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Churches, Jelšava Circuit
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Rákoš, Church of the Holy Trinity

In the vicinity of Jelšava, an old mining village Rákoš hides a quiet church with unique Gothic paintings. The church was built on an elevated site in the northern part of the village under the slope of Železník Hill on top of which a castle of the Bubek Family was once standing.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity is an early Gothic single-nave building from the mid-13th century. It has still a Romanesque horseshoe-shaped apse and slotted Romanesque windows, but the entrance portal is already formed by a Gothic arch. The nave has a flat wooden painted ceiling from the end of the 17th century. In front of the church stands a Baroque brick belfry with a wooden superstructure.

Wall paintings from the last third of the 15th century cover the walls and the vault of the chancel and almost the entire northern wall of the nave. High-quality Italian fresco paintings can be seen, a piece of art ordered by the wealthy noblemen from the House of Bubek. Travelling through northern Italy in the service of King Louis the Great, they had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the best works of Italian masters whom they brought to the Kingdom of Hungary to decorate churches in Plešivec, Štítnik, and Rákoš. The vault of the sanctuary depicts the Christ Pantocrator with angels, the four church fathers and the symbols of the Evangelists (Matthew – angel, Mark – lion, Luke – bull, and John – eagle). On the walls of the sanctuary, we can find prophets, apostles and three saint kings: Ladislaus, Stephen, and Emeric. In the window lining, there are figures of women saints: Catherine, Barbara, Elisabeth and Margaret of Hungary. One of the most interesting parts is the unconventional depiction of Christ standing in a grave held by Mother Mary. The scene is complemented with the figures of an angel and of St. John the Baptist. Figures of saints, prophets, a depiction of the ten virgins, a partially damaged figure of the Virgin Mary Protector and a very well-preserved sitting figure of God with three faces giving blessings are on the walls of the triumphal arch. This unusual way of portraying the Holy Trinity which has been later banned by the Trident Council for its striking resemblance to the pagan god Triglav, still appears in two other locations in Slovakia – Ochtiná (logo of the Gothic Route) and Žehra.

The northern wall of the nave is almost entirely covered with murals in three horizontal bands. The upper band depicts scenes from the St. Ladislaus legend, it shows lancer horse riders of the St. Ladislaus’s royal entourage at the forefront, in a dynamic moment of fight with the Cumans. The second and the third band below portray the Last Judgment with the central figure of Christ the Redeemer with angels and a number of saints on the sides. Right below them we can see open graves from which dead are rising. Archangel Michael divides them into two groups, the saved ones, who walk to the left towards the heaven‘s gate, and the damned ones, whose chains are bound by the devils to the gate of hell. The most recent of the paintings date back to the first half of the 15th century; they depict the Assumption of the Virgin, individual figures of saints and the Stigmatization of St. Francis. We have chosen the hand of St. Francis with a stigma as the logo of the church. On the outer southern wall of the church, fragments of the painting of Madonna and Child have been preserved. Since 1992, there have been intermittent renewal activities of the church taking place, during which the restoration of murals was included. Furniture is stored and it would be returned into the church, once the restoration works are finished.

A Neoclassical Lutheran Church from 1819 is also located in Rákoš, inside which is a valuable rococo altar. On the nearby hill over the village you can visit the ruins of castle Rákoš.

 

Architecture: romanesque Construction: half of 13th century
Church: Roman Catholic Church Patrocinium: Holy Trinity
Circuit: Jelšava Circuit

 

Contact person: mrs. Pavlíková, sacristan
Telephone number: +421 915 152 432