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The Trinitarians and the 'Bad Church'

On first seeing the Trinitarian church, many people comment on how strange it looks but are unable to identify why. A quick look at the history of the building soon reveals the cause of its eccentric appearance.

The 'Bad' Church

Like the other religious orders that flocked back to Eger with the expulsion of the Turks in 1596, the Trinitarians were given land on which to construct a church and order house.

They quickly got down to work, completing the latter in 1739. The church, however, was never completed.

Early 20th century postcard of the order house (the church is to the left). It was demolished in 1957.

It is thought that Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhoffer, the celebrated Baroque architect from Prague, designed both buildings as their layouts closely resemble his work on the Augustinian monastery in Dolni Rocov, Bohemia and St. Catherine's Church, Prague (below is the original plan- church to the left and order house to the right ).

It is interesting to note that the Minorite Church in Eger's main square (Dobó tér) is also one of his; that one of the greatest architects of the day was so active in what was a small, provincial city is revealing.

Original plans for the Trinitarian Church, church is to the left of the Order House

Yet even the great architect could not prevent the run of bad luck that was to befall the church. The front designed by Dientzenhoffer was never completed due to fire and financial problems and, when the Trinitarian Order was dissolved in 1784, the church's fate was sealed.

The facade was to have had two towers and it is the absence of these that explain the sense that something is 'not quite right' that people experience on first looking at the building.

It has never been used as a church, and locals call it the 'bad' church (Rossz Templom) in reference to its unfortunate past.

However, the Rossz Templom hides a secret, a rather beautiful one.

Interior (©Gyula Cséfalvay)

The interior, in stark contrast to the exterior, is "...one of the finest....in Central European Baroque architecture....Its bold cornices, scalloped pilaster capitals and three-quarter columns, and the sweeping rhythm of its wall divisions"[1] are truly outstanding.

The Trinitarians

The Trinitarians or the Order of the Holy Trinity for the Ransom of Captives to give it its proper name, was founded to secure the release of Christians who were captured while fighting the 'infidel'. They achieved this through concentrated fund-raising and economic expertise. With swathes of Hungary occupied by the Turks, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were especially busy for the Hungarian branch of the order.

To experience this beauty, however, involves using your imagination and disregarding whatever is in the church when you visit, as it is currently being used as a gallery which makes it difficult, but not impossible to appreciate the symmetry and elegance of the interior.

Exhibition in Trinitarian Church (©www.ekmk.eu)

If I haven't put you off yet, then you will need to find out the opening times of the gallery; these change according to whatever is being exhibited at the time.

For details on opening times and exhibitions, click on the following link Templom Galéria (please note, this page is in Hungarian)

[1] László LengyelBaroque in Eger and County Heves

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