Monastery church


Monastery church St. Marienthal
The monastery church, baroque on the outside, is very richly decorated in the Nazarene style inside. The entire painting of the church was renewed in 1891, when smoke damage after a fire in the nuns’ choir made renovation necessary. Especially saints and blessed of the Cistercian order are depicted on the side walls. In the side altars there are relics which are said to be from martyrs from the catacombs of Rome. For example, an inscription on the wall of the altar of St. Joseph says that “this place is dedicated to the rest of the venerable body of the martyr Decentius”, which was found in the Callistus catacombs in Rome in 1778.
The church, like all Cistercian churches, is consecrated to the Virgin Mary. The rear (western) part of the monastery church is almost dark, as the nuns’ gallery is located above the ground floor. Therefore, the view is drawn to the front from the central colourfully glazed choir window. In a kind of history painting, it depicts Mary’s ascension into heaven. Thewood-carved high altar with its holy figures of the Baptist John and Joseph, its depictions of angels and reliquaries, its towers, arcades and canopies, symbolizes the heavenly Jerusalem. It was consecrated in 1898. In the large open space between the altar and the parish pews – a special feature of the Marienthal church – there is the altars of Bernhard, Joseph and Anne.
The affiliation of the monastery within the church to individual dioceses – once Prague and now Dresden-Meissen – is indicated by the two saints Johann Nepomuk and Benno. They stand at the altar of St. Joseph.

After the flood of 1897, a carved wooden panelling over two metres high was installed, which encircles the entire church interior, including the high altar, side altars, priest’s pews, pulpit, sacristy and guest gallery. This wood panelling was completed in 1921. The main altar was redesigned in Silesian marble after the devastating flood of 2010 in 2017. The monastery church is open during the day. Interested people can take part in the divine services and prayer times of the nuns.

Literature: Zisterzienserinnenabtei St. Marienthal. Ein Führer durch das Kloster, Benno-Verlag 1991.