St. John's Church was built in the fourteenth century as a Franciscan abbey church. Franciscans erected a monastery with a basilica in 1225 on the site of the current church. The monastery grew rapidly and the church was soon too small. As a result, a vaulted Hall church with three aisles was built in its place in 1380. The money for this came mostly from the many funerary endowments resulting from the Black Death in Europe, which killed seven thousand in Bremen.
In 1528, during the Reformation, the monastery was closed and Bremen's first hospital and mental asylum was built on the site of the monastery in 1538, with the approval of the monks. Church and monastery served different purposes; the church was used as a hospital church and sometimes served Protestant congregations when their churches were being renovated or repaired. From 1684 religious services of the Hugenots and later of Belgian religious refugees were held in the church. Until the middle of the seventeenth century, the monastery continued to serve as Bremen's hospital.
From 1802 only the choir was used in religious services. The nave was meant to be converted into a warehouse, but, due to the Napoleonic invasion of Bremen, this never occurred. The catholic community which was officially recognised again in 1806 acquired the church at the impetus of the council and rededicated it as a Catholic church on 17 October 1823, after restoration work. Using the rubble from the destruction of the monastery for hygiene reasons in 1834, the level of the streets around the church was raised by two meters to avoid floods; within the church, the floor level was raised by three metres. As a result a large cellar was created, which was rented commercially in order to offset debt until 1992 when it became the crypt. Raising the floor level of the church meant that the ceiling height is three metres lower than it used to be. The reconstruction of 1822/3 can be most easily be discerned from the lower part of the choir windows which have been bricked up.
St John is the only surviving monastery church in the city. Only Catherine's Passage in the city centre testifies to the existence of the earlier Dominican monastery and its church of St Katherine. St Paul's monastery in front of the city gates was destroyed in 1546 by military action.
The church building is a particularly clear example of the Brick gothic style. All three naves were covered by a single especially large pitched roof. The west gable's extraordinary form and size derives from this design. It is divided into three stories, which each contain pointed arch windows arranged in pairs. The base line of these windows is a line of ornamental brickwork. At the apex of the gable is a cruciform window with a star of David. This has been in place since 1878, when the roof was repaired and the new gable installed, surmounted by a stone cross. The star of David was probably included as a result of horror vacui. No other symbolic significance at all is attested in church documents. One can, however, suggest that that the star of David is symbolic of the Old Testament and the cruciform shape is symbolic of the New Testament. The two belong together and form the foundation of the church.
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.