Parish Church of Saint Andrew of Izbég

The number of Catholics of Izbég, which was built together with Szentendre, has become significant from the 18th century. It was originally a Slav settlement, where most of the residents were Orthodox and the Catholics had to attend the service of Szentendre, as they were so poor that they could not even afford to build a small chapel of their own. In 1782 they constructed their own cemetery and belfry. From 1791 they were under the supervision of the Parish Church of Szentendre, however, they still did not manage to have their own church and even their belfry was dilapidated by 1846. During the First World War their two bells were called into requisition, and then they were set up at a new location at Szentlászlói út. Meanwhile the Orthodox stone church of Izbég became so abandoned that the Orthodox Church decided to sell it in 1928. However, the Catholics could not afford to buy it and they got permission in 1936 to perform their service at the local nursery school.

In 1937 the architect Opaterny Flóris prepared the construction plans of the Roman Catholic Church of Izbég. Arrangements such as collecting money from all around the country started straight away. The appointed location was next to the belfry. In 1938 the town donated 300 m3 quarry stones and the digging process had started.

Unfortunately the church could not have been built since the collection of the money was made impossible by the exceptional situation originating from the re-annexiation of the area called Felvidék. In 1940 the civil engineer Enökl Elemér and his wife donated their piece of land at Szentlászlói út to the church for 10 years. The inner walls of the house were taken down to create a small chapel. In 1944, when the parish church bought the Peter-Paul Church instead of the church of Izbég, the congregation was really disappointed. Even within the circles of the Orthodox Church there were some conflicts since their churches were acquired by different denominations one by one. During his 1946 visit the Primate of Hungary, Mindszenty József suggested the establishment of the chaplaincy of Izbég, which was founded in the following year. The idea of buying the church came on the agenda once again, and at this time the parochial church council approved it, so in 1948 the run-down church building was bought for a price of 7000 forints and 180 quintals of wheat.

This previously Serbian Orthodox church, built in 1738, was consecrated to the Holy Spirit and in the 18th and 19th century it has been renovated multiple times. In 1806 its spire was covered by copper and in 1867 a copper globe and an iron cross were added to the tower, which has fallen off in 1887. The current spire was made in 1896. It was consecrated by archbishop Mindszenty József in 1948 and reconstructions started in the same year, devaluating its art historical significance. The nave was added an extra piece of vault eastwards, on its sides a lineal transept was built and the previously elliptical-arched sanctuary was replaced by an octagonal one with a three-sided closure.

The east-to-west orientated Baroque style church has a floor space of 121 m2 and stands surrounded by a stone wall on a square at the edge of Izbég. The cornice of the tower protrudes forward, with rounded edges at the front. The tower is divided by two thick, robust cornices. On the octagonal edged spire with echinus the year 1896 can be seen. All of the windows of the church are elliptical arched. The windows of the entrance, the choir and the lattice-window of the staircase are stone framed. On the two sides of the towel the moulding of the pediment is arched. The sides are quite simple without any decorations.

In 1928 the Orthodox people took all the furnishings and the bells of the church with them. The interior of a capacity of 150 seats is capped by a barrel vault divided into four sections by crosspieces. The pews were brought to this church in 1951, they are from the well-known, demolished church of Regnum Marianum of Budapest. Its frescos were painted by Jeges Ernő, who was the founder of the Art Colony of Szentendre. Behind the altar table Saint Andrew can be seen as the main piece with Saint Peter and Saint John the Baptist by his sides. The tabernacle of the altar was made by Lőte Éva in 1939. It has a small and portable double-manual organ, donated to the church. The performers are mostly clerical music bands in the church playing light music. Previously a simple harmonium was used solely in the church. The Byzantine cross from the 18th century, which shows Jesus Christ in the middle and the four Evangelists at the four edges, was passed on by the Serbians.

One of its four bells, weighing 65 kg, is out of use and stands on a belfry. This damaged, welded bell with Late Baroque motifs on its upper edge was cast by Joseph Brunner in Buda in 1792. There are three bells in the bell tower. The biggest one weights 206 kg, cast in Őrbottyán by Gombos Lajos in 2000. The bell is decorated with the Hungarian coat of arms with the Holy Crown. The bell of 110.5 kg was donated by M. Kovács Kálmán and his wife in 1912. It was cast by Novotny Antal in Timisoara (“Temesvár”). An interesting fact about the bell is that on the upper part of the exterior there are holes with late Baroque motifs. Its inscription says: “Dear Lord, your will shall always be done at all times.” The funeral bell weights 30 kg and it was cast by Franciscus Millner in Buda in 1810. At one side it has Saint Christopher with the relief of the crucified Christ on the other.

In 1914 Tuharszky Ferenc donated his flat in his will to the parish church of Szentendre to sell it to have a bell (consecrated to Saint Paulina in memory of his wife) cast for the people of Izbég. The parish accepted his offer. Tuharszky asked the church to ring this bell every year on the name-day of his wife after the evening chime (angelus) for an hour. Since later it has become quite urgent to build a school in Izbég, the town council called upon the parish to disregard Tuharszky’s will and place the property at the town’s disposal in order to give place for a school. As a result of this, the above mentioned bell has never been cast.

Hungarian source written by Bajkó Ferenc, www.templom.hu