery and courtrooms), the dovecote, the park, the 18th century abbot's lodgings and the ponds are all now restored . The chapel of Blessed Achard is in the process of restoration.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.