Originally a Paulist Church, Varaždin church of Assumption of Mary into Heaven became a Cathedral of the newly established Diocese of Varaždin in 1997. The whole complex was built in the 17th century. The architect of the Church was George Matot, and was constructed between 1642 and 1656, when it was consecrated. A bell tower with a distinctive bulb was completed twenty years after the church. The current appearance of the Cathedral was completed in the 18th century.
The Cathedral’s facade is carved into the form of a triumphal arch with columns, gables and niches. In the central niche is a statue of Mary which was created in the 17th century. Below the niche is the Drašković Family coats of arms, who were the main donor of the Jesuit order and the Cathedral. The main altar is the largest in Varaždin, measuring 11m by 14m. In the manner of the baroque, the imitation marble columns that carry the entire altar are in fact wooden as well as the altar. At the top of the central altar is a scene of the Holy Trinity. Above the tabernacle is a relief depicting a representative image of the Last Supper by an unknown Baroque painter, with the theme of the Ascension of Mary.
The cathedral has six chapels; three on each side of the nave. The first chapel on the right hand side is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, and is adorned with images and plastic that speak of the life and merits of this Saint. The second chapel has no altar, just images of the execution of a female saint and Ignatius of Loyola; the founder of the Jesuit order. The third chapel reveals good baroque paintings by an unknown painter, which shows Jesus – the ruler of the world – and image of the Assumption.
To the left side of the nave is the sanctuary of the first chapel dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola. The central image depicts Jesus appearing in a vision to Ignatius Loyola. To the side are sculptures of St. Fabian and St. Sebastian. On the second left is a picture of the Chapel of St. Francis of Serafin. The third chapel belonged to the Draškovic Family, and is separated by beautiful wrought iron railings. It houses a richly gilded baroque altar of the Holy Cross. This depicts the sacrifice on the cross and five sculptures; Veronica, Barbara, Mary, John and Mary Magdalene.
Built along with the Cathedral was the monastery. The use for the building itself changed frequently after the prohibition of the Jesuits and the abolition of Pauline monastery in Croatia. Today it houses the Faculty of Organization and Informatics. The frescoes and stucco work on the stairs that you can see from the street are the only features to survive along with the external structure.
The Jesuits completed the construction of the complex by building of the Gymnasium. It began as a wooden building until 1651, when the single-storey corner building was built. Today, the building is the office of the Bishop Ordinary.
The Jesuits founded the School upon their arrival in Varaždin, beginning work in 1636. The School is the third oldest in the country, built immediately after those in Rijeka and Zagreb. The School has over the centuries come to symbolize the city.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.