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Church of the Holy Trinity - Žilina

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The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (or folk parish church) is a Roman Catholic parish church in the historic center of Žilina. It is an important monument on the border of a monument reservation. It is located on the eastern edge of the historic city center, above A. Hlinka Square, on Horný val Street. In 2008, the church became a cathedral - the diocesan church of the Žilina diocese.

Church of the Holy Trinity - Žilina

The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (or folk parish church) is a Roman Catholic parish church in the historic center of Žilina. It is an important monument on the border of a monument reservation. It is located on the eastern edge of the historic city center, above A. Hlinka Square, on Horný val Street. In 2008, the church became a cathedral - the diocesan church of the Žilina diocese.

The first written mention of the church dates from 1400. [2] From the 13th century, Žilina Castle stood near - and partly on the site of the current church - about which we have written reports from 1318 to 1454. The building was first mentioned as a church in 1423, then still dedicated to the Virgin Mary. . [3] The change of patronage took place later - at the end of the 16th century, when in the middle of the century the church was twice taken by Podmanickí (1540, 1548) and turned into a fortress. The very position of the church near the town unit probably respected the new fact, when the older Church of St. Štefan Kráľ did not have enough population, it was quite far from the city and served the rural population concentrated in the surrounding settlements.

Church of the Holy Trinity in Žilina with part of the square.

Around 1530, the then owner of Žilina, Burian Světlovský of Vlčnov, had a tower built next to the church as a fortress. [3] In 1540, Rafael Podmanický (+ 1559) completed this construction. It was originally named New Tower (today's Burian's Tower).

In the middle of the 16th century, the militants of the robber knights Ján Podmanický (+ 1545) and his brother Rafael twice occupied and burned Žilina and rebuilt the church into a fortress. [3] Later, the owner of the town, Mikuláš Dersffy, had it rebuilt and the church again served the church's needs. The then bishop of Nitra Zachariáš Rohožník-Mošovský (1542 - 1587) consecrated it, but already as the Church of the Holy Trinity.

In 1678, the church burned down completely during a fire [2], and even the bells on the New Tower melted. The church was restored in 1687 by the landowner from Žilina, the palatine Pavol Esterházy, and in 1690 it was restored by the Jesuits.

Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk on the west side of the church was added in 1762. Its main purpose was to place the tomb of God. At that time, both towers - the tower of the parish church and the New Tower - received the same Baroque roofs and put a cross on the tower of the church.

A huge fire destroyed almost the whole of Žilina on June 21, 1848. The roof of the church burned down, both towers and the entire interior of the church. Two small bells remained on the church's clock tower. The cross fell from the tower of the parish church and fell over the roof and vault to the crypts, where the coffins began to burn. A ruin remains of the parish church. [2] During the fire, the three largest bells on the New Tower melted. The work of destruction was completed by an earthquake on January 15, 1858. During this fire, they saved the statue of the Virgin Mary from the church. They transferred her to the church in Rosina and soon to the church of St. Nicholas in Višňov, where she remained permanently. This was probably the reason why the people of Žilina make a pilgrimage to this once their statue every year.

The destroyed church was reconstructed by Žilina's dean and pastor Andrej Lemeš with the generous help of the Nitra canonical lecturer Juraj Tvrdý (1780 - 1865) and Žilina's postman Štefan Tvrdý (1788 - 1862) and Banská Bystrica grandmaster Juraj Budatínský, according to the plans of important painter and painter of the Banská Bystrica grammar school, Jozef Božetech Klemens (1817 - 1883), who previously worked in the grammar school in Žilina. From this author also come the altar paintings that are in the church to this day.

Another fire broke out in 1886, which again damaged the newly renovated church - the roof burned down. [2] However, the parish bells were saved. In 1888, both towers - the tower of the parish church and the New Tower - received new roofs. The character that the tower still has today was given during the reconstruction in 1890. According to the largest bell on it, which weighed 2,336 kg, it was then named Burian's Tower.

The First World War also marked the churches of Žilina. In August 1917, all three bells from Burian's Tower were used for the production of military equipment. It was not until 1924 that this tower received six new bells. On this occasion, there was a big celebration in Žilina on August 15 - Andrej Hlinka (1864 - 1938) consecrated the bells, which were pulled to the tower that day. The parish church also received a new organ, made by the company Bratia Rieger in Krnov, in 1936.

In 1941, the parish office acquired a marble statue of St. for the facade of the church. Anny, whose author was the academic sculptor Fraňo Štefunko (* 1903) from Turčianske St. Martin.

In 1941 and 1942, they completed the construction of the Burian Tower. [2] At that time, they made a new walkway on it with columns that connect the arches.

Construction

Sculpture of St. Cyril and Methodius on the balustrade under the church

The original church probably had the character of a three-nave Romanesque basilica. After reconstruction, it has a Renaissance character. [2] The single-nave building ended in a semicircular apse in the east and a 51-meter-high tower in the west. The painting on the main altar represents the Holy Trinity and dates from 1697. It was painted by Jozef B. Klemens in 1870. Another painting by this author, the Virgin Mary, is located on the left altar together with the statue of St. Joseph and St. Florian and on the right side altar is the image of the Crucifixion. [2] At the entrance to the church is a statue of St. Anny Fraňa Štefunka.

The church has a memorial plaque commemorating the reconstruction of the building in 1942. In 2000, a sculpture of St. was unveiled under the parish church. Cyril and Methodius by sculptor Ladislav Berák.

Burian's Tower

Another dominant feature of the town is the Burian Tower, 46 m high. It serves as a bell tower, it is ringed three times a day and before the service. This Renaissance building was built around 1530 by the then owner of Žilina, Burian Světlovský from Vlčnov. The prismatic multi-storey tower is divided by small windows that have Gothic cornices. During the renovation of the Roman Catholic church in 1890, this tower also acquired its present-day character; in 1941, a new observation deck was built.

The view of both towers from Andrej Hlinka Square is the most typical for Žilina, it is a symbol of Žilina. It very often appears on postcards, various publications and postage stamps, which were published in 1997.

Archaeological research

The history of the church was only clarified by archaeological research, which was carried out in the area south of the sanctuary in October - November 2000 and April to November 2001. The research area was limited to the immediate surroundings of the church and the probe allowed by the city was only 5.5 x 11 m. Nevertheless, in this small space it was possible to capture and explore the foundations of older sacral buildings that preceded the current parish church.

The level of older foundations ranged from 40 - 50 cm at their surface to over 300 cm at foundation joints from today's ground level. Based on the findings of the research, it was clear that there are at least two or three construction phases of the older church, which originally had not a polygonal or semicircular, but a rectangular shrine. Its southern half protruded into the space next to the current sanctuary and the other half is located inside the polygonal sanctuary. The breach of the southern wall of the building, sometimes shortly after its construction, forced not only its extension by 100 - 110 cm to the south, but also its strengthening by a massive pillar, which had a foundation joint more than 100 cm deeper than the southern wall of the sanctuary. In the middle of the length of the southern wall of the rectangular sanctuary, they added another similar pillar to apparently prevent its re-damage.

Chapel

It should be noted that between the outer wall of the southern wall of the sanctuary and the pillars, there was a clear building creed, ie they were not built at the same time, but in a certain time sequence. Inside the older sanctuary there was also a crypt, which at the time of the construction of the present polygonal sanctuary they filled with cast masonry, because directly on its crown stands the southern wall of the sanctuary. In the body of the crypt were found secondary masonry parts of the altar canteen made of red limestone, which was probably part of an older sacral building. A large stone link with a plastic decorative motif appeared in the corner of the second pillar, which may come from the portal of the older church. In the middle of the foundation of the southern wall of the sanctuary of the older church, a building cessary was found and in its outer part a stone article of Romanesque profiling was masonry, which may also come from an older building.

Around the discovered foundations, 63 tombs, dated with coins from the beginning of the 17th to the end of the 18th century, were examined. Older graves placed in the Z - V direction, ie with the head on the west side, were without finds, resp. only shards dated to the 15th century were found in and near them. The deepest buried graves lay on the destruction of the southern wall of the older sanctuary, so it is probable that it must have come to it before the 15th century, at the earliest during the 14th century. The present church stands directly on the foundations discovered during archaeological research. On the eastern side of the rectangular sanctuary of the older church, an additional semicircular apse was found, which became part of the older building sometime in the late 13th to early 14th century. The junction of the apse and the rectangular sanctuary is strengthened by the aforementioned massive pillar, which they had to build only after the apse was built, because its northern wall is attached to the southern wall of the apse and the southeast corner of the rectangular sanctuary. The time sequence of building the foundations found during the research is probably as follows: in the middle of the 13th century. they built a single-nave church with a rectangular sanctuary, similar to that built by the Premonstratensian monks in Turc (Martin, Kláštor pod Znievom, Sučany).

After 1270, from which there is information about the destruction of Žilina, they expanded the existing building to the south by 100 - 110 cm, which was found during the research that the rectangular sanctuary was rebuilt at least once. After 1300, when Žilina was already a town (for the first time it is documented in a document from 1312) and German guests from Tešín settled permanently in the town, they added a semicircular apse similar to those known from several churches in Silesia. Only then did the abutment pillars be added to the south wall of the older sanctuary to prevent it from being broken. The current parish church is a three-nave basilica with a polygonal presbytery and a similar church was built in Liptovský Mikuláš sometime after 1300. On the northern wall of the present sanctuary there are Anjou lilies in a strip about 50 cm below the preserved crown wall. These were first painted here during the reign of the Anjou family in Hungary, ie between 1308 and 1387. Karol Róbert granted Žilina the first written privileges, Ľudovít I. granted Žilina the right to fairs, and the Slovaks in Žilina the Privilege of having equal representation in the city council. like the Germans. In a document from 1384, Queen Mary admitted to the inhabitants of Žilina to use the Magdeburg law of the town of Krupiny and thus at the same time limited the rights of the hereditary mayor.

For all three rulers, Anjou lilies could be painted on the crown of the shrine. It is probable that the current parish church stood in the 14th century. although it is not explicitly mentioned until the first third of the 15th century. Žilina had in the 14th century. about 700 inhabitants and together with the service and auxiliary staff in the burgher houses 800 - 900 inhabitants, who probably could no longer suit the single-nave church. Žilina, as a town, had to begin to take shape before the first written record of it in 1312.

The town seal, where the main symbol is a double-armed cross, taken from the official emblem of the Hungarian kings of the Arpads, says that this must have happened during their reign before 1301.

Updated on: 1.9.2021

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Church of the Holy Trinity - Žilina
Žilina
Region: Žilinský
District: Žilina
Area: Horné Považie
 49.224247, 18.740827

Žilina

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