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It was founded in 997 under Emperor Otto III. The first abbot, Gregory, who came to Burtscheid from Calabria, is sometimes said to have been the brother of Theophanu, Byzantine mother of the Emperor. He was buried beneath the altar after his death in 999, and his date of death, 4 November, was kept as a feast day until the dissolution of the abbey.
In 1018 the Emperor Henry II endowed it with the surrounding territory. Also at about this time the monastery was raised to the status of an abbey, and the dedication was changed from Saints Nicholas and Apollinaris to Saints John the Baptist and Nicholas.
In 1220/1221, under Emperor Frederick II and his chancellor, Archbishop Engelbert of Cologne, the Benedictines were evicted and replaced by Cistercian nuns who had previously been living at the Salvatorberg in Aachen, to whom the abbey's possessions were transferred. At the same time the abbey was made reichsfrei.
The abbey church was rebuilt in the mid-14th century, and again between 1735 and 1754 by the architect J.J. Couven.
In 1779, despite the refusal of permission by the council of Aachen, who by that time were responsible for local government in Burtscheid, the then abbess introduced a gambling house, and the street is still known today as Krugenofen Kasinostrasse.
Burtscheid was occupied by French troops in December 1792, and from September 1794 until 1804. They used the abbey church for the manufacture of balloons. In August 1802 the nunnery was secularised and dissolved.
The remaining abbey buildings are now used for the school and for residential and administrative purposes.
- (German) Burtscheid Town Website
- (German) Gesellschaft Burtscheid für Geschichte und Gegenwart (Burtscheid Historical and Civic Society)