Poniky – St Francis Church

History

   The church was erected in the first quarter of the 14th century. The building permit in the property of Peter and Thomas, the sons of judge Filip Doncz of Zvolen, was issued by the archbishop of Esztergom, Thomas Bakócz in 1310. Already in 1325, the church was a chapter of the Franciscans from the monastery of nearby Ľupča, and the Franciscan motifs were also reflected in the fresco decoration from around 1380 and 1415. The church initially wore the call of Saint John, it is not certain when there was a change to St. Francis.
  
Around the year 1470, the southern window of the chancel was extended, and several architectural elements were painted red. An important intervention in the appearance of the church was the late-gothic reconstruction from around 1490. A lateral chapel from the north side of the building was added. The newly built chapel was also decorated with wall paintings. During this period, the western portal was also created.
  
During the Reformation, the temple was used alternately by Protestants and Catholics. The worse period for the church and village came in the second half of the 17th century, when Poniky was burnt twice by Turkish troops (1663 and 1678). In 1709, the church was finally handed over to Catholics. From 1752 to 1764 baroque reconstruction was carried out. The church received a new interior, and the nave and chapel were vaulted again. Gothic nave windows and the southern portal were walled up, and new openings were pierced. Small adjustments were made in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1961, medieval polychromies were discovered, and ten years later work began on the renovation of the temple, completed in 1992.

Architecture

   The church was built in a raised position, as a typical village temple of that period. The simple structure consisted of a longitudinal nave, a square chancel and a northern sacristy. The late-gothic reconstruction also added the chapel from the northern side. The southern portal came from the first phase of the construction, and the church has a western and internal portal to the sacristy. The chancel and the sacristy had a rib vault. On the northern side of the presbytery there is a stone pastophorium from the beginning of the 16th century, and in the sacristy there is an original gothic basin with an outlet outside the northern wall. A valuable monument is also preserved medieval polychrome.

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bibliography:
Website apsida.sk, Poniky.