The Abbey of the Holy Cross in Rostock was founded in the 13th century by Cistercian nuns. It is the only completely preserved abbey in the city. The complex includes the former abbey church which is used today as the University Church (Universitätskirche). The remaining convent buildings house the Museum of Cultural History (Kulturhistorische Museum) for the city of Rostock.
The nunnery was founded by the Danish Queen Margaret in 1270. According to legend, she founded the nunnery in gratitude for a miraculous rescue at sea in the vicinity of Hundsburg castle at Schmarl. What is certain is that she made large donations to the nunnery. She died in 1282 and was buried in the minster church in Bad Doberan which belonged to the Cistercian Order. The nunnery gained extensive estates in Rostock and also in the whole of Mecklenburg as a result of donations, endowments and bequests. The nuns came mostly from wealthy families in Rostock. The nunnery was very popular and even had to place restrictions on entry in the 14th century. The abbey church was completed in 1360.
The Reformation was accepted into the abbey in 1562 after just thirty years of 'contemplation time' by the nuns in the convent. As a result of the Second Rostock Inheritance Agreement between the city of Rostock and the dukes of Mecklenburg in 1584 the nunnery was turned into a Lutheran damsels' convent (Frauenstift). The lives of its conventuals, however, hardly changed at all. The place still resembled a Roman Catholic monastic order. After the Thirty Years' War, however, there were only nine conventuals. In the 19th century, efforts were made to transfer the estate of the nunnery to the state. But it was not until 1920, when the Free State of Mecklenburg-Schwerin constitution was introduced, that the state appropriated all such parastatal entities, such as women's convents. As a result, Mecklenburg-Schwerin's Lutheran church was only allowed to continue legally as an organisation independent of the state. The effect of this was that the nunnery was expropriated by the state without any compensation to the church. On 17 August 1920, the abbey was dissolved, although the remaining conventuals were allowed the right to live there for life. The last abbess died in 1981. The abbey church was renovated both outside and, later, inside from 1997 to 2002. The convent buildings now house the Rostock Museum of Cultural History.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.