All Saints' Abbey (Kloster Allerheiligen) was a Premonstratensian monastery founded around 1192 when a wooden chapel was built, which was gradually extended to be a monastery. In 1196 the foundation charter was issued by Duchess Uta of Schauenburg. In 1200 Philip of Swabia recognised the foundation, and in 1204 Pope Innocent III confirmed it. The first abbot was Gerung.
In 1248 canons from All Saints were sent to Lorsch Abbey to turn it into a Premonstratensian monastery, since when Lorsch was counted as a daughter house of All Saints. Another daughter house was set up at Haguenau. Through various gifts and livings, inter alia at Oberkirch and Oppenau, the monastery grew rapidly and became one of the major religious, cultural and political centres of the region.
In 1657 it was raised to the status of 'abbey' by the general chapter of the Premonstratensian Order. In the 18th century it was at the high point of its power. In November 1802 however Margrave Karl Friedrich of Baden dissolved the abbey in the course of secularisation, and took all its possessions.
Large fires, in 1470 and 1555, had already destroyed parts of the premises. In 1804, a last fire, started when a bolt of lightning struck the church tower, finished the job. In 1816 the ruins were sold for demolition and used as a quarry for stone and scrap for churches in the valleys of the Rench and the Acher. The altars and saints' figures are to be found in numerous local churches, for example in Bad Peterstal, Oppenau, Ottenhöfen and Achern. Three statues from All Saints' Abbey are above the gateway of the prince's chapel at Lichtenthal Abbey, representing Saint Helena, Uta of Schauenburg and Gerung.
Not until the end of the 19th century, when tourism finally reached the Lierbach valley and its waterfalls, were any steps taken to secure what was left of the ruins, which were then put into the condition they are in today.
On a rise above the ruins of the monastery complex is a war memorial for the fallen and deceased members of the Black Forest Society (Schwarzwaldverein), raised in 1925 by C.M. Meckel und A. Rickert.
In 1947 the Charitable Union of Mainz acquired the area round about the monastery ruins and built a convalescent home for children there. Since 1978 this has been used as a country holiday centre for schools. In 1960 the Bishop of Mainz built a chapel here that, like the abbey church, is dedicated to the honour of God and All Saints.
Also now on the site are a cafe and a small museum. Below the ruins are the All Saints' Waterfalls ('Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle').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.