The church was built at the end of the 9th century or at the beginning of the tenth century. In the eleventh century, the interior was decorated with wall paintings. At the beginning of the 12th century, a part of the village was mentioned as the property of the Benedictine monastery in Zobor. In the second quarter of the thirteenth century, too many believers forced the enlargement of the building. In the sixteenth century, the church was burned and for some time was without a roof. In the 17th century it was repaired, and in 1721 the wooden ceiling was replaced with a vault. In the interwar period the church was already neglected and destroyed. A thorough renovation took place in 1964-1965. The baroque sacristy was demolished, which was replaced by a less-fitting modern annex. In the 90s of the last century, the church once again required repairs. From 2001 to 2003, the romanesque southern portal was restored, the tower was modernized and façades were renovated.
The original pre-romanesque church was erected as a small structure consisting of a rectangular nave measuring 6.7-7 x 5.2 meters and a chancel in the shape of an irregular trapezoid, about 2.3 x 3.4 meters. The original height of the perimeter walls of the chancel, which was crowned with a barrel vault, was 5.3 meters, while the nave was at least 6.4 meters long. The nave was originally covered with a flat, wooden ceiling. The interior of the church was covered with wall polychromes already in the pre-romanesque period.
In the 13th century, the building was enlarged by adding a new, square nave with a small tower to the west. The original main entrance to the west side was than removed. The church was lit with three windows of irregular “egg-shaped” form in the south and north. A small window also existed in the eastern wall of the chancel, while on the top floor of the tower could even be a triforium, as indicated by the width of the window opening. The added nave was illuminated from the south by two small windows. Inside it, there was a gallery on the west side, supported in the ground floor by three arcades and two columns. Above the central span was the mentioned tower, which opened on the inside of the nave on three sides with arcades.
The church is probably the oldest preserved sacral building in Slovakia, and the frescoes partially preserved in the temple are one of the oldest in Europe. Unfortunately, they suffer from increased humidity. This is a consequence of the addition of a modern annex and modification of the tower, which violated the original ventilation system.
Stredoveký kostol. Historické a funkčné premeny architektúry, red. Pomfyová B., Bratislava 2015.
Tomaszewski A., Romańskie kościoły z emporami zachodnimi na obszarze Polski, Czech i Węgier, Wrocław 1974.
Website apsida.sk, Kostoľany pod Tribečom.
Website wikipedia.org, Kostolík svätého Juraja (Kostoľany pod Tribečom).