Category: Топ дестинации (Top Destinations)
In the heart of Sirok Sokak stands quiet and still. Sparkled by the sun – rays, without a word, but proud, it lasts, arouse toward the sky, toward God. It warmth the souls, it spreads the God’s word. It comforts and heals, simply caresses. Only the faith in God, in Jesus Christ can give so much power.
The spiritual life of the population and the faith in God, in this region is with a long past. It can be followed from the prehistoric period until today. Polytheist, Orthodox, Catholics, Muslims one after the other but yet, side by side.
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The French missioners Lazarists, from the congregation of St. Vinko Pavelski, began their duty in the region during the 18th century. With the increased number of Catholics, as a result of the opening of the numerous Consulates, foreign officials (employees), tradesman, as well as the members of their families, a need of constant presence of a priests appeared. He was supposed to take care of all the spiritual needs, spiritual and educational knowledge of the children as well as the rest of the believers. This condition brought the situation that in 1848 / 49 to be set a permanent priest whose stay in Bitola was very short.
The French Lazarist played the most important role in the formation of the first Catholic Parish in Bitola in 1856. The founder of the Parish was Father Zan – Zosef Lepavek, who from the day of his arrival took the total care of the spiritual life of the believers. In 1857, from the Bitola’s Valija Redzep Pasha, he bought the hotel Locanda with a total surface of 12.000m2. This hotel was situated on Sirok Sokak, and it was built for the needs of the Turkish army. In the mansard, father Lepavek made a small chapel where on Easter 1857, he served the first holy liturgy, and the chapel was dedicated to the Holy Heart of Jesus. The Catholic mission had a great help by the French Consulate which helped this mission and its work in a various ways. With the strengthening of the Parochy, and for the needs of its believers, the Catholic Church and some other objects were built.
In the following period, in the Parochy were opened school and boarding school. In 1870 on the present location on Sirok Sokak was built a new Catholic Church. This Church build in a baroque style was burned in fire. In 1909, on the same place the present Catholic Church in neo – gothic French style was build.
The architectural plan for the Catholic Church was made by a French architect, but realized by the Macedonian builders.
The interior of the church is consisted by three altars, a large number of icons and statues with a various size, baptisteries as well as sitting benches for the believers.
The main altar by chestnut three, build in gothic German style was made in Munich, Germany. Other two smaller altars are made in new – gothic French style. The new altar as well as the amvon was made in 1975 of nuts three, and it was made by one of the finest craftsmen in Bitola, Gorgi Karadzov.
The most dominant statue of all is the statue of Holy Heart of Jesus, placed in the centre of the main altar.
The church bell tower was building in 1938 – 1940, and it is a gift by the Slovenian believers.
The care for the believers remains constant during the whole existence of the Catholic Church. The trught is most recognized in the vibrations of the voice while it speaks the God’s prayers. The Liturgy in Macedonian language that echoed in the rooms of the Catholic Church for about thirty years fills this temple with warmth and makes it one with us, one with God.
Text: Meri Stojanova
NI Institute and Museum Bitola
Yeni Mosque Bitola