The history of the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption is closely linked to the Benedictine monastery of St. Mary, which, according to oral tradition, was built when a Byzantine icon of the Virgin was brought to Positano and venerated in our church thereafter.
The abbey allegedly dates back to the second half of the 10h century. It was mentioned for the first time in a manuscript of the late 11th century.
The years of commendatory abbots was mostly negative for our church. Its architectural traces were almost totally lost, while the church started to fall into decay, in spite of continuous reproaches by Amalfi archbishops and a thorough rebuilding at the beginning of the 17th century. The last commendatory abbot, Liborio Manna from Naples, was deprived of his power by the local clergy, which, in 1777, started restoring the church. The works lasted about five years.
The interior has a nave and two aisles, with five arches, corresponding, along the aisles, to five chapels on each side. When approaching the high altar from the entry, we may admire the chapels of St. Blaise, of the Immaculate Conception, of St. Anthony and St. Anne on the right. The altar of the Circumcision is on the right end, with a valuable painting by Fabrizio Santafede (1599). The chapel of St. Steven, on the right of the high altar, houses the wooden statue of Our Lady with Infant Christ. Above the high altar a small temple opens up with a recently restored Byzantine icon. On the apse sides, the walnut chorus features two niches, lodging Our Lady of Sorrows on the right and a valuable Christ at the column by Michele Trilocco (1798) on the left.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.