Stará Halič – St George’s Church

History

   The church was erected in the second half of the 13th century on the initiative of Dionysius, the founder of the Lossoncze family and the owner of a nearby castle. He was a Hungarian palatine, which can be explained the rich interior of the building, unusual for village churches, and the stately, long nave. Around 1350, Master Thomas, one of the descendants of Dionysius, began the Gothic reconstruction of the church, which received, among others, a new, polygonal presbytery of an early gothic shape.
   In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the interior of the church was decorated with wall paintings by a master who came from Italy or trained there, and around 1524, a late-Gothic interior reconstruction was carried out (nave vault, chancel arch). This date was immortalized in Gothic numbers 4251 on the vault. It was probably accidentally engraved by an illiterate stonemason as a mirror image of the year 1524.
   The church apparently burned down during the Turkish raid, so it got a new roof in the 1670s. A wooden belfry was built than next to the church, an example of rural architecture influenced by the Renaissance. In the 1950s, the church was poorly restored. The facades were given a non-original color and the shingle roof was replaced with a tiled roof, which caused problems with the statics of the building that was too heavily loaded. Later, in the 1960s, the original appearance was restored, and the painted medieval polychromes were restored.

Architecture

   Originally, the church consisted of a rectangular nave, a simple chancel of unknown shape, and a sacristy on the north side. The nave was covered with a wooden ceiling, and perhaps in its western part there was already a gallery. It is not certain whether two portals led to the nave, or only one, also functioning later from the south side.
   In the mid-fourteenth century, a new, polygonal ended in the east chancel was built, reinforced with buttresses, between which the spaces were filled with still early Gothic windows: very narrow and high, unusual for the Gothic period of the mid-fourteenth century. During the reconstruction, the nave was also extended to the east, and in its western part a brick gallery was built, supported on pillars with a rectangular cross-section.
   Inside the church, in the sacristy, there was a rib vault placed, similar to the western bay of the chancel. The eastern bay of the polygonal closure was covered with a six-section vault. The nave was originally crowned with a timber flat ceiling, around 1524 replaced with a late Gothic net vault. It was placed so low that part of one of the windows began to illuminate the attic. In order for the nave walls to bear the new weight, they were reinforced, like the chancel, with stepped, densely spaced buttresses.

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bibliography:
Website apsida.sk, Stará Halič.
Website wikipedia.org, Kostol svätého Juraja (Stará Halič).