Reformation using the example of the monastery St. Marienthal

By the end of the 16th century, most parts of Upper Lusatia have become Protestant. Only the Cistercian convents St. Marienstern and St. Marienthal as well as the Order of St. Mary in Lauban and the cathedral chapter Bautzen resisted the Reformation.

The abbess of St. Marienthal at the time of Martin Luther wanted to transform the monastery into a Protestant diocese for women. Consequently, she was sent away and everything stayed the way it was. Even though the monastery was not reformed, the entire neighborhood became Protestant. 

The new abbess of St. Marienthal preempted several properties surrounding the monastery and leased only to Catholic people. In this way the neighborhood of St. Marienthal became Catholic once again. There were not Protestant churches left until 1890, when the first one was re-established in Ostritz. The wood to build the church hall was supplied by the monastery. 

This was the first act of ecumenism for decades. Today there are many examples of a peaceful cooperation between the two denominations.

Text by student Dorothea Utermöhlen

archive seminar reporter

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