Turistička zajednica grad Metković

RICH CHURCH HISTORY

Metković has a rich church history. Refugees from villages in Herzegovina built the early church of St Elijah on the site of today’s new church which dominates the town. The new church was built in 1871 in the Neo-Romanesque style with elements of Gothic art. St Elijah the Prophet is the pro­tector of the parish and town of Metković, and his feast day, 20th July, is the Day of the Town of Metković. The church was renovated after the Anglo- American bombardment in the Second World War and after the Homeland War. The Easter procession is particularly in­teresting: Žudije, men dressed in the picturesque old Roman costume, watch Jesus’s tomb in shifts and take part in the Good Friday procession which passes through the old part of the town. The procession shows Christ’s Passion in a very emotional way. Ante Gluščević brought this custom in 1857 from Loretto, where he studied. The bronze statue of one of the greatest Croatian missionar­ies, f. Ante Gabrić, is situated in front of the church. F. Gabrić was bom in Metković on February 18, 1915. He studied philosophy in Gorica and Gallarato in Italy. In 1938 he became a missionary in India and took holy orders there in 1943. He spent fifty years in India and died in Maria Poliu near Calcutta on October 20 and was buried there. He devoted his life to help­ing others in India and was praised by many including Cardinal Franjo Kuharić and Blessed Mother The­resa to whom he was Fa­ther Confessor. On the left bank of the Neretva, there is the church of St Francis, a modern concrete structure built in 1982. It holds valuable works of art: the statue of Our Lady by Josip Marinković, the statue of St Francis with pi­geons by Kruno Bošnjjak, sta­tions of the Calvary by Vatroslav Kuliš and a mosaic depict­ing St Francis removing Jesus from the cross.

On the old main road to­wards Dubrovnik, there is a small church of St Anthony built in 1882 on the site of the destroyed chapel of Our Lady of Health, which was erected by the family of Mato Veraja in 1853. Until 1953, the church was owned by the Veraja fam­ily who then donated it to the parish church of St Elijah. Ac­cording to custom, the faithful of Metković walk to that distant church every year on the eve of the feast of St Anthony.

There is also the monastery church of the Holy Family with­in the convent of the Servants of Little Jesus and the church of St John Nepomuk and that of St Rocco in the town cem­etery. The votive church of St Nicholas the Traveller was built in 1938 and was destroyed dur­ing the Allied bombardment in the Second World War. Its re­mains were removed after the war, and a house was erected on the site in 1960.

In Vid, there is the late me­dieval church of St Vid (Vitus) which is dated by some archae­ologists to the 15th century or


the 17th century. The parish church of Our Lady of the Snows is also in Vid. In the villages of Dragovija and Prud there are the churches of St John the Baptist; the first was built at the end of the 17th century and the second in 1989. In 1969, the inde­pendent parish of St Nicholas the Bishop was founded on the right bank of the Nere­tva. This new parish was established due to the increased num­ber of believers on the right bank. The parish chapel was opened on the ground-floor of the a newly-built house and was devoted to St Nicholas the Bishop. A flat for pastoral staff was additionally built above the chapel. The building of the Pasto­ral Centre of Fr. Ante Gabrić was designed by the lady architect from Metković, Marina Hren. The foundation-stone was laid on April 18, 1993 during the Home­land War. This sacred edifice became the new parish church in De­cember 2009, when it was consecrated by the Split and Dalmatia Archbishop Marin Barišić. Within the area of the town of Metković, there are two Orthodox churches: the church of St George and the church of St Peter in the village of Glušci arc the oldest Orthodox churches in the entire Neretva valley. The Serbian Orthodox community rebuilt the Orthodox priest’s rectory.

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