|SLOVENIJA||GRADOVI :: CASTLES||ŽIČKA KARTUZIJA|
The Žiče Charterhouse
Žička kartuzija. The monastery was established in the mid-twelfth century as the 19th Carthusian monastery and the first Carthusian monastery out of the traditional "carthusian countries". Remains of the monastery Žička kartuzija are located 4 km south-west from Slovenske Konjice.
The Žiče Charterhouse (Latin: Domus in Valle Sancti Johannis) was a Carthusian monastery or charterhouse in the narrow valley of Žičnica Creek, also known as Saint John the Baptist Valley (Slovene: dolina svetega Janeza Krstnika) after the church dedicated to John the Baptist at the monastery near the village of Žiče (German: Seiz, formerly Seitz) in the Municipality of Slovenske Konjice in northeastern Slovenia.
The Žiče Charterhouse was founded between 1155 and 1165 by Ottokar III of Styria, the Margrave of Styria,and his son Duke Ottokar IV of Styria, of the house of Traungau, both of whom were buried there.The monastery was settled by Carthusian monks from the Grande Chartreuse in France (Ecclesia Maior), which also financed the construction, led by Master Aynard, and influenced the arrangement of the premises. As with French charterhouses, two monasteries were built here: the upper one (the Žiče Charterhouse), where the cloister monks lived according to the strict rule of the Carthusians; and the lower one in the village of Špitalič for the lay monks, who spent less time in prayer and worked as craftsmen, supporting the upper monastery and contributing to its prosperity. The monastery church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist was consecrated on 24 October 1190 by Patriarch Berthold of Aquileia.
The following legend is a pseudoetymology of the monastery name. When the Margrave of Styria Ottokar III returned from the Second Crusade, he wished for some relaxation and therefore visited Leopold from Gonobitz to go hunting on Mount Konjice (Slovene: Konjiška gora). Coincidentally he came to a shady hollow in the south part of the mountain, where suddenly an extremely white hind appeared in front of him. He followed it as bewitched on his horse, but because he was not able to catch it he fell asleep in the shade on the hot summer afternoon (on St. John the Baptist's day). A man in a white fur coat appeared in his dream and revealed himself as St. John the Baptist, ordering him to build a monastery on this place. At that moment a rabbit jumped into Ottokar's lap because it was frightened by the hunter's screaming. The saint's image disappeared and Ottokar shouted: "A rabbit, look, a rabbit!" Because of this rabbit the monastery was called "Seiz Charterhouse" (the Slovenian pronunciation of rabbit, zajec, is written Seiz in German) for a long time and has the initial "S" in its coat of arms.
Soon the monastery became a center of culture and politics in its territory and far beyond. The Carthusian Prior General from Žiče, Stephen Maconi, a friend of Saint Catherine of Siena connected the politically and ecclesiastically divided continent of Europe from this place. In the 14th century the monastery had a library of over 2,000 volumes (mostly manuscripts) which was larger than all but the Vatican library.
Žiče manuscripts: the Carthusian order never preached religion through the spoken word, but took to spreading it in writing, accepting into the order only people with a good knowledge of foreign languages (mostly German, Latin, and Greek) and exemplary writing skills. They devoted a large part of their lives to producing precise copies of existing texts as well as creating new ones on a wide range of topics, from theology to astronomy, from practical sciences to those more literary in nature. Among the texts still in existence are many notable works which are part of the intellectual heritage of this region and the wider Middle-European sphere.
source: wikipedia, quoted april 2nd 2014.