Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Magnificence of Chorin

Here is a wonderful story about the old monastery of Chorin.

The former Cistercian monastery is a jewel, a masterpiece of early Gothic architecture. The region is a nature realm, and walking in the nearby woods and around the lake adjacent to the monastery conveys something of the peace that the Benedictines were seeking when they chose this spot.

...A document dated September 8, 1273 confirms the relocation of Lake Mary monastery to Chorin. Work on the monastery complex began in 1275 and completed in 1334. Three different phases of construction can be distinguished, each marked by change of material and of brick size.

It thrived for two centuries, home to more than 400 Benedictine monks. Historical records show that in 1431 the monastery suffered penury and was partially destroyed. The number of lay brothers also declined. The monastery church was left to become dilapidated. It was closed when northern Europe broke with Rome during the Reformation, and was plundered several times during the Thirty Years' War from 1618 to 1648. Efforts to repair the damage have been under way sporadically for more than 100 years.

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