The short story of the Church of Viziváros, (former Jesuit church) dedicated to Saint Ignatius Loyola

Jesuits appeared in Esztergom soon after the end of the Ottoman Rule and they built a convent with the help of Archbishop György Széchenyi and also a church dedicated to Saint Ignatius Loyola which was built - according to some assumptions - at the place of a medieval church. The construction was started in 1728 on the basis of the plans of Petrus Ross and the church was consecrated in 1738 by the Bishop of Vác, count Károly Althann. The high altar and the six side-altars destroyed during the Second World War were prepared between 1735 and 1737 by a Jesuit sculptor, Bernát Baumgartner.

 

Inner view of the church before Second World War and after the bombing in 1945

 

 

After the disbandment of the order in 1773, the church became Pauline and later Benedictine property; finally in 1778 it was donated to Archbishop József Batthyány by Maria Theresa. It became parish-church of Viziváros at this time and the Archbishop had the mediaeval Saint Stephen's church (Berényi str. 3) transformed into its clergy-house. The two facade towers were built at this time on the basis of the plans of Ferenc Feigler to the church which was originally built without towers. However, it received its current steeple only later, around 1870. Prince Primate Sándor Rudnay moved back to Esztergom in 1820. Since this year, the church dedicated to Saint Ignatius Loyola served also as an archiepiscopal cathedral until 1856 when the Basilica was consecrated. In 1846, the interior of the church was repainted and also the high altar-piece - prepared by Martino Altomonte in 1737 - was restored. The captiular sacristy was built to the southern side of the church at this time. During its construction the statue group Helping Virgin Mary- prepared in 1740 in memory of the plague epidemic of 1739- was transferred. Today it can be found in front of the church.

 

The ground-plan and engraving of the church in 1946 (drawings of Dezső Várnai)

 

In 1944 the church was bumped repeatedly, its vaultage caved in for the most part, its inner baroque furniture, pulpit and organ were destroyed. The leader of the royal castle’s constructions, Dezső Várnai prepared restoration plans after the survey of the church. Finally, the restoration of the church in its current form took place between 1957 and 1958 with the help of the International Confederation of Catholic Organizations for Charitable and Social Action and congregation’s benefactions. Its marble high altar was completed in 1958. The last inner renewal of the church took place in 1996 and the complete external renewal was finished in autumn 2013. A certified true copy of the picture of the Tearful Virgin Mary of Nagyszombat (Trnava) can be found on one of the side-altars of the church. Both Hungarian and Slovak believers hold it in high esteem.

 

Parish office: St Peter and St Paul Parish, IV. Béla str. 3., Esztergom

Holy Mass each Sunday at 9:00 am

Information: www.evizivaros.hu