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Journeying Trough Slovakia 1997

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While doing genealogical research for a client in Katlovce I was told that the birth records for this village are kept in Dechtice. While getting the copy of the birth certificate I met the mayor who told me about the upcoming celebrations of their 740th anniversary of first written mention of Dechtice in a document of Hungarian King Bela IV from 1248. The celebrations will take place on November 1st in Dechtice. The Mayor told me also about the Romanesque style rotunda Roman Catholic Church of All Saints above the village. I went to see Father Michal Mikuska, whose house is right across the town hall. He took me to the church. What is interesting is that the church looks rectangular in shape from outside, however it does have shape of rotunda inside. The church was built in 1172 from bricks. It was renovated in 1741 and a bell tower was added at this time. In 1756 they added a chorus. 

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During the renovations in 1932 beautiful unique frescoes were discovered in the stucco inside and were restored. Next to the altar we can see a fragment of a bigger composition of an Eucharistic diner. Bigger fresco under the window can be split into four sections.

Christening: A priest is christening a boy with a cross. Above them is sun, moon and fish is painted under the christening pot. The whole composition is sprinkled with stars. The Christ is a word in the center of the planets of heaven and people. The fish is symbolizing ancient Christian cryptogram, and also the power of mercy.

Punishment: Two soldiers are lashing Christ with brooms. Christ has a dove on his head a symbol of the Holy Ghost.

Way of the cross: the Christ is carrying the cross and at the same time he is chained to a pole. A soldier in armor and a shield is paying respects and we can se the dove again here. This picture is also above the usual customs of similar compositions.

Crucifixion: Next to the cross we see a three of life with five branches. Sun and moon are as on the first fresco. The death of Christ on the cross has given the design a meaning for the design of the three of life with five branches symbolizing the five wounds of Christ. The fresco ends on the bottom of the right side with a fragment of a foot and a fish.

The artist has used yellow, white and red colors. The red over the time has turned into black. All situations of this fresco are mended together with the star background and the whole composition is deeply symbolic including the understanding of universe with the God being the center of everything.




Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 5, No. 3, Fall 1997
Copyright Vladimir Linder 1997 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.