Göss Abbey is a former Benedictine nunnery and former Cathedral in Leoben. The nunnery was founded in 1004 by Adula of Leoben, wife of Count Aribo I, and her son, the future Archbishop of Mainz, on the family's ancestral lands. It was settled by canonesses from Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. The first abbess was Kunigunde, sister of Archbishop Aribo. Göss was made an Imperial abbey by Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1020. The Benedictine Rule was introduced in the 12th century.
Göss Abbey functioned for centuries as a centre for the Styrian aristocracy to have their daughters educated and if necessary accommodated, and entry was strictly limited to members of the nobility.
The nunnery, the last remaining Imperial abbey on Habsburg lands, was dissolved in 1782 in the course of the rationalist reforms of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, and from 1786 served for a short time as the seat of the newly founded Bishopric of Leoben, of which the former abbey church, dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Andrew, was the cathedral. The first and only bishop died in 1800, and from 1808 the diocese was administered by the Bishops of Seckau until it was formally abolished in 1859. In 1827 the premises were auctioned off and acquired by the wheelwrights' co-operative of Vordernberg, who were primarily interested in the forests of the former abbey's estates. In 1860 the buildings were acquired by a brewer from Graz (the nunnery had had its own brewer since 1459) and have since then been used as a brewery, the Brauerei Göß.
The former abbey church, briefly the cathedral of Leoben, is now used as a parish church. It is a large late Gothic building containing an early Romanesque crypt beneath the choir, some important early Gothic frescoes in the chapel of Saint Michael and an imposing roof.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).