The St. Mauro Abbot Page

The History of St. Mauro Abbot Parish

 

-Composed by Father Ivan Crnek-

-Translated by Mr. Edward Spehar-



     The parish boundaries of Saint Mauro Abbot (opat), and the municipal boundaries of the district of Bosiljevo have changed over the course of their long histories. The Saint Mauro parish currently encompasses the settlements of Liplje, Rim and Zdihovo, which are not members of the municipality of Bosiljevo. The settlements of Vodena Draga, Umol, Spehari, Podumol, Soline, Grabrk, Dani, Malik, Matese and Otok na Dobri fall within the municipality of Bosiljevo but are not within the parish boundaries of St. Mauro. Settlements that are common to both Saint Mauro Abbot and the municipality of Bosiljevo include: Pribanjci, Sela, Jancani, Spahici, Milani, Johi, Glavica, Kasuni, Bosanci, Fratrovci, Dugace, Potok, Vrhova Gorica, Laslavici, Bec, Lisicina Gorica, Korenic Brdo, Kraljevo Selo, Skoblic Brdo, Biturajci, Resnik, Fuckovac, Bosiljevo, Varos, Krc, Hrsina, Strgari, Liposcaki, Rendulici, Podrebar and Novo Selo.
 
     The Church of St. Mauro Abbot of Bosiljevo was first referred to in the year 1334 by Ivan Archdeacon, who mentioned it in his manuscript describing the Zagreb Diocese. This makes it one of the oldest churches in Croatia. The Turk's onslaught between the years 1582 and 1583, left a path of death and destruction as they burned everything from Lesce to Pribanjci on the Kupa River. Many believed that the Church of St. Mauro fell victim to the devastation of these invasions yet it is uncertain exactly when. Old documents and manuscripts, which could support the claim are either lost, destroyed, or not yet found. In this same document, Ivan Archdeacon also writes about the existence of another church in the area, the Church of St. Mary in Gradac. The exact location of the Church as described in this document is questionable, since it does not specify whether the church was in Gradisce at Bosiljevo, Gradisce at Lesce or Gradisce at Lipa. The manuscript of Ivan Archdeacon is the only existing document describing the history of the parish in that era.
 
     The next document describing the history of the area deals with the sixteenth century. This document mentions a Castle that is known to have been in existence since the fifteenth century. The Counts Frankopans built the second parish church, consecrated on the 23rd of January, 1636. It is unknown if the church suffered the same destructive fate by the Turks during subsequent attacks on the region around Bosiljevo.
 
     It is said that in the year 1531, Count Vuk Frankopan built a Dominican monastery alongside the church of St. Mary in Gradisce. This further supports speculation that the church of St. Mary was located at Gradisce beside Bosiljevo.
 
     The Turks proved relentless in their attacks and raids in the area exposing the monastery to the constant danger of potential destruction. Clearly the monastery was unable to function normally under such conditions. In order to save the Dominicans, Count Frankopan converted a part of his Castle into a monastery and allowed the Dominicans to use it as their own. This section of the castle became known as the "klostar" or monastery.
 
     When the Turkish army destroyed the Paulin monastery of Saint Nikola on Mount Gvozd, Count Vuk Frankopan built another church with a monastery for the Paulins to take its place. It was consecrated to St. Vid. This monastery for the Paulins at Radovac, is known today as the village of "Fratrovci". The foundation of the destroyed church and the monastery is still visible today.
 
     In 1647 Viceroy Nikola Frankopan established a Croatian school in Bosiljevo. In his last will and testament, he donated the school to the churches of St. Mauro in Bosiljevo and St. Mary in Gradisce. It is very probable that the teachers in the school were the Franciscan Brothers from Radovac. It is for this reason that the area was later renamed from Radovac, to Fratrovci by the local people. Little is documented about the workings of the school until the year 1843 when it was relocated into the castle by its new holder, Marshal Count Nugent.
 
     Until the middle of the seventeenth century, the people's religious needs were served by the common priests called "Glagolasi". There were so-named because they served masses in the ancient Slavic language of "glagolica". The old documents name the following "Glagolase" priests of Bosiljevo with the approximate dates they served:

Lovro - 1501
Radic - 1574
Stefan Lukacic - 1577
Mikula Kargacin - 1594
Ivan Herendic - 1680
Ivan Muretic and Jure Krizmanic - 1692
 
     The first priests to serve masses in Latin appeared in Bosiljevo after being educated in the newly established Jesuit school in Zagreb. These priests were:

Mihajl Prosenko 1648-1674
Gaspar Zivcic - 1680
Mikula Perko - 1712
Administrator Matijas Markulin and
Mikula Srebric - 1725
Mate Skradski - 1736
Ivan Matesic - 1736
Mihalj Turjak - 1740
Pavel Hermendec - 1750

     In 1674, the parish of St. Mauro instituted record books documenting christenings, marriages and deaths, further substantiating it as one of the oldest churches in Croatia. In 1876 this very old and very small parish church was torn down. Its foundation was used in the construction of the Church of St. Mauro Abbot. It took seven years to complete the construction. During that time, church services were held in the chapel of Saint Anne, located within the castle walls. The new parish church of St. Mauro Abbot was consecrated on the 26th of June 1903, by Bishop Dr. Antun Bauer. The bells were hung on June 8th 1923.
 

The Restoration of St. Mauro Abbot Parish, 1989 - 1999

 
     The parishioners, the priests and the municipality of Bosiljevo are paying special attention to the restoration of the old St.Mauro church. It has not been an easy task. The parish of St Mauro encompasses a large area and there are many other religious objects also in need of repair and preservation. The restoration project seemed insurmountable at first, but the efforts have been crowned by success. Thanks to the donations and hard work by the parishioners and the local municipal government during the last decade the following has been achieved:

* Asphalt has been laid on the path around the parish church (1989-1990).
* New gutters were installed to protect the walls of the church from further damage (1991).
* Due to deterioration of the church's wooden structure a beam broke off and fell on the floor of the nave. This prompted reconstruction of the nave in 1992.
* The church was repaired. The steeple was covered with new tin sheets. Restoration continued, and by the end of the year approximately one quarter of the church was rebuilt (1992-1994).
* 1997 - 1998 The old plaster was removed from the church walls and replaced with new stucco.
 

 
     At present, the old wooden structure of the very top of the steeple is being replaced with new beams and other necessary lumber.   In the budget for the next year, money is put aside for the reconstruction of the whole church facade.   Other religious objects of concern to the parish are:
 
*  The chapel of Assumption of St. Mary in Gradisce: The old tin of the steeple has been replaced.
*  The chapel of St. Leonard at Liplje: Facade, roof and steeple renovations.
*  The chapel of Annunciation of St. Mary in Zdihovo: Facade and steeple renovations.
*  The chapel of St. Matija at Johi: New roof construction
*  The chapel of St. Florijan at Orisje: The structure was renovated inside and out.
*  The chapel of Wounded Jesus in Skoblic Brdo: The structure was renovated inside and out.
*  The chapel of Saint Cross in Pribanjci: Restored to its original state by renovation of its facade and interior walls.
 
     Thanks to donations by Justine Bergman, the Chapel was constructed at the entrance to Bosiljevo and consecrated to St. Mary Queen of Peace. Thanks also go to Ivan Becic, who constructed the Chapel at Bec and consecrated to Assumption of Virgin Mary. The parish of Bosiljevo donated a statue of St. Mary as a memento to all Croatian soldiers, dead and alive, defenders of our beautiful homeland. All crucifixes of the parish are by now restored. The parish rectory was completely renovated. New concrete stairs and a basement floor was poured. The interior of the rectory was also freshly painted and wooden interior structure repaired. In addition, a new roof was constructed and a new central heating system installed. The adjacent building also has a new roof installed.
 
     Thanks go out to every person who took part in the completion of this enormous project. We hope that others will follow their example and join in this wonderful project of restoring our religious treasures. By doing this it will fulfilled what the Pope said a thousand years ago, that the Croatian people were always "Ante murale Cristianitatis" or "the bulwark of Christianity".
 

May God bless you all and may Virgin Mary, mother of God pray for you and your intentions.

 
Ivan Crnek
Parish Priest
47251 Bosiljevo
Croatia, Europe

 

Copyright 2004, All information contained within these pages
is the sole property of Ray Sestak and Miro Caic.