Okoličné – St Peter’s Church


   Church of St. Peter and the Franciscan monastery were built in the years 1476 – 1492 on the site of an older gothic church, part of which was incorporated into the new building. The construction was initiated by the king Matthias Corvinus himself, probably with the intention of strengthening the position of his son John, for whom he created the title of Duke of Liptov. As a result, skilled builders from southern Germany took part in the work, using several architectural elements that were new in Hungary (e.g. buttresses’ tops bent inwards). The king assigned the task of construction to Matúš Czeczei, a zupan of eight centers in eastern and central Slovakia. After completion, at the beginning of the 16th century, the monastery received very rich furnishings, including an altar made in the workshop of the famous Paul of Levoča. At that time, its patron was the Zápolya family.
In 1565, the monastery and the church passed into the hands of Protestants. The Franciscan monks were forced to leave in 1571 and returned only in 1697. As a result of the Reformation and insurrectionary struggles, the building was devastated. In 1744, it underwent a major renovation in the baroque style. The restored temple was rededicated to Saint Peter from Alcantara.
In 1812, during the flood caused by the Vah River, the church was again badly damaged. A nationwide collection for the reconstruction of the temple was even announced. The next reconstruction was carried out in the years 1903 – 1904. Damages suffered during World War II were removed only in 1952.


   The monastery church from the end of the 15th century was built as a three-aisle hall structure with an elongated, polygonally ended chancel on the eastern side and a large northern chapel added to the nave with a width of two bays and a separate roof. From the south-east, a slender four-sided tower was erected at the chancel.
   The four-bay chancel was 15 meters long, it was three-side ended on the east, illuminated with four high windows and covered with a beautiful net vault. The four-bay nave was covered with a stellar vault, supported by six octagonal, slender pillars with square bases. The northern chapel was covered with a net vault.
   From the older church dedicated to St. Cosma and Damian a presbytery has preserved, transformed into a sacristy of the monastery church. According to some experts, the church tower could also be part of an older building, because its place on the southern wall of the chancel is very unusual.

Current state

   The church is a unique building in the Liptov region, completely different from the relatively simple sacral architecture of that area from the Gothic period. Even in all of Slovakia, it is one of the most significant and representative of the late Gothic buildings. In addition, it has been preserved in its original shape with many architectural details: arcades, stone traceries in the windows, sedilia and several portals, one of which (the southern entrance to the aisle from the cloister side) was discovered only recently. Renovation of the nave’s roof in 2010 showed that even the original late gothic roof truss made of red spruce was preserved in good condition.

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Website apsida.sk, Liptovský Mikuláš-Okoličné.