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› Servite Church

The Servite Church

Home to a Master Sculptor`s Work                          

The Servite Order arrived two years (1689) after Eger had been liberated from the Turks.

They seem to have been in no rush to establish a bricks and mortar presence, preferring to get on with revering the Mother of God, hoping with their devotion to ensure the sanctity of all members of the order and, ultimately, all living souls.


servite church

Postcard of Servite Church (1950s)


Thus it took them nearly fifty years to get around to constructing a place of worship (1728-38, with the towers completed in 1752) which they located on the site of a former mosque and Koran school, in fact, as with many of the churches built in Eger after the expulsion of the Ottomans, much of it was built using material recycled from the mosque.

Although the building is not particularly noteworthy the sculptures visible from the street are. They are said to be the work of the Viennese master Johann Thenny, who was employed by the monks of Eger in 1734.



Three sculptures are attributed to him: the statue of the `Seven Sorrows of Mary` at the front of the building and the two painted wooden statues, St. John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary, in the niches of the church tower. The former, however, has been so heavily restored that it is difficult to confirm that Thenny was its creator, the latter, though, are surely his and are regarded as the best of their type in Hungary.


servite church eger interior

Interior

                                                                            

If you want to go inside the church you may have some difficulty as it is usually locked between services.

The interior is very dark and it is not until your eyes have become accustomed to the lack of light that you can appreciate it.

Most noteworthy is the high altar: a depiction of John the Baptist ascending to heaven painted by Pál Balkay in 1820. Also worth a look are the stained glass windows, of unknown age, the only examples of such work in the city.


tower of servite church eger

Mixed Fortunes

The Servite Church was the most popular place of pilgrimage in Eger in the eighteenth century, and the order was very active in the city and its surroundings; they were particularly well known for distributing  small devotional images.

However in the 20th century the Eger Servites suffered, eventually being disbanded in 1950; it was only in 1993 that they were able to return to Eger.

The church, however, has recently been extensively renovated which bodes well for the future.  



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