Koceľovce – St Bartholomew’s Church


   The church was probably founded in the first quarter of the 14th century. At that time it was probably a single-nave construction with a polygonal chancel, which in the second half of the fourteenth century was expanded. The interior of the church was richly decorated with valuable frescoes in the years 1360 – 1380.
   During the Reformation, the building was taken over by Protestants who used it until 1736, in the meantime covering the entire interior with white paint and raising a gallery in the nave.
The last major reconstruction of the church took place in 1819, when the flat ceiling of the nave was transformed and the porch was added. Unfortunately, also the original windows were transformed into larger and styleless. In the years 1894-1895 in the chancel István Groh discovered frescoes, which then restored. The roof of the tower gained its present appearance at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1976, further works were carried out, during which further frescoes were discovered in the church’s nave.


   The original church was an orientated, single-nave building with a polygonal chancel in the east and a sacristy added to it from the north. Alternatively, the original chancel could have been quadrilateral, and expanded in the second half of the fourteenth century to a higher, polygonal form. Yet another hypothesis indicates the original existence of a small chapel with a polygonal end, which after some time was to be raised and enlarged by a long nave and a northern sacristy. Probably already in the fourteenth century there was a tower with a relatively rare, square plan changing into an octagonal in the upper part. The walls of the church were probably raised, as evidenced by the extremely low location of gothic windows in the chancel and traces of an older vault.
   Communication in the church was provided by three gothic portals: the main one on the south side of the nave, the smaller one in the sacristy, and another, saddle one on the ground floor of the tower. The original windows had a pointed arch form, in the presbytery they were high, but relatively narrow, with two-light traceries, splayed on the outside. The nave was illuminated from the south by single-light windows with trefoil tracery; a single window with a trefoil crown also illuminated the sacristy.
   The interior of the chancel in the second half of the fourteenth century was covered with a cross-rib vault in the western bay and a six-part vault in the eastern clouser. Together with the walls, it were covered with colorful polychromes depicting the Marian – Christological cycle, the paintings of which the artist presented in an original way in several cases. Among the most remarkable frescoes was the scene of the crucifixion and burial in the tomb, where he was able to masterfully portray the deep sorrow and pain of the three Marys after Jesus’ death. The nave was also covered with paintings at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. Originally, it was covered with a wooden ceiling or an open roof truss, while the sacristy with a barrel vault.

Current state

   The preserved to this day church, was partially transformed in the early modern period, with the nave being the most affected. Despite this, three gothic portals have survived in the church, including one with forged doors to the sacristy from the fourteenth century. In the nave there is one original, but bricked up window, in the presbytery you can see gothic windows with tracery and a stone baptismal font, but the greatest treasures of the church are medieval frescoes from the 14th century. The church now serves the local Evangelical parish. In recent years, works on the renovation of wall paintings have begun.

show this monument on map

return to alphabetical index

Website apsida.sk, Koceľovce.