Langheim Abbey was a well-known Cistercian monastery in Klosterlangheim, part of the town of Lichtenfels. Three brothers from the city of Bamberg made a gift of the estate of Langheim to Saint Otto I, bishop of Bamberg, who in 1132 offered it Adam of Ebrach, abbot of the Cistercian Ebrach Abbey, on condition that it should be used for the establishment of a new monastery of that order. The first stone was laid on 1 August 1132 and in 1142 the buildings were completed. The abbey, like Ebrach, was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Nicholas.
The first abbot was Adam (1141–80), who succeeded in gaining the support not only of the bishops of Bamberg but of the local nobility. In consequence the new abbey rapidly acquired extensive property and the cure of many parishes. Pope Eugene III and the emperors granted it many privileges. It was famous at this time for its wealth and magnificence.
By about 1380, however, as result of plague and economic difficulties, the abbey administration had more or less failed, and in 1385 Lambrecht von Brunn, bishop of Bamberg, was able without resistance to divert the abbey's management and property to the cathedral chapter. In 1429 the Hussites destroyed the buildings by fire.
Langheim was able nevertheless to recover from these misfortunes and to re-build the premises and its economic stability, but in 1525, during the German Peasants' Wars, it was once again burnt down by a rioting mob.
It was re-built yet again, only to be destroyed yet again with particular brutality in 1632 by the Swedes during the Thirty Years' War.
It took a century for the abbey to recover from this, but abbot Stephen Mösinger (1734–51) was at last able to have the monastery reconstructed on a scale and to a standard that recalled the first building. During this interval the bishops of Bamberg had again become favorable to the abbey, although they failed to restore either the property they had taken or the former privileges. The bishop did intervene in the abbey's finances, when in 1788 he suspended the then abbot on account of the huge debts that had been incurred for building works.
The final catastrophe occurred on 7 May 1802, when fire destroyed the splendid buildings erected by Stephen Mösinger and put an end to Langheim. On 23 June 1803, the community, at that time numbering forty-nine members, was secularised by a decree of the Prince Elector of Bavaria. The monks were dispersed to various places, and the last abbot, Candide Hemmerlein, received a pension of 8000 florins, with which he retired to Thieb Castle, where he died in 1814.
The remnants of the buildings after the fire were unsafe and were demolished, including the abbey church. A few structural items survive incorporated in the town centre of Klosterlangheim.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.