Ter Apel Monastery is the only monastery in the larger area of Friesland and Groningen that survived the Reformation in a decent condition, and the only remaining rural monastery from the Middle Ages in the Netherlands. The convent buildings house a museum for monastery and church history and for religious art, as well as two contemporary art galleries. The former lay church of the monastery still functions as a reformed church.
In 1464, Jacobus Wiltingh, pastor of Garrelsweer and vicar in Loppersum, bequeathed Apell, a settlement among his possessions in the area called Westerwolde, to the Order of the Holy Cross on the condition that a monastery be built there, on the remains of a 13th-century Premonstratensian monastery. The construction, between 1465 and 1561, followed the medieval plan and included the convent building, a gatehouse, water mills, a parchment facility, a bakery, a brewery, and a guesthouse.
The monastery was bequeathed a number of gifts, including a stained glass window in 1561 by Lieutenant Johan de Mepsche and his wife Agnes, depicting Moses and the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. It also derived income from other sources. The grounds surrounding the monastery were rich in loam, which was used in construction.
When the area was conquered in 1593 by William Louis, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Catholicism was renounced and the convent, with the entire Westerwolde area, become the property of the city of Groningen; the monastery was saved, unlike hundreds of others in the Netherlands, because the abbot converted to Protestantism.
Storms, fire, and high maintenance costs caused major problems in the centuries after 1600. The monastery underwent many changes until 1930. The west facade was demolished sometime after 1755, and so were the upper floor with the brothers' cells (1834) and the dilapidated vaults in the church (1837). Unlike all the other monasteries in Groningen, a large part of the original buildings remained.
Between 1930 and 1933, on the initiative of the city of Groningen, the remaining buildings were carefully preserved and restored, under the direction of city engineer De Vos Nederveen Cappel. On the ground floor, three of the original four wings were retained: the church for secular canons and lay people in the south wing; the chapter house and sacristy in the east wing; and the refectory (now a cafe), the vaulted supplies cellar, the sub-prior and prior's chambers, and the guest accommodations in the north wing. These wings are connected by an ambulatory, surrounding the cloister. The original medieval cloister garden has been replaced with a herb garden; the location of this garden is the only remaining detail in the Netherlands of such a medieval garden.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.