Preobrazsenszka Church

Serbians coming from Bosnia settled down at the northern part of the town. Their first wooden church was built in 1690. The current building was built by rich Bosnian tanners of Szentendre called “tobakos”. A commemorative tablet at the main front of the building states that the construction started in 1741 and finished in July 1746. This date seems to be too early judged based upon the style of the church. It is probable that the classical ornaments from the time of Louis XIV were added during a significant reconstruction and renovation after 1770. The tower with the spire was made in 1852 according to the plans of an architect from the capital, Goldinger János. The church is encircled by a thick stone fence. The fence’s ornamented ironwork gate is framed by Corinthian pillars, modeled from the Serbian Church of Pest. The gate was made between 1803 an 1806 by a local locksmith, Olhauser József. At the top of the gate there is a pedimented aedicule with the remains of an icon.

The front of the Orthodox church, consecrated to the Transfiguration of Jesus, is looking towards the memorial cross at Szamár-hegy (Donkey Hill), with its back pointing to the Danube at Bogdányi utca. Its main front is divided by four Doric pilasters. On the tower fitting into its front, above the entrance there is an elliptical arched choir window with ornaments and sill moulding. On its sides there are empty statue niches in round arched closures. An Early Classicist tympanum can be found above the choir window. On the sides of the tower classicist stone vases can be found at the edges of the volute arched spiral gable. An ornamented stone parapet is under the elliptical arched windows of the bell tower. At the corners of the tower Corinthian lesenes are extending all the way to the lower part of the cornice of the clock. The eaves moulding above the cornice of the clock is created with triangular pediment, similar to the one of the Požarevačka. On its spire with double echinus the Orthodox cross bottony can be found. The tower has a height of 37 metres, from which the spire is 11 metres and the wall is 26 metres.

There are 3 Baroque buttresses and windows with sill moulding on the northern and 6 on the western side. The building ends in an apse closing into three sides of the octagon at the Bogdányi utca side. Smaller windows can be seen higher on the outer wall of the sanctuary. A scene of the Calvary, a renewed fresco of the crucified Christ can be seen in the stone-framed niche with broken arch. The segmental arched side gate with its spiral keystone on the western side was made of red marble. Above it, a fresco illustrating the Transfiguration can be seen in a frame with fretwork pattern.

The 21-metres long and 8-metres wide interior has no choirs, it is capped by four sections of Czech vaults. The crosspieces that separate the sections of vaults rise from the Late Baroque crowns of the pilasters dissecting the walls. The sanctuary is capped by a half-dome. The “women’s church” is under the vaults on the tower side, one step further up than the “men’s church”, the Sanctuary is two more steps higher. Unlike the “women’s church”, the “men’s church” and the sanctuary have red marble floor covering,. The pulpit at the centre of the “men’s church” is also made of red marble. The leaning chairs were carved around 1800. The Throne of Mary, painted green and ornamented with Rococo carvings, holds the miraculous image of Holy Mary, altogether with silver offers. There are three paintings on the parapet of each choir pew. According to an inscription on it, the table for the Holy Communion in the sanctuary was donated by Mladen Stepanovics in 1746. The evangelistary and the ornamented chandelier are also outstanding items of the interior.

The iconostasis of the church is of great fine arts value. It is one of the most beautiful amongst the Hungarian walls of icons and is the first that was built in the Russian-Ukrainian type. The wooden structure is painted green and gilded. The construction has five stories, each smaller than the one below it. The paintings are separated by Corinthian columns and shoulders. Each painting has a gilded background and treated with a special process originating from the Italian trecento to imitate Gothic velvet. The four Evangelists and the scenes of the Angelic Salutation can be seen in the oval fields between the carvings of the Gate of the Tsars. Saint Nicholas, the Transfiguration and Virgin Mary are in the first row, left from the door. Jesus the Saviour, John the Baptist and John Chrysostom are at the right. In the second row, above the Gate of the Tsars there is an angel with the Veil of Veronica and on the sides six scenes are present, each from the life of Jesus. The twelve Apostles are in the third row with the icon of God the Father in the middle. The upper two levels show the Prophets with a Calvary-scene in the middle. At the top of the wall of icons there is a Christian cross, with Mary and Saint John next to it.

It has a single bell which weights 200 kilograms. It had to be obtained in 1948 from the church of Izbég, as all other bells of the church were destroyed during the two World Wars. The inscription on the bell tells that is was cast by Johann Brunner in Buda in 1788. The crucified Christ can be seen on its outer surface. The Slav inscription under the relief is the following: “This bell became the property of the church consecrated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on 25 May 1780.”

The birth register was kept on the presbytery from 1751 to 1920. The church is only open during the Serbian patronal festival of the church, with festivities being held on 19 August in the church garden.

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