Lower Saxony is a German state situated in northwestern Germany. It is the second-largest state by land area, with 47,624 km2, fourth-largest in population among the 16 Länder federated as the Federal Republic of Germany. In rural areas, Northern Low Saxon and Saterland Frisian are still spoken, but the number of speakers is declining. Lower Saxony borders on the North Sea, the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and North Rhine-Westphalia, the Netherlands. Furthermore, the state of Bremen forms two enclaves within Lower Saxony, one being the city of Bremen, the other, its seaport city of Bremerhaven. In fact, Lower Saxony borders more neighbours than any other single Bundesland; the state's principal cities include the state capital Hanover, Braunschweig, Lüneburg, Osnabrück, Hildesheim, Wolfenbüttel, Göttingen. The northwestern area of Lower Saxony, which lies on the coast of the North Sea, is called East Frisia and the seven East Frisian Islands offshore are popular with tourists.
In the extreme west of Lower Saxony is the Emsland, a traditionally poor and sparsely populated area, once dominated by inaccessible swamps. The northern half of Lower Saxony known as the North German Plains, is invariably flat except for the gentle hills around the Bremen geestland. Towards the south and southwest lie the northern parts of the German Central Uplands: the Weser Uplands and the Harz mountains. Between these two lie the Lower Saxon Hills, a range of low ridges. Thus, Lower Saxony is the only Bundesland that encompasses both mountainous areas. Lower Saxony's major cities and economic centres are situated in its central and southern parts, namely Hanover, Osnabrück, Salzgitter, Göttingen. Oldenburg, near the northwestern coastline, is another economic centre; the region in the northeast is called the Lüneburg Heath, the largest heathland area of Germany and in medieval times wealthy due to salt mining and salt trade, as well as to a lesser degree the exploitation of its peat bogs until about the 1960s.
To the north, the Elbe River separates Lower Saxony from Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg. The banks just south of the Elbe are known as Altes Land. Due to its gentle local climate and fertile soil, it is the state's largest area of fruit farming, its chief produce being apples. Most of the state's territory was part of the historic Kingdom of Hanover, it was created by the merger of the State of Hanover with three smaller states on 1 November 1946. Lower Saxony has a natural boundary in the north in the North Sea and the lower and middle reaches of the River Elbe, although parts of the city of Hamburg lie south of the Elbe; the state and city of Bremen is an enclave surrounded by Lower Saxony. The Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region is a cooperative body for the enclave area. To the southeast, the state border runs through the Harz, low mountains that are part of the German Central Uplands; the northeast and west of the state, which form three-quarters of its land area, belong to the North German Plain, while the south is in the Lower Saxon Hills, including the Weser Uplands, Leine Uplands, Schaumburg Land, Brunswick Land, Untereichsfeld and Lappwald.
In northeast, Lower Saxony is Lüneburg Heath. The heath is dominated by the poor, sandy soils of the geest, whilst in the central east and southeast in the loess börde zone, productive soils with high natural fertility occur. Under these conditions—with loam and sand-containing soils—the land is well-developed agriculturally. In the west lie the County of Bentheim, Osnabrück Land, Oldenburg Land, Oldenburg Münsterland, on the coast East Frisia; the state is dominated by several large rivers running northwards through the state: the Ems, Weser and Elbe. The highest mountain in Lower Saxony is the Wurmberg in the Harz. For other significant elevations see: List of hills in Lower Saxony. Most of the mountains and hills are found in the southeastern part of the state; the lowest point in the state, at about 2.5 m below sea level, is a depression near Freepsum in East Frisia. The state's economy and infrastructure are centred on the cities and towns of Hanover, Celle, Wolfsburg and Salzgitter. Together with Göttingen in southern Lower Saxony, they form the core of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region.
Lower Saxony has clear regional divisions that manifest themselves geographically, as well as and culturally. In the regions that used to be independent the heartlands of the former states of Brunswick, Hanover and Schaumburg-Lippe, a marked local regional awareness exists. By contrast, the areas surrounding the Hanseatic cities of Bremen and Hamburg are much more oriented towards those centres. Sometimes and transition areas happen between the various regions of Lower Saxony. Several of the regions listed here are part of other, larger regions, that are included in the list. Just under 20% of the land area of Lower Saxony is designated as nature parks, i.e.: Dümmer, Elbhöhen-Wendland, Elm-Lappwald, Harz, Lüneburger Heide, Münden, Terra.vita, Solling-Vogler, Lake Steinhude, Südheide, Weser Uplands, Wildeshausen Geest, Bourtanger Moor-Bargerveen. L
Wienhausen Abbey or Convent near Celle in Lower Saxony, Germany, is a community of Evangelical Lutheran women, which until the Reformation was a Cistercian Catholic nunnery. The abbey owns significant artworks and artifacts, including a collection of tapestries and the earliest surviving example of a type of eyeglasses; the abbey was established in Wienhausen, 15 kilometers from the town of Celle, on the bank of the Aller, in or about 1230 by Agnes von Landsberg, daughter-in-law of Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria. According to the Wienhausen town chronicle, this was the relocation of a monastic foundation made 10 years on a site at Nienhagen several kilometers away, moved because it had been built on marshland. In 1233 the foundation of the nunnery here was confirmed by Konrad II of Riesenberg, bishop of Hildesheim, who transferred to the new abbey the archdeaconry church that had stood in Wienhausen since the mid 11th century, the tithes of several villages; the nuns lived according to the Cistercian rule although it is unclear to what extent they were formally part of the Cistercian hierarchy.
In 1469 the abbey came under the influence of the reformist Windesheim Congregation and were obliged to tighten up their Cistercian practice. In the 16th century, Duke Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg enforced the Reformation in his duchy. Despite the opposition of the entire community, the nunnery was transformed from a Roman Catholic into a Lutheran establishment for unmarried noble women in 1531, after the Duke had broken the resistance of the community by the demolition of the provostry and most of the chapels in the church, the confiscation of the provostry property, which formed a substantial part of the abbey's income; the destroyed buildings were rebuilt 19 years as half-timbered structures. In 1587, the first Protestant abbess was installed, in 1616 the community stopped wearing Cistercian habits, although it had a reputation for secret leanings to Catholicism for many years afterwards. Most of the historic buildings, in the style known as Brick Gothic, are well-preserved. East of the church are the farm building.
Directly north of the church and at right angles to it are the two conventual building ranges: one dates from the Middle Ages, while the one to the east is a post-Reformation half-timbered building of about 1550. Between them is a two-storey cloister, a Brick Gothic masterpiece; the church consists of two parts: the original Romanesque 11th century church that belonged to the archdeaconry once based here, that predates the foundation of the nunnery, had a tower, demolished, in keeping with Cistercian practice, when the abbey was first established here. The Romanesque and the Gothic parts of the building are today separated by a wooden partition wall and are used independently. Completed in the 14th century, the nuns' chapel is remarkable among Gothic places of worship for its intricate decorations; the ceiling and walls are covered with biblical images and ornaments, which portrayed, among other subjects, the Creation, the life and resurrection of Jesus,and his reign in New Jerusalem. Several artifacts were discovered during a renovation in 1953, including the world's oldest preserved rivet spectacles which date back to the 14th or 15th century.
The abbey is known for its collection of Gothic tapestries from the 15th centuries. Each year following Pentecost, the tapestries are on public display. Subjects include both Christian and secular themes, e.g. the legend of Tristan and Isolde, several saints' stories, as well as the Mirror of Human Salvation. The art treasures are displayed by the members of the community. Today, with several other women's Lutheran religious houses in the area, collectively known as the Lüneburger Klöster, Wienhausen is maintained by the Monastic Chamber of Hanover, an institution of the former Kingdom of Hanover founded by Prince-Regent George IV in 1818, in order to manage and preserve the estates of Lutheran convents on their behalf, now continued as an institution of Hanover's successor state of Lower Saxony subordinate to its Ministry/Department of Science and Culture. Moessner, Victoria Joan, "The Medieval Embroideries of Convent Wienhausen", Studies in Cistercian Art and Architecture, 1, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, ISBN 0-87907-866-9 Mecham, June L.
"A Northern Jerusalem: Transforming the Spatial Geography of the Convent of Wienhausen", Defining the Holy: Sacred Space in Medieval And Early Modern Europe, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 139–160, ISBN 0-7546-5194-0 McNamara, Jo Ann, Sisters in Arms: Catholic Nuns Through Two Millennia, Harvard University Press, pp. 405f, ISBN 0-674-80984-X Jeep, John M. "Wienhausen", Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia, Routledge, pp. 812–813, ISBN 0-8240-7644-3CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list McLachlan, Gordon, "Wienhausen", The Rough Guide to Germany, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-293-X Wienhausen municipal website: page on Kloster Wienhausen Eyeglasses Through the Ages The Invention of Spectacles Gries, Joachim. "Weltkulturerbe Kloster Wienhausen?". Cellesche Zeitung. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2007-04-19
County of Dannenberg
The County of Dannenberg was a fief in the Duchy of Saxony. Its heartland was identical with the present-day collective municipality of Elbtalaue in north Germany, its historical origins go back to the middle of the 12th century, when Henry the Lion founded the five counties of Holstein, Schwerin, Dannenberg and Lüchow during the Ostsiedlung, or colonisation of the East, from the mouth of the River Elbe to the southern border of the March of Brandenburg, in order to protect the new regions and borders of his territory. The County of Dannenberg is first mentioned in the records in 1153, he came from the Edlers of Salzwedel. The county lasted until 1303, when the last count, Nicholas of Dannenberg, relinquished all his rights between the Elbe and Jeetzel rivers to Duke Otto the Strict, it is mentioned in the records in 1311. At that time farmers and artisans settled around the county castle and the village of Dannenberg emerged, although the name Dannenberg had existed previously. From 1223 to 1225 King Valdemar II of Denmark and his son were imprisoned by the count in the castle tower, still preserved today, after Henry of Schwerin had brought them here.
In 1303 the last count, ceded the county for an annuity of 40 marks to the Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, Otto the Strict. From that time the former county belonged to the Principality of Lüneburg. In 1306 the Dannenberg line died out. At the beginning of the 15th century Dannenberg was split off again as a form of compensation for the new line, but the reigning duke in Celle retained specific sovereign rights; the coat of arms of the County of Dannenberg was emblazoned with lions rampart, sometimes separate, sometimes as a facing pair. Sometimes they were accompanied by a fir tree; the earliest known county seal, preserved shows a right-facing lion rampant and dates to the year 1215. It belonged to Volrad II. Whether this symbol is meant to indicate the relationship of the county to Henry the Lion is not clear; the upright lion is depicted as a Charge in all coats of arms, changed by the counts to distinguish between themselves. A fir tree as a further figure was added by Adolf I, Count of Dannenberg from 1245.
Two facing lions were first depicted in the seal of Bernard II, Count of Dannenberg about 1283–1293. The symbols of the counts of Dannenberg have been preserved to this day. Lions and fir trees form part of the coats of arms of the town of Dannenberg, the former Dannenberg collective municipality and the former district of Dannenberg; the coats of arms of the district of Lüchow-Dannenberg show a fir tree next to the three lozenges of the old County of Lüchow. Volrad I, from the House of Edler from Salzwedel, brother of Frederick of Salzwedel, first Count of Dannenberg, recorded as Count of Dannenberg 1153–1166, but ruled 1145–1169 Henry I, 1169–1209 Count of Dannenberg Volrad II died in 1226 in battle against Valdemar II near Rendsburg, 1207–1226 Count of Dannenberg. In addition, the following references are used: Meyer, Dr. Wilhelm. Geschichte der Grafen von Ratzeburg und Dannenberg, Schwerin, 1911. In: Jahrbuch des Vereins für Mecklenburgische Geschichte und Altertumskunde. Vol. 76. Bärensprungsche Hofbuchdruckerei, Schwerin, 1911.
Wachter, Berndt. Aus Dannenberg und seiner Geschichte, 2nd edition, Becker Verlag, Uelzen, 1983
Marian devotions are external pious practices directed to the person of Mary, mother of Jesus, by members of certain Christian traditions. They are performed in Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, but rejected in Protestant denominations; such devotional prayers or acts may be accompanied by specific requests for Mary's intercession with God. There is significant diversity of form and structure in Marian devotions practiced by different groups of Christians. Orthodox Marian devotions are well-defined and linked to liturgy, while Roman Catholic practices are wide-ranging – they include multi-day prayers such as novenas, the celebration of Canonical coronations granted by the Pope, the veneration of icons in Eastern Christianity, pious acts which do not involve prayers, such as the wearing of scapulars or maintaining a Mary garden. Marian devotions are important to the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions, but most Protestant views on Mary do not accept them, because such devotions are not recorded or promoted in the Bible.
They believe. According to practitioners, devotion to the Virgin Mary does not amount to worship, reserved for God. Both the Catholic and Orthodox traditions view Mary as subordinate to Christ, but uniquely so, in that she is seen as above all other creatures. In 787 the Second Council of Nicaea affirmed a three-level hierarchy of latria and dulia that applies to God, the Virgin Mary and to the other saints. There is no single church with universal authority within the Anglican Communion. Within the Anglican Communion and the Continuing Anglican movement, devotions to the Virgin Mary have more emphasis within High Church and Broad Church parishes than others; the emphasis placed on Marian devotions changed over the history of Anglicanism. In the 16th century, following the independence of the Church of England from Rome, a movement away from Marian themes took place. However, in the 17th century, there was a gradual return to Marianism and by 1662 there were five Marian feasts. British devotion to the Virgin Mary has been expressed in poetry, Marian hymns, Carols, e.g. in the 17th-century poems of John Donne and George Herbert, or in the 18th-century works of Thomas Ken such as Saint Mary the Virgin.
Anglican devotion for the Virgin Mary was revived during the 19th century Oxford Movement of Anglo-Catholicism and by the activities of prominent figures such as John Henry Newman. British theologians such as Father Frederick Faber took an enthusiastic approach to the promotion of Marian devotions towards the end of the 19th century. In the liturgical renewal of the 20th century, Mary gained new prominence, in most Anglican prayer books she is mentioned by name in the Eucharistic prayers; the gradual increase in Marian devotions among Anglicans has been manifested within the higher levels of the clergy in the Anglican Communion. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams wrote a book on how to pray with the icons of the Virgin Mary. Anglican devotions to Mary include the Anglican Rosary, votive candles, pilgrimages to Walsingham and Lourdes; some Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics pray the rosary itself. For centuries, Our Lady of Walsingham has been a centerpiece in Anglican devotions to the Virgin Mary and its feast is celebrated on October 15, as well as a Catholic feast on September 24.
Common in Anglican cathedrals, Anglo-Catholic parishes, certain Anglican shrines are chapels or side altars dedicated to the Virgin Mary called Lady chapels. Discussions between Roman Catholics and Anglicans within frameworks such as the Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission, with the 2005 publication of the joint statement: Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ, have started a movement towards closer agreement of Mary and Marian devotions between Catholics and Anglicans. A deep devotion to the "Aeipartenos" Mary is one of the key themes of Orthodox liturgy and spirituality. Devotion to the Virgin Mary is "taken for granted" in Eastern Orthodoxy, it permeates the entire life of the Church and required no academic development as in the Western Church. In the Orthodox view, devotion to Mary is considered an important element of Christian spirituality, indifference to her by other Christian denominations is troubling to the Orthodox. Orthodox theologian Sergei Bulgakov called denominations that do not venerate the Virgin Mary "another type of Christianity".
The Theotokos title for Mary is important in Eastern Orthodoxy and is seen as an affirmation of the fullness of God's incarnation. The Orthodox approach to Marian devotions is characterized by three elements: Orthodox understandings of Mary have for centuries been doxological and devotional rather than academic: they have been expressed in Marian hymns, liturgical poetry and the veneration of icons, rather than formal treatises. Marian devotions thus form the nucleolus of Orthodox Mariology. Devotions to Mary are far more ingrained and integrated within Orthodox liturgy than any other Christian traditions, e.g. there are many more hymns to Mary within the Eastern Orthodox yearly cycle of liturgy than in Roman Catholic liturgy. Feasts and hymns are combined, e.g. the Theotokos Iverskaya "wonder-working" icon is used on its own feast day, the Akathist
Canons regular are priests in the Latin Church living in community under a rule, sharing their property in common. All canons regular are to be distinguished from secular canons who belong to a community of priests attached to a church but do not take vows or live in common under a Rule. Among canons regular most, but not all, have followed the Rule of St. Augustine and thus have been called Augustinian Canons, known sometimes in English as Austin Canons or Black Canons, from their black habits. However, one particular group of canons regular who follow the Rule of St. Augustine are the Premonstratensians or Norbertines, sometimes called in English White Canons, from their white habits. Canons regular live together in community; the first communities of canons took vows of common stability. As a development, they now take the three vows of chastity and obedience though some Orders or congregations of canons regular have retained the vow of stability. When, in and after the 11th century, the various congregations of canons regular were formed, adopted the Rule of St. Augustine, they were called Canonici Regulares Ordinis S. Augustini Congregationis, in England "Austin Canons" or "Black Canons", but there have always been canons regular who never adopted the Rule of St. Augustine.
In a word, canons regular may be considered as the genus, Austin Canons as the species. By 1125 hundreds of communities of canons had sprung up in Western Europe, they were quite independent of one another, varied in their ministries. One obvious place where a group of priests was required was within a cathedral, where there were many Masses to celebrate and the Divine Office to be prayed together in community. Canons came to be associated with cathedrals, but other groups of canons established themselves in smaller centres. All the different varieties of canons regular are to be distinguished not only from secular canons but from: Monks, who in the Western tradition are members of monastic religious orders such as the various branches of Benedictines, or the Carthusians whose members in their history have been laymen not priests. Writing at a time before the foundation of the mendicant orders, Pope Urban II, said there were two forms of religious life: the monastic and the canonical, he likened the monks to the role of Mary, the canons to that of her sister, Martha.
Clerks regular which in the modern sense are a category of male religious orders of priests constituted from the 16th century, examples being the Theatines or the Barnabites. The members of these orders are priests who have an active apostolic life. While they live in communities, they belong to the order as such rather than to a particular house and their prime focus is on pastoral work rather than choral office; the Friars of Saint Augustine, sometimes called Augustinians or in English Augustinian friars or Austin friars, who are one of the mendicant orders. The mendicants are called "friars" not "Monks" nor "canons" and were itinerant preachers like the Franciscans or Dominicans, living on what the people gave them in food and alms; the Augustinian friars were a galaxy of dispersed religious groups, many of them hermits who in the 13th century were formed by the Popes and Church councils into a religious order with structures that followed the model of the mendicant orders. The Augustinian friars drew their inspiration from the ancient and flexible Rule of St. Augustine, hence their name.
However, they did not combine this with the structures or lifestyle of the canons regular. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, a canon regular is a religious cleric; this is what distinguishes him from a monk. The clerical state is essential to the Order of Canons Regular, whereas it is only accidental to the Monastic Order. Erasmus, himself a canon regular, declared that the canons regular are a "median point" between the monks and the secular clergy; the outer appearance and observances of the canons regular can seem similar to those of the monks. This is because the various reforms borrowed certain practices from the monks for the use of the canons. According to St. Augustine, a canon regular professes two things, "sanctitatem et clericatum", he lives in community, he leads the life of a religious, he sings the praises of God by the daily recitation of the Divine Office in choir. St. Augustine’s teaching and example has become the heritage of the Church as it sets about bringing to life again the common life of clerics.
The canons regular do not confine themselves to canonical functions. They give hospitality to pilgrims and travelers on the Great St. Bernard and on the Simplon, in former times the hospitals of St. Bartholomew's Smithfield, in London, of S. Spirito, in Rome, of Lochleven, Monymusk and St. Andrew's, in Scotland, others like them, were all served by canons regular. Many congregations of canons worked among the poor, the lepers, the infirm; the clerics established by St. Patrick in Ireland had a Guest House for pilgrims and the sick whom they tended by d
Ernest I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg frequently called Ernest the Confessor, was duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and a champion of the Protestant cause during the early years of the Protestant Reformation. He was the Prince of Lüneburg and ruled the Lüneburg-Celle subdivision of the Welf family's Brunswick-Lüneburg duchy from 1520 until his death, he was the son of Henry I, Duke of Lüneburg, Margarete of Saxony, the daughter of Ernest, Elector of Saxony. Ernest was born in Uelzen of the House of Guelph on 27 June 1497, his father was Henry I of Lüneburg and his mother Margarete of Saxony, a sister of Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony and Champion of Martin Luther. Ernest succeeded as Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg upon the retirement of his brother Otto in 1527. Ernest, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, married Sophia of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, he died on 11 January 1547 at the age of 49. Ernest's life coincided with the Protestant Reformation. In 1512 he was sent to the court of his mother's brother at Wittenberg, the Wettin elector Frederick III, received instruction there from Georg Spalatin in the University of Wittenberg.
In 1520, political frictions with Charles V convinced his father, Henry I of Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg to abdicate and leave for the French Court, ardently Catholic. Henry’s two eldest sons and Ernest, became regents of the country. At the urging of the Catholic forces, Henry returned to Lüneberg in 1527 and tried to regain control, but Henry's attempt failed and he returned to France. Henry was allowed to return in 1530 to spend his last days in the princely house in Lüneberg given to him by his eldest son. Henry's eldest son Otto, educated with his brothers at Wittenberg, succeeded as Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Otto and Ernest appear to have ruled jointly from 1520 to 1527, but with the retirement of Otto, Ernest became sole ruler. The condition of his domain was not prosperous. Political considerations furthered the introduction of the Reformation. From the nobles point of view, the Reformation offered the chance to gain from church and monastery property; the forerunner of the Reformation in Lüneburg was Wolf Cyclop, a physician from Zwickau, not free from the Zwickau enthusiasm.
Moderates such as Gottschalk Cruse, Heinrich Bock, Matthäus Mylow followed him. Ernest was inclined to move but by 1525 the German Peasants' War gave him occasion to join with his brother in requiring the monasteries to declare their properties and to require them to admit Protestant preachers. Ernest had promised his uncle, the elector of Saxony to stand by the Protestant cause. After an attempt by the Roman Catholic party in 1527 to reinstate his father had failed, Ernest's course became more decided as he succeeded as Duke. In July 1527, the first book of discipline was drawn up by the preachers of Celle. At a diet in August of the same year it was ordered that "God's pure word should be preached everywhere without additions made by men." Between 1527 and 1530, Lutheran preachers were introduced in most parishes and monasteries—not in all cases without compulsion. Ernest signed the Confession, he brought back Urbanus Rhegius, who worked to spread the Reformation, introducing it into the city of Lüneburg.
The largest and richest monastery in the land, St. Michael's in Lüneburg, accepted the new order after the death of Abbot Boldewin in 1532. Rhegius was succeeded by Martin Ondermark, who completed the former's work; the preachers were well disposed to the reformed religion, while the people held to the old and only adapted themselves to the new. During the Schmalkald War the greater masses remained true to the Gospel. After 1530, Ernest was the most influential prince of North Germany, he sent Rhegius to Hanover when the Reformation there threatened to become revolution and restored order. In the cities of Westphalia he strengthened the Protestant party against both the Roman Catholics and the enthusiasts, although his efforts were vain in Münster, his influence was felt in Pomerania and Mecklenburg, in Hoya, in East Friesland. Ernest's most effective work was accomplished by his restless activity for the Schmalkald League, he induced the North German cities, Bremen, Brunswick, Göttingen, others to join, he became the successful mediator when a rupture was threatened between the overcautious elector of Saxony and the headstrong Philip of Hesse.
While Ernest sometimes used harsh measures to accomplish his will, was actuated by a desire to exalt his position as ruler as well as by higher motives, yet, on the whole, he was faithful to his motto, "aliis inserviendo consumor", alternatively appearing as "aliis servio. His four sons at his death were still minors, but the Protestant Church of Lüneburg was so established that it could survive the regency and the unhappy time of the Schmalkald War, to this day the church life of Lüneburg bears the character impressed upon it by Ernest, now called Ernest the Confessor. Ernest married Sophia, daughter of Henry V, Duke of Mecklenburg and Ursula of Brandenburg, on 2 June 1528 in Schwerin, they had the following children who reached adulthood: Francis Otto, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, married Elisabeth Magdalena of Brandenburg, daughter of Joachim II Hector of
Medingen Abbey or Medingen Convent is a former Cistercian nunnery. Today it is a residence for women of the Protestant Lutheran faith near the Lower Saxon town of Bad Bevensen and is managed by the Monastic Chamber of Hanover; the current director of the abbey is the art historian Dr Kristin Püttmann. A founding legend ascribes the convent's origins to a lay brother called Johannes; the legend has it. The community was founded 1228 in Restorf am Höhbeck by Johannes and four nuns who joined him in Magdeburg, but the group did not stay there. For unknown reasons, they moved on to Plate near Lüchow and Bohndorf, before they settled in Altenmedingen, where the first buildings were consecrated on 24 August 1241; the military road passing through the convent yard presented an ever-present danger of attacks or arson, so the convent decided to move one last time, to the village of Zellensen, today's Medingen. The new church was consecrated on 24 August 1336.1479 saw the advent of the convent reforms under the influence of the devotio moderna.
Many convents at that time did not follow the Cistercian rule strictly. The Cistercian order was re-established and the prioress Margarete Puffen was made an abbess in 1494. After the reforms, a scriptorium became one of the focal points of the convent and to this day a large number of manuscripts found worldwide can be attributed to the sixteenth-century nuns of Medingen. Hymns noted down in these texts are still part of both Catholic and Protestant hymnbooks today, e.g. in the current German Protestant hymnal Evangelisches Gesangbuch EG 23 "Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ", EG 100 "Wir wollen alle fröhlich sein" and EG 214 "Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet" though they were wrongly dated to the 14th century by the music historian Walther Lipphardt. The Reformation attempted to be introduced in Medingen in 1524, was met with resistance from the nuns, they hid their confessor in the attic, publicly burned the Lutheran bible and faced the dissolution of the convent. In 1541, the Uelzen Landtag decided to ensure the economic security of Medingen and the five other convents nearby.
This was in the nobility's interests, because their unmarried daughters could benefit from the livelihood and education befitting their status. In 1542, all of the convent's goods and earnings were confiscated and contact between the nuns and their family was prohibited; the abbess, Margareta von Stöterogge, did not give in to the demands of bringing all remaining property to Celle, but rather went to Hildesheim for two years, taking the convent's archive and valuables with her. It took her brother, Nikolaus von Stöterogge, to convince her to accept the communion under both forms. In 1554, the convent became Protestant and from on, the Klosterordnung was defined by the Landesherr or territorial lord. After the Reformation had been introduced, life changed drastically: The incumbents were now allowed to marry, but had to leave the convent when they did so. In 1605, they replaced the traditional Cistercian habit with an attire in accordance with the convent order introduced by Duke William in 1574.
The Thirty Years' War left its mark on its surrounding area. A new convent order was introduced by Kurfürst George Louis in 1706. Most of the convent buildings were destroyed in a fire in January 1781, although valuable possessions like the archives and the abbesses' crosier from 1494 were able to be salvaged; the ruins were demolished in the convent re-built in the early neoclassic style. Completed in 1788, the new buildings were consecrated on 24 August. A large number of medieval manuscripts were produced in Medingen, 44 of which have survived and are conserved all over the world; the nuns enhanced the liturgy written in Latin with Low German prayers and songs, producing unique compilations of illuminated texts that were important to them as well as the noblewomen in the surrounding areas. Furthermore, the brewery, built in 1397, can still be seen today, it attests to the fact that the convent was built in the Brick Gothic style. Achten, Gerard: De Gebedenboeken van de Cistercienserinnenkloosters Medingen en Wienhausen, in: Miscellanea Neerlandica 3, 1987, pp. 173–188.
Brohmann, Friedrich: Geschichte von Bevensen und Kloster Medingen, 1928. Hascher-Burger, Ulrike / Lähnemann, Henrike: Liturgie und Reform in Kloster Medingen. Edition und Untersuchung des Propst-Handbuchs Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Lat. liturg. E. 18, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013. Heutger, Nicolaus Carl: Kloster Medingen in der Lüneburger Heide, in:'Cistercienser Chronik.' Forum für Geschichte, Literatur und Spiritualität des Mönchtums, Vol. 101, pp. 15–18 Homeyer, Joachim: 750 Jahre Kloster Medingen. Kleine Beiträge zur frühen Klostergeschichte. Uelzen, 1978. Homeyer, Joachim: Kloster Medingen, die Gründungslegende und ihre historischen Elemente, in: Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für niedersächsische Kirchengeschichte 79, pp. 9–60. Homeyer, Joachim: Kloster Medingen 1788 – 1988, 200 Jahre Neubau. Kleine Beiträge zum Jubiläum. Uelzen, 1988