Štvrtok na Ostrove – St James Church

History

   The church was built in the second quarter of the 13th century, and it was first recorded in 1333. At the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it underwent extensive gothic reconstruction, continued until the mid-fourteenth century and after a break in the first half of the fifteenth century. At that time, the church was extended by the southern aisle, but due to problems with the statics of the building, it had to be removed after a short time. Before 1485, as it was written on the southern portal, the loss of the southern aisle was compensated by the construction of a new northern aisle.
   The 1590 earthquake that had its epicenter in Komárno also struck the church of St. James. As a result, the northern tower was destroyed and required rebuilding. It was already carried out by Protestants who took over the church as a result of the progressive Reformation. At the end of these works, both towers were reinforced with massive buttresses, and the interior was adapted to the requirements of the new liturgy (among others pulpit was installed).
   The church remained in the hands of Calvinists until the 1750s. In the Baroque period, two porches were added to it, further modifications took place also in the second half of the nineteenth century, when a new oratory was added to the northern wall of the chancel (as a result of which the gothic pastophorium was destroyed). In the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century, renovation works were carried out, during which, among others, the neo-gothic vestibule was removed. In 2014, a comprehensive renovation of the church began, completed in 2018.

Architecture

   The original late Romanesque church was built as a single-nave structure with two western, four-sided towers and, interestingly, an advanced, polygonal presbytery, typical of Gothic buildings. In its vicinity there was a rotunda – a chapel dedicated to Holy Cross. The façades of the church were decorated with an arcaded frieze, the interior was probably illuminated by small, splayed windows, and the openings in the towers were two-lights, separated by columns. The main entrance led from the west, through the Romanesque stepped portal, the semicircular tympanum of which was decorated with a trefoil framed with a small ornament in pyramids. At the height of the cornice’s crown, in the south-eastern corner, a late-Romanesque console in the shape of a ram’s head was placed, probably serving as a protection against evil. A similar console was originally also on the opposite north-eastern side. Inside, the cross-vaulted room on the ground floor between the towers, opened onto the nave covered with a ceiling with three semicircular arcades, supported by two angular pillars.
   Probably shortly after the completion of the church, an annex on a rectangular plan was added to the southern wall of the chancel, opened to the interior with a wide arcade and probably serving as a chapel. Greater changes took place in the period from the end of the 13th century to the first half of the 14th century, when the church underwent a thorough gothic reconstruction. At that time, the original timber ceiling of the nave was replaced with a brick vault supported by two pillars, forming the two-aisle space of the nave. Modifications also included the western part of the church, where the brick gallery was rebuilt. The interior lighting of the church has been redesigned with the help of larger gothic pointed-arched windows with tracery, as well as a round window in the southern facade of the nave.
   In the first half of the fifteenth century, another aisle was added to the nave on the southern side, which from the eastern side opened onto the older late-Romanesque chapel. The new space in the interior opened onto the nave with three arcades, and its three bays were topped with cross-rib vaults. The annex, however, had static problems and probably had to be demolished shortly after its completion, with the exception of a separate part on the west side. This loss was compensated by building one more aisle before 1485, this time on the north side. The northern aisle reached from the east side to the north-west buttress of the presbytery, the shape of which was integrated into its eastern wall. It was connected to the older two-aisle nave by two wide arcades with semicircular finials. The new extension had five bays of a rib vault, and taking into account previous problems with statics, it was reinforced from the outside along its entire length with a number of buttresses. During the late Gothic reconstruction, the perimeter walls of the nave and the chancel were also significantly raised.

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bibliography:
Mencl V., Stredoveká architektúra na Slovensku, Praha 1937.

Website apsida.sk, Štvrtok na Ostrove.