Sabinov – St John’s Church

History

   The Gothic church of St. John the Baptist was built on the site of an older temple from the second half of the 13th century. Probably at the end of the fourteenth century, the townspeople founded a church tower, after which the western wall of the early Gothic church was demolished and the nave was extended to the tower wall. In the immediate vicinity of the parish church, in 1398 the construction of the cemetery chapel of the Virgin Mary was also started. In the 60s of the 15th century, the presbytery part of the church was rebuilt, while at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the nave was enlarged by two additional aisles. At the beginning of the 16th century, vaults began to be gradually installed in the church, first under the guidance of master Mikuláš Krompholz, who was then replaced by master John of Prešov. In 1523, a gallery was erected inside the nave, and more or less in this period, a southern porch with a vault decorated with Renaissance polychromes. In 1537 the church tower was modified. In the following centuries, the church was hit by fires several times, but it was always rebuilt with the efforts of the townspeople. In 1992 it was completely renovated.

Architecture

   The original church from the 13th century was a single-nave structure, with chancel in the east, narrower than the nave and square in the plan. At the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries, a four-sided tower was built on the west side. When it was completed, as it was built about 1 meter away as a free-standing structure, the walls of the nave, after the western wall had been demolished, were extended to the west and, at the same time, due to the raising of the ground level, were raised.
   In the 60s of the 15th century, the presbytery of the church was extended. A polygonal closure to the former square choir was added, the original early Gothic pastophorium of the dismantled eastern wall was secondarily placed on the northern wall next to the sacristy entrance, and a new rectangular pastophorium with metal grille was installed in the north-eastern wall of the polygon. The expanded chancel was covered with ceramic tiles.
   After the expansion of the nave from the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, a Gothic, three-aisle building was finally erected with a lofty four-sided tower on the axis of the west facade and a polygonal, strongly elongated, three-bay chancel on the eastern side, surrounded from the outside with buttresses. On the north side, in the corner between the aisle and the choir, there was a sacristy.

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bibliography:
Harčar P., Uličný M., Predbežné výsledky archeologického výskumu kostola Sv. Jána Krstiteľa v Sabinove, “Archaeologia historica”, vol. 32, 2007.