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Photographer's Note

The Franciscan monks had a very important role in the Vukovar area through many centuries and they left a permanent mark, not only because of their religious teachings but also for education and the cultural development of the area. The Franciscans have been in this area as early as the medieval period, when there were seven Franciscan Monasteries in the Vukovar County.The work of the Franciscans was especially important during the Ottoman dominion, because they remained with their congregations through that period. Immediately after the war for liberation from the Ottomans, the Franciscans have returned to their old counties and founded their residences and continued to work diligently to this day. In 1723, Nesselrod, the Bishop of Pecs, allowed the Franciscans to build a church and a monastery in Vukovar. That is when the construction of the monumental Franciscan complex, the oldest and the most recognisable structure of the baroque Vukovar, began. The essential sections of this complex were completed during the 13 years of its construction, but due to later additions of floors to the monastery, the construction continued until the end of the 18th century. Around 1760, Ambrozije Janković painted the oil paintings at the church altar. The Franciscan Monastery in Vukovar with the church of Saint Filip and Jakov gained its final appearance after the historicist renovation and the expansion of the church from 1896 to 1897, which was done according to the plans by the architect R. Jordan. That is when the initial single-nave church was expanded in length and width with two side naves chapels.The Franciscan Monastery in Vukovar was a nursery of faith, education, and culture. The Franciscans were the immediate providers of elementary school education for Catholic youth. In 1733 the administration of the Franciscan province has established a provincial college of philosophy in the Vukovar monastery and it remained active for fifty years. One of the famous lecturers at the Franciscan School of Philosophy was a man from Vukovar, Fra Josip Janković. Thanks to his influence in Rome, he received the body of Saint Bono the Martyr from Pope Benedict XIV, which was moved to Vukovar and laid to rest at the Franciscan church of Saint Filip and Jakov. From 1804 to 1900, with longer and shorter interruptions, the college of theology was active in the monastery.The hard working Franciscans have been gathering valuable art through the centuries: paintings, statues, archival data, and liturgical plates and cups. The rich and very valuable monastery library, with collections that made it one of the most valuable old libraries in Croatia, owned 17 000 tomes, and the monastery treasury held rich silver and gold plated artistic liturgical plates and cups made from the 16th to the 20th century. Artist paintings by baroque and later masters decorated altars, walls of the church, and rooms in the monastery.Until the destruction during the Homeland War, when the church was destroyed and the Franciscans driven away, the Franciscan Monastery with the church of Saint Filip and Jakov were the oldest preserved baroque monument and the oldest building in Vukovar in general. The complex is restored today and it is registered as a cultural monument of category A. The restoration was done using the funds donated by the Zagreb County.The church in Vukovar, with the length of 58 metres, is the third largest church in Croatia, after the cathedrals in Zagreb and Đakovo.

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Additional Photos by Nikola Nadas (NickVu) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 11 W: 0 N: 180] (187)
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