Church of Mary, Queen of Peace

travel-slovenia-church-of-mary3 When the builders of Sveta Gora Basilica above Gorica carved above the entry door victorious words “I am standing on the mountain as before”, they confessed they faith that Mary never leaves the place that she chooses and there she shares mercy. That this is true, was confirmed on one of the most beautiful Slovenian vantage points, Kurešček near LJubljana. On this 833 meters high hill on the southern edge of the Ljubljana marshes, since 1990, gathers more and more pilgrims. From the ruins of the former church, which was already forgotten, as the fruit of these pilgrimages, like mythical phoenix, grow up once again, church of Marija, queen of peace. This is the only church in Slovenia dedicated to the Queen of Peace.

The history of the church on Kurešček is shrouded in darkness of distant centuries. The first traces date back to the turbulent times of Turkish invasions. Even the local name tells us, that they were burning pyre as a warning that turks are coming. More telling is Janez Vajkar Valvasor in the Glory of the Duchy of carniola, as he says that Kurešček is reputed pilgrimage. He is mentioning also two legendary tellings. The first one tells about Kurešček sexton, who went in early morning from the village under the top in the church to ring the morning star. He got lost in deep snow, and because there was fog all around, he couldn’t find the right track. All tired he started to depair. And then, the bells started to rang. He followed their voice and happily came to the church. Second story is more wrapped up in the imagination of Ethnic group. It says, that every seven years ants fly by and stay in the church for eight days. There are so many and impossible to step on or to drive away.

The present church on Kurešček was built in 18th century, when the brotherhood of Marija, Queen of Peace, had its seat for all Kranjska. At that time they built three altars and painted presbytery. The frescoes were illustrating the idea how Mary calms the leaders of people. All the signs were talking about peace. Among them is one which promises: At this place, i will shace peace. Due to large crowds who came to the rallies, they built outside the church open shed and altar. For the care of pilgrims was asigned special priest who lived in the house below the church. After the death of lasat priest in year 1936, the Salesians of Rakovnik took care of the church.  

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Open shed with altar

 

Among the most important pilgrimages on Kurešček, particularly noteworthy is big pilgrimage on September 1st 1940 in bloody dawn of war. At that time over 5000 pilgrims gathered here. Together with bishop of Ljubljana Gregorij Rožman they came to pray for peace. Unfortunately, the war and post-war conditions prevented this to happen.

 

Church on Kurešček started to disintegrate only after the decades after the war. In September 1944, the German cannon shell damaged the roof. Despite the susequent efforts of Pastor Ronk from Rob, they weren’t allowed to renew it after the war. Noble Baroque building started to fall apart by winters and storms. Church benches were used for fires on 1st May. Some of the remaining equipment and a statue of the Queen of Peace were saved just in time. The bell tower lasted the most. But in year 1970, was also burned in fire on 1st May.

 

At the time, when in Slovenia actual theme was national reconciliation, the interest for Kurešček awakened. At the diligent locals and pilgrims, the church grew again. Every month, there are multutude of believers who prays and asks the blessing for our homeland.

 

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Fresco outside the church of Mary, Queen of Peace, Kurešček

 

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Fresco was painted and blessed in the Lord’s holy jubilee in 2000

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