I am the fifth child of five, blessed with five little miracles of my own. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a counselor, a homeschooler, a practicing (though often failing) Catholic. My life journey has been amazing. I am blessed beyond my ability to believe most days.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
The churches of Slovakia (Part I)
The first stop on our pilgrimage was the "shrine" church (Minor Basilica, actually) of Levoca (the one on the hill, Marinska Hora).
1. Marinska Hora (Marian Hill)
This is the place! I came here to pray for my children and, well, our friends from Kosice now refer to our little people as "The Children of Levoca". God is so good!
Outside the main church
Pat and our Children of Levoca
Our Lady of Levoca and the crucifix, which I adore. We don't have them quite like that here.
If you walk a little ways down the parking area from the main church, you will come upon a trail that leads to a very long set of stairs. Very steep but well worth the trip.
The stairs lead to Mary's Chapel. This is where my pilgrimage truly ended.
In 2004 it was here that I came to pray for my babies. 9+ years later, I came to give thanks and ask for help and healing.
(Inside the chapel is kept many of the items left by other pilgrims. It is truly a moving site)
Beside the chapel is a cross where pilgrims leave their offerings. I had brought some blessed lavender from a friend and placed it at the base of the cross.
Just down the trail a bit is the Mary grotto where the spring runs up hill (we are at the top of the mountain at this point). There is a spigot where people come to drink the water and pray.
I dumped my water bottle on the flowers and filled it up. Thank goodness for G-man. I made it through every security checkpoint with the water because they assumed it was for him. It's now resting safely in my refrigerator ;0)
2. St. Jakuba (St. James) - the main church in the town of Levoca. It was a block from our house.
You can't take pictures inside the church and the main altar is being restored so all of these photos come from here.
This church is a functioning parish and has held masses for OVER 700 YEARS. That, to me, is an amazing thing. Standing in a building that was there before OUR COUNTRY even existed. Wow. Mind-blowing.
The altar was carved by Master Pavol and is the highest Gothic altar in the world.
The wings of the altar piece can be closed to reveal beautiful paintings from the crucifixion of Christ. This is on display during Lent.
The church has 17 altars in addition to the main altar, including the Altars of St. Ann, St. Nicholas and Nino's favorite, St. Michael the Archangel.
My favorite is the Altar of St. Elizabeth, in front of which is the baptismal font in the form of a Gothic chalice. Beautiful.
3. Starý kostol minoritov
This church was literally two buildings away. Here is the description:
At the end of Kláštorskej Street stands the Church of the minoritov, also called gymnaziálnym Church. Comes from the first half of the 14th century and its construction used money provided by magister Knight Donč1309 in 2006. It is one of the largest churches in Slovakia, which is a superb example of the art of Gothic building. It built the famous "building a smelter. In 1671 the ship of the Church was rebuilt in the Baroque style, however elements of Gothic architecture, which are preserved in the presbytery are the perfect, stunning kružby Windows, heads, feet, sedílie paintings. Mohutnosťou stands out for the main altar with Gothic statue of Madonna from the 15th century with Baroque statues of Jesuit Saints and Kings and. Sakristii is located in the painting of the first half of the 14th century, depicting the crucifixion, above the portal to the sacristy is the death and assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I was so bummed that it wasn't open when we were there.