Fischingen Abbey was founded in 1138 by Ulrich II, Bishop of Constanz as a private episcopal monastery, with the intention that it should offer shelter and hospitality to pilgrims on their way from Constanz to Einsiedeln Abbey.
The hermit Gebino was appointed the first abbot. In only six years he had had built a bell tower, accommodation for both monks and nuns, and a guesthouse. At its high point in about 1210, Fischingen had about 150 monks and 120 nuns. The 'Vogtei' (protective lordship) over the abbey belonged to the Counts of Toggenburg. Saint Idda of Toggenburg, who lived in a cell of the abbey in about 1200, is buried in a chapel off the abbey church.
From 1460 the abbey was under the authority of the administration of Thurgau in the Old Swiss Confederacy.
During the Reformation, the abbey was dissolved for several years, when in 1526 the abbot and the four remaining monks converted to the Reformed beliefs. The abbey was reopened however on the initiative of the Roman Catholictownships of the Old Swiss Confederacy.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the premises were rebuilt in the Baroque and Rococo styles. Between 1685 and 1687 a new abbey church was constructed, and in 1705 a new chapel dedicated to Saint Idda. In the 18th century part of the monastic premises was rebuilt, but could not be completed because of the abbey's accumulated debts. Fischingen Abbey was dissolved on 27 June 1848 by the Grand Council of Thurgau.
The abbey premises were sold in 1852 to a textile factory. Later a business and trade school was set up here. In 1879 the buildings were acquired by the Catholic voluntary society 'Verein St. Iddazell', who established in them the St. Iddazell orphanage.
Fischingen was reopened as an independent priory in its former premises in 1977. Guided tours must be pre-booked around this large and interesting building. The excellent restaurant is open to non-residents.
A unique feature in the church is an ancient stone sarcophagus with small opening in base into which the faithful put their feet while making peace with their Maker.References:
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.
The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.
The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.