St. Stjepan Church

Dobrinj, Croatia

The Parish Church of St. Stjepan was first mentioned in the 1100 AD, in the 'Glorious Dragoslav' grant. According to the Glagolitic inscription, it was expanded in 1510. It is dominated by elements of the Baroque and late Gothic works. Initially a single nave, the parish church in the 18th century, it became a triple nave by the merging a series of side chapels, which over the centuries were built into a one nave church. Above its entrance, there is a canopy of the unique name 'cergan', and from there it overlooks much of Kvarner. There was a bell tower next to the church, but in 1720 it was distroyed by lightning and a new one was built. The new one was not built in the same place, but in a nearby old cemetery, from where it still dominates the whole area today. This bell tower suffered devastation, by the Germans during the occupation of 1944, but was rebuilt after the war.

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Unnamed Road, Dobrinj, Croatia
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Founded: 1100
Category: Religious sites in Croatia

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Hagios Demetrios

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The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.