Avguštin Stegenšek

Avguštin Stegenšek

Avguštin Stegenšek was first Slovenian art historian, Roman-Catholic priest, theologian, philosopher and conservator. He was born on July 7th 1875 in Tevče nad Laškim, he died in Maribor on March 26th 1920. He was born into a family of cottager, later miller and carpenter Andrej Stegenšek. After grammar school he continued his studies in general high school Celje, during year 1887-1888, afterwards he went to student seminary in Maribor, where he graduated with honor in the year 1895. After that he enrolls in the Faculty of theology of Maribor and was hallowed into priest on July 24th 1898. For a short time he was placed as chaplain and catechist in Selnica ob Dravi. He joins III. order of St. Frančišek on February 15th 1899 as a seminary priest.

At the initiative of bishop Napotnik, he goes to study archeology and art history in Rome in October 1899. In the time of his study he published scientific articles in Römische Quartalschriff and Oriens Christianus, later also in Maribor theological bulletin Leader in theological science (si. Voditelj v bogoslovnih vedah) (it was founded by bishop Napotnik in the year 1897). Upon his return to Slovenia, he starts to work as a suplent for church history and patrology in the theological college of education. On November 1st 1907 he was named a class professor of church law, church history, patrology and church art in High theological school in Maribor.

Avgutšin Stegenšek is considered as a pioneer of researching of Slovenian sacral art and art history, as well as the beginner of our monumental topography. He designed the plan to conduct a census survey of all churches of Lavantine diocese, and this is published in Deanery upper-city (si. Dekanija gornjegrajska) (1905) and Konjice deanery (si. Konjiška dekanija) (1909)

In year 1914 Stegenšek, at the initiative of bishop Napotnik, publishes first and only annual Lovers of Christian art (si. Ljubitelj krščanske umetnosti), with a purpose to represent Slovenian national-art heritage and to encourage modern art. It is a pioneer work, which was first Slovenian art bulletin. Avguštin worked also as archivist and librarian of Historical society for Slovenian Styria (si. Zgodovinsko društvo za slovensko Štajersko), which was founded in year 1903. In year 1904 they started to publish their own newspaper, in which he published many of his articles. He also published in Kirchenschmuck, Mitteilungen der k.k. Zentralkommision and Zeitschrift für östereichische Volkskunde. This two functions he performed until year 1909.

As an expert for art history, the central commission for protection of monuments in Wien, named him as honorable conservator in Styria, districts Brežice, Celje, Konjice and Slovenj Gradec, in the year 1908.

In year 1918 he rejected an offered place as professor on university department for art history on Philosophical faculty in Ljubljana, because he wanted to devote himself to biblical studies. But later he offered himself for this work, which he did not get, as it was already taken. At that time Avguštin already suffered from bone tuberculosis, because of that his leg was amputated on March 10th 1919, but despite that the disease progressed. He died on the verge of big political changes, 26. March 1920 in Maribor. He is burried in Pobrežje cemetery in Maribor.

With collection Church monuments (si. Cerkveni spomeniki) of Lavantine diocese he reached the peak of his scientific work, and was published in monumental book Deanery upper-city (si. Dekanija gornjegrajska) and Konjice deanery (si. Konjiška dekanija). The history of devotion of St. cross path he wrote in year 1922, it is a fruit of work and restoration of cross path at St. Rok in Šmarje pri Jelšah. In year 1913 he traveled to Jeruzalem for two months, as he wanted to dedicate his time for researching of topography of Jeruzalem and explanation of Holly Bible.


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