Säben Abbey was established in 1687, when it was first settled by the nuns of Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. Situated on the 'holy mountain', Säben was for centuries a centre of pilgrimage and controlled an extensive religious precinct. On the site of the present nunnery there was an earlier Roman settlement. Between the 6th century and about 960 there was a bishopric (episcopatus Sabiona) seated here. The church 'im Weinberg' dates from that time and its remains have been excavated along with a large burial ground in recent times.
Säben later became a fortress of the bishops. In the 14th and 15th centuries Säben Castle was the seat of the judges of Klausen and the centre of administration of the southern territories of the Diocese of Brixen.
A community of Benedictine nuns was established here in 1686 by the local priest, in premises at the foot of the mountain. The abbey church was dedicated by Johann Franz, Count Khuen von Belasi, then Bishop of Brixen.
Although the nunnery was repeatedly looted during the Napoleonic wars and stripped of its assets during the secularization in 1803, the community survived although in an impoverished state through the 19th century until it gradually revived from about 1880, when, during the period of the Kulturkampf in Germany (1871–1878), the monks of Beuron Abbey were in exile in the county of Tyrol and were in contact with the nuns at Säben. At this time new premises were built in the ruins of the castle on the mountain. The nuns of Säben adopted the Beuronese mode of life, although the abbey was formally accepted into the Beuronese Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation only in 1974.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.