23 October 2021

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
147, the Franciscan Church, Bratislava

The Franciscan Church is the oldest surviving religious building in the Old Town of Bratislava (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today, the Church Calendar commemorates one of the key figures in the New Testament, Saint James the Brother of the Lord.

Before the day begins, I am taking a little time this morning for prayer, reflection and reading. Each morning in the time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

My theme for these few weeks has churches in the Franciscan (and Capuchin) tradition, and concludes this morning (23 October 2021) with photographs from the Franciscan Church in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

Inside the Franciscan church in Bratislava (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Bratislava has more than 50 churches, cathedrals, chapels and places of worship, including the Franciscan Church in front of the Arcadia Hotel, where I stayed two years ago (November 2019).

This Gothic church, dating from the 13th century, is the oldest surviving religious building in the Old Town of Bratislava. It is said it was built by King Ladislaus IV of Hungary to commemorate his victory over King Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1278. It was built in the Gothic style and dedicated by King Andrew III of Hungary in 1297.

The Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I was elected the King of Hungary in this church in 1526. During the coronation of the Habsburg emperors as Kings of Hungary in Bratislava, they used this church to knight nobles in the Order of the Golden Spur.

The church was damaged several times by fire and earthquake and only a small part of the original church still stands. It was refurbished in the Renaissance style in the 17th century and in the baroque style in the 18th century.

The Chapel of Saint John the Evangelist, dating from the second half of the 14th century, is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Bratislava. This chapel, modelled after Sainte Chapelle in France, includes the crypt of the Jakubovec family.

The main altar is flanked by statues of Saint Stephen and Saint Emeric, dating from 1720-1730. Two side altars are dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua. Other side altars are dedicated to the Nativity, Our Lady of Sorrows, Saint Anne and Saint Barbara.

The rococo pulpit, from 1756, is decorated with reliefs representing Saint Francis receiving the stigmata, Saint Francis talking to the birds, and Moses. The rood loft, built in 1670, is supported by Tuscan pillars and holds the organ.

Relics in the church include the body of Saint Reparat, a fourth century deacon who was martyred in Nola, near Naples, in 353, when his tongue was cut out and his right hand cut off. His body was moved from Rome to Bratislava in 1769.

The rococo pulpit in the church dates from 1756 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Mark 3: 31-35 (NRSVA):

31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ 33 And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ 34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

The main altar is flanked by statues of Saint Stephen and Saint Emeric (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (23 October 2021) invites us to pray:

Let us pray for farmers and those who work in agriculture. May they have bountiful harvests and use their land sustainably.

A monumental cross outside the church (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The Franciscan Church in Bratislava at night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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