Photographer's Note

Brauweiler Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery located at Brauweiler, now in Pulheim near Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, in Germany.

It was founded and endowed in 1024 by Pfalzgraf Ezzo, count palatine of Lotharingia of the Ezzonian dynasty and his wife Matilda of Saxony, a daughter of Emperor Otto II and Theophano. Ezzo and Matilda were buried here, as were their two eldest sons Liudolf, Count Palatine of Lotharingia (d. 1031) and Otto II, Duke of Swabia (d. 1047).

Richeza of Lotharingia (also called Richenza and Rixa; b. ca. 995/1000 - d. Saalfeld, 21 March 1063), was a German noblewoman by birth member of the Ezzonen dynasty and by marriage Queen of Poland. Married to Mieszko II Lambert, King of Poland, commonly referred to as Mieszko II in Poland. After she returned to Germany following the deposition of her husband in 1031, she became later a nun and today is reverenced as Blessed Richeza of Lotharingia.

Through her three known children, she became in the direct ancestress of the eastern rulers of the Piast, Rurikid and Árpád dynasties. Four of her Árpád descendants were Saints: Elisabeth, Landgravine of Thuringia, Kinga, Duchess of Kraków and Princess Margaret of Hungary, Irene of Hungary, Saint of Eastern Orthodox Church, and one was Beatificated like her: Jolanta Helena, Duchess of Greater Poland.

Probably already in 1000 during the Congress of Gniezno, was made an agreement between Bolesław I the Brave and Emperor Otto III. Among the usual political talks, was decided to close ties through a marriage. Due to the childlessness of Otto III, the seven daughters of his sister Mathilde were the potential brides for Mieszko, Bolesław I's son and heir; Richeza, was the chosen one. Richeza was buried in Köln's church of St. Maria ad Gradus and not, as she had wished, in Brauweiler. The dispute was ended in 1090 when the current Archbishop of Köln, Hermann III, ruled in favor of the monastery of Brauweiler. However, Richeza's grave remained in St. Maria ad Gradus until 1816, when was transferred to the Köln Cathedral. Her grave was placed in the chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist in a classic wooden sarcophagus. Besides the coffin, hang two medieval portraits of Richeza and Anno II, who dated from the medieval grave in St. Maria ad Gradus.

Her grave was opened multiple times after the transfer to the Köln Cathedral. In 1959 was the last opening and were showed her bones. According to witnesses, Richeza had a small and graceful stature; her collarbone showed traces of a fracture, may have been caused by falling from a horse.
The most important of Richeza's foundations was the re-building of the Abbey of Brauweiler. Her parents had founded Brauweiler, but the original church was modestly furnished, a fact who was incompatible with the territorial objectives of the Ezzonen dynasty. After the death of his brother Otto, Richeza decided that Brauweiler became in the center of Ezzonen memory. This purpose wasn't enough of the original building so Richeza built a new Abbey, which is substantially conserved until today.

On the photo, baroque part of the Abbei.
I dedicate thss photo to Frank "Buin", absent friend.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11454 W: 123 N: 29211] (137762)
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