Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey is a Cistercian territorial abbey and cathedral on the outskirts of Bregenz. The first monastery at Mehrerau was founded by Saint Columbanus who, after he was driven from Luxeuil, settled here about 611 and built a monastery after the model of Luxeuil. A monastery of nuns was soon established nearby.
Little information survives on the history of either foundation up to 1079, when the monastery was reformed by the monk Gottfried, sent by abbot William of Hirsau, and the Rule of St. Benedict was introduced. In 1097-98 the abbey was rebuilt by Count Ulrich of Bregenz and re-settled by monks from Petershausen Abbey near Konstanz. During the 12th and 13th centuries the abbey acquired much landed property; by the middle of the 16th century it had the right of patronage for sixty-five parishes.
During the Thirty Years' War the abbey suffered from the devastation inflicted by the Swedes, who billetted soldiers here and exacted forced contributions; they also robbed the abbey of nearly all its revenues. Nevertheless, it often offered a free refuge to religious expelled from Germany and Switzerland.
By the 18th century however it had recovered and was once more in a very flourishing condition. In 1738 the church was completely rebuilt, as were the monastic buildings in 1774-81.
The existence of Mehrerau was threatened, as was that of other religious foundations, by the attacks upon monasteries of the Emperor Joseph II. However, Abbot Benedict was able to obtain the withdrawal of the decree of suppression, although it had already been signed.
However, the Treaty of Pressburg (1805) gave Vorarlberg, and with it the abbey, to Bavaria, which had already secularised its own religious houses in 1802-03. The Bavarian State dissolved the abbey in 1806. The monks were evicted and the valuable library was scattered; part of it was burnt on the spot. The forests and agricultural lands belonging to the abbey were taken by the State. In February 1807 the church was closed, and the other buildings were sold at auction. In 1808-09 the church was taken down and the material used to build the harbour of Lindau.
When the district came again under the rule of Austria, the surviving monastic buildings were used for various purposes until in 1853 they were bought, with the permission of Emperor Franz Joseph I, from the last owner, along with some pieces of land connected with them, by the abbot of the Cistercian Wettingen Abbey in Switzerland, a monastery which had been forcibly suppressed by the Canton of Aargau in 1841, and for thirteen years had been seeking a new home.
On 18 October 1854 the Cistercian Abbey of Wettingen-Mehrerau was formally opened. In the same year a monastery school was started. The monastic buildings were extended, and in 1859 a new Romanesque church was built; of particular note is the monument to Cardinal Hergenröther (died 1890), who is buried there.
In the second half of the 19th century Wettingen-Mehrerau took a key role in the reinvigoration of the Cistercian Order. It was a member first of the Swiss Congregation of the Order, then of the Austrian Congregation. In 1888, along with Marienstatt Abbey, it left the Austrian Congregation and together with the Swiss nunneries that were subordinate to it, formed the Mehrerau Congregation, which was responsible for new settlements in Sittich in Slovenia and Mogila in Poland.
In 1919 Wettingen-Mehrerau bought the pilgrimage church at Birnau and the nearby Schloss Maurach, which to this day it runs as a priory. In Mehrerau itself the community runs a sanatorium and the 'Collegium Bernardi', a secondary school with a boarding-house.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.