Szentgotthárd Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery founded in 1183 by Hungarian King Béla III. Cistercian monks were settled there from Trois-Fontaines Abbey, France. The Cistercians started to build their new monastic centre in 1184. The building complex itself, with its 94 m by 44 m foundations, was unambitious, but capable of further extension. The monastery started to flourish soon. In the Szentgotthárd district around the new monastery, small agricultural villages were quickly established.
In 1391, King Sigismund gave the right of presentation of the Monastery in Szentgotthárd to the palatine Miklós Széchy and his son. This right at first merely meant that on the occasion of war or other fighting the warriors of the monastery marched under the Széchy’s banner and they had a say in electing the abbot. Later, the patrons wielded absolute power over the monastery, which was the occasion of many abuses.
The monastery was rebuilt into a fortified castle in those years, to serve as a defence against the advancing Ottomans. Therefore the monks were displaced. When the Cistercians wanted to return to their monastery in 1556, Margit Széchy banished them from Szentgotthárd with her armed forces. This gentlewoman, wielding the right of patronage, caused unforeseeable damage with her action. Namely, the Cistercians would definitely have defended their church and their monastery against the measure of Rudolf I’s (King of Hungary 1576-1608 and Holy Roman Emperor as Rudolf II 1576–1612) general, town-governor Wolfgang Tieffenbach, who had the valuable building complex relentlessly blown up after hearing rumours of the Bocskay uprising. One could still see the apse of the old church, where the altar stood, the traces of the ambulatory, the remains of the pillars separating the two aisles from the nave, and the place where the Cistercians used to pray, work, and celebrate mass. After 1605 the residents of Szentgotthárd had no church for seventy years and the believers had to go to nearby Rábakéthely for church services.
György Széchenyi, archbishop of Kalocsa, acquired the monastery’s right of presentation from Leopold I (King of Hungary 1640–1705 and Holy Roman Emperor). This erudite and energetic man rebuilt the ruins of the church, so with the partial use of the former stones, between 1676 and 1677, the second church of the town was built, in which there were three altars in the single nave: in honour of Saint Gotthard, the Crucified Saviour, and the Mater Dolorosa. After the third church had been built in the middle of the 18th century, this second one gradually lost its significance. Under Joseph II (József II), uncrowned King of Hungary, the church’s spire was demolished and turned into a granary. The large, unused building was finally taken in hand by the town council, and in 1988 the building was transformed into the town theatre at great expense. Today it is an essential part of the art relic group with its landscaped, pleasantly arranged surroundings.
After several ups and downs, Robert Leeb (1728–1755), the abbot of Heiligenkreuz, was able to secure the Monastery of Szentgotthárd for the Cistercian order in 1734. Five ordained priests and two laymen arrived with the first group of the new “settlers” from Heiligenkreuz. Robert Leeb commissioned Franz Anton Pilgram (1699–1761) to prepare plans for the new monastery and church. The execution of the great idea had been started in 1740 and the monks could move into the half-made building in 1746. The foundation stone of the church was laid only on 14 August 1748, but the building proceeded so fast that before the end of the rebuilding the church was blessed by Fritz Alberik, successor of Robert Leeb, who had died in the meantime. Unfortunately economic difficulties were too hard on the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, so the original plan could not be realised. After the foundations had been built, the northern wing was never started.References:
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.