The Old Cathedral (Alter Dom) in Linz was built by Jesuits between 1669 and 1683 in Baroque style. From 1785 to 1909 it served as cathedral of the Diocese of Linz.
The church was erected near the former Jesuits' College at the south end of the Hauptplatz. The church was originally called the Church of Ignatius and was dedicated to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit Order.
The Jesuit Order was dissolved in 1773 by Pope Clement XIII. The Diocese of Linz and St. Pölten von Passau was effectively founded in 1783 by a decree of the Emperor Joseph II (1741–90) without advance approval from Rome. The emperor appointed the bishop and designated the former Jesuit church as the cathedral. The diocese was officially established by a papal certificate of 28 January 1785. Bishop Gregorius Thomas Ziegler (1827–52) led an era during which the church was restored. In 1909 the function of cathedral was transferred from the Ignatius church to the new building. The Jesuits returned in 1909.
The exterior of the church is relatively plain, with two towers on either side of the main door, topped with onion domes. The interior is decorated in lavish Baroque style, with pink marble columns. There are three side chapels on either side of a wide main nave.
The church has an elaborately detailed wooden pulpit, and a high altar made by Giovanni Battista Barbarino and Giovanni Battista Colombo that incorporates many statues in marble. Antonio Bellucci (1654–1726) made the painting of Saint Aloysius that is located above the altar. The stalls in the presbytery were carved by local artists, and are decorated with the faces of monsters and dwarfs. The carved choir stalls from the 17th century were transferred from Garsten Abbey. The Baroque organ was built by Franz Xaver Krismann, with alterations requested by Bruckner. The organ has not been modified.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).