Požarevačka Church

The Baroque church hides modestly on the right bank of the Bükkös River, in front of the southern “gate” of the downtown. It was consecrated to the archangels Saint Michael and Gabriel. It has an east-to-west orientation and the altar was positioned eastwards following the strict rules of the Orthodox Church. This means that the main front is not looking at the street but to the hill of the Roman camp, therefore the building does not really rise above the surrounding buildings. There are trees and buildings tightly around it so it is hard to take a pictures of it, as of the Preobrazsenszka Church. The exterior of the church is rather simple. There are stone-framed, round arched windows between the projecting buttresses. The outer wall of the sanctuary with elliptical arched ground-plan is divided by the plain and narrow lesenes into five fields. Blind windows with voussoir can be seen on four of them (two on each sides). The window in the centre of the sanctuary is similar to the windows of the nave. The Late Baroque gate with stone carvings on the western side leads to the interiors.

It can clearly be seen that the design of the tower and the church is different. All windows of the 23 metre-high, three-storey tower, which markedly projects from the main front, are elliptical arched having stone-frames. Two pilasters are extending on both sides of the door on the ground floor. Above the door there is the choir window. The thick cornice, covered by tiles, is extending on the whole main front above the choir window. A stone jug can be found on each arched top cornice, like in all other orthodox churches of Szentendre. There are lesenes on both sides of the bell window. Ornaments characteristic of the Late Baroque style can be seen under the cornice of the clock without church clock. Above the clocks eaves moulding with pediment closes the wall of the tower. Its spire has a simple pyramid hip roof. According to the register of 1855, the church had four bells. One of them was cast in 1851 and the biggest, which was donated by Boskovitz Ignác, weighted almost 10 quintals. Three of the bells were taken away during the First World War. The church is encircled by a thick stone fence. The wrought-iron gate on the side of Kossuth utca leads to the church garden, where old gravestones can be seen.

The interior of the church is a little dark with only a single nave (having Czech vaults). It is divided into three sections by double crosspieces lying on double pilasters with Ionian capital. The stucco-like painted ornaments on the walls are worth pointing out. The church has no choir. Ornamented closing columns made of wood separate the sections of women and men, the pronaos and naos. The leaning chairs, the choir benches and the Late Baroque throne (which portrays Mary and the Baby Jesus) can be found on the sides of the nave. The Episcopal throne is a double columned, Empire-styled throne with a painting of bishop Saint Nicholas.

The most valuable part of the church is the iconostasis (a wall of icons), which was created much earlier than any other in Szentendre. This is the only iconostasis in Szentendre that was made according to the Post Byzantine Greek principle. It is a transition between the previous small and the upcoming high walls of icons. The creator, the place and date of creation are still unknown. According to unwritten tradition, immigrants brought it with them from their land of origin, Požarevac, so the latest time is could have been made is the 17th century. It is pure and simple, in contrast with the other iconostasis of Szentendre. It is not divided by any cornices and the arched pediment leaning towards the ceiling is also missing. The plentifully gilded pictures are separated by some ornaments with bunches of grapes and trailers. Only the central of its three doors, the Gate of the Tsars, is original. The two others on the sides had to be replaced in the 20th century because the original ones were aged. According to the writings of Tóth Antal, the former gates had Gothic arches. The columns standing on the sides of the gates were also supposedly made later on.

There are oval, gilded fields with flowers projecting from their fretwork patterned branches. In the upper field, at the top of the gate, the Blessed Trinity is depicted. At the top of the door wings on the right and left side the scenes of the Angelic Salutation can be seen. Underneath, on the other fields, the four Evangelists and the eight Prophets can be found. On the sides of the Gate of the Tsars, the patron saints of the church (Saint Michael and Gabriel) are depicted and a picture of Saint George can also be seen amongst others. Above the Gate of the Tsars, in the middle the Deesis, an iconic composition can be seen on the sides with God the Father, Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist. The Deesis is surrounded by 6 apostles on each side. In the uppermost row 16 prophets and Fathers of the Church can be found. At the top of the iconostasis there is a Christian cross, Mary and John the Apostle can be seen next to it.

The birth register was kept in the Požarevačka Parish from 1752. This was the last Serb parish to be closed in 1930. Since then the Saborna Parish, the parish of the Episcopal Church is performing the duties. There is no regular church service here.

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