Partizánska Ľupča – St Matthew’s Church

History

   The church was built in the second half of the 13th century. Already in 1320, it was enlarged towards the north, and in the second half of the fifteenth century, the chancel and the sacristy were rebuilt adding new vaults. Between 1550 and 1554, a massive tower appeared, although it is possible that the lower part of the wall was built in the 13th century. In the years 1620-1630, when the church served Protestants, there was a great reconstruction during which the space of two aisles was unified by adding a renaissance vault, which supported two pillars. At the same time, a porch was added to the southern entrance, and the whole was surrounded by a wall with arrowslits. At the end of the seventeenth century, the temple returned to Catholics and there was a change of the call to Saint Matthew. In the eighteenth century, the tower was transformed into a baroque. In 1855, the interior of the church was painted by the famous Slovak painter Józef Božetech Klemens, but already in 1856 the building was destroyed by a fire. At the end of the 19th century, neo-gothic windows were built on the tower.

Architecture

   The building in its original appearance was an early Gothic, single-nave church with a polygonal presbytery and a sacristy on the north side. In 1320, the northern aisle was added, and at the end of the Middle Ages, a tower was added from the west side, possibly based on an older, lower structure from the 13th century. It was crowned with a breastwork mounted on corbels protruding from the face of the walls.
   The original church was built in a style in which late Romanesque and early Gothic features intertwined. For example, the main entrance to the building, located in the southern wall of the nave, was equipped with a stepped portal flanked by half-columns, but topped with a pointed archivolt. The windows were very narrow, but were divided by shafts into two clearances.
   Inside the chancel, reinforced with buttresses, and in the sacristy, rib vaults were installed, while in the chancel, ribs were mounted on corbels in the form of a human face or a relief of a cross. The classic cross arrangement in the chancel had a vault in the western bay, while in the eastern closure, the cross arrangement was enriched with three additional ribs, the two extreme ones with one more ribs (connecting with the cross ribs), and the middle one split into two in the middle of its length. As a result, a very decorative crowning of the distinguished part of the chancel above the main altar was obtained.

Current state

   The church has largely retained its medieval appearance, with the exception of the transformed interior of the nave and the conspicuous helmet of the tower. The southern portal to the nave, the portal to the sacristy and the late Gothic portal on the west side of the tower have been preserved from the Gothic period. The interiors of the chancel and sacristy have original rib vaults. Originally there was a Gothic altar of St. Stanislaus from 1459, which today is in the collection of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava.

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bibliography:
Website apsida.sk, Partizánska Ľupča.