CHURCH OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA IN BELGRADE (FRANCISCAN PARISH)
This monaster, which is the parish church, belongs to the Franciscan Province of Bosnia Srebrena. Franciscans were mentioned for the first time in this area back in the XV century. One monastery was devastated by the Turks in 1521, and the other was barbarically destroyed in the XVII century. In 1727 they built a church and monastery under the protection of St. Ivan Capistrano, who, because of the Turkish siege of 18 September 1739 had to leave and move to Zemun.
At the invitation of the Archbishop of Belgrade and Smederevo Rafael Rodić, Franciscans came to Belgrade again in 1926 and bought land between the Bregalnička and Pop Stojanova Street.
The building of the monastery began on 3 August 1926, and it finished on the 16 November, and it was blessed on 17 December of the same year.
Construction of the new church began in 1929 according to designs of famous Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957), who was invited by pastor Grgić at a proposal of the sculptor Ivan Meštrović.
The new church was consecrated on December 8, 1933, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
After Plečnik’s death in 1957, the guidelines for further construction were taken over by his pupil architect Valentinčić.
The tower was erected in 1962.
The church was consecrated on 2 May 1962, by Gabriel Bukatko who was the Archbishop of Belgrade at the time.
New organ was purchased in 1966.
Parish registry has been kept since 20 February 1921 when the first baptism was performed.
This Belgrade parish had about 6,500 believers in 1935; 4300 in 1963; 600 in 1991; and today there are about 400. It has had the same faith as other parishes in the Archdiocese of Belgrade.
Just before the war, in 1939, 147 children were baptized, 102 couples were married, and 54 persons died. In 1973 there were 22 baptisms, 3 weddings and 35 funerals. Four children were baptized in 2003, two couples were married (plus 5 church strengthened marriages) and 20 believers were buried.
Between the two wars there was a Home of the Sisters of St.Vincent de Paul, a Home of school nurses, as well as the Third Secular Order of St. Francis in the parish. There were also two lay Catholic organizations: The Honour Guard of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and The Holy Bread of St. Anthony.
School sisters and Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul managed a school, a nursery and a boarding school in the parish. Nowadays, only Little Sisters are active.
Devotions of 13 Tuesdays to St. Anthony are irreplaceable, as well as the Triduums of St. Anthony and St. Francis…
The parish includes the territory of the municipality of Zvezdara, part of the municipality of Vračar (from Kalenić market, over Red Cross to Zvezdara), around the area of Red Cross…
The church of St. Anthony is 25m high and was built in the form of a rotunda. Floor plan of the church resembles the statue of St. Anthony with the baby Jesus in his arms.
There are three large niches where side altars, confessionals and chapel are placed on both sides of the central axis of this circular building.
Above the ground floor there are two galleries white fences. Choir and organ are placed on the first gallery.
A large crucifix stands over a curved concrete beam above the shrine atrium.
The dark color of the uncovered brick facade, which the wall is built from, quite dark marble floor and wooden ceiling are illuminated by the light which enters the interior of the church through the wreath of windows placed around the entire church.
The bell tower is 52 metres high, and the height of the church is 25 metres. A white steal 3.70 metres tall cross is placed on the top. The bell tower is slightly tilted which makes it a kind of a small attraction.
The big, or the main altar is made of shiny black marble, which is dappled with white stripes. It was percieved in two dominant directions: the horizontal direction is emphasized by the stairs and the altar table, and the upright one – by the Eucharistic house on several levels. At the bottom of the house, there is lavishly treated tabernacle, the space for the exhibition of the Holy One, and above it there is a closed construction that ends in a pyramid-shaped roof. After the Second Vatican Council, another altar was placed in front of the altar stairs in order to make new way of celebrating mass possible.
The statue of St. Anthony is placed on the wall above the main altar and it is a work of Ivan Meštrović, the sculptor. It is made of bronze and is 2.75 metres tall. It was placed there in 1955.
The statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is placed on the side altar and it was made according to the drawings of Plečnik, by Ljubljana artist Božo Pengov.
The statue of Mary which is alsomade by Božo Pengov based on Plečnik’s designs is placed in the Lady’s altar. The statue was placed so that it is on almost same level with the viewer. Our Lady is very unusual in its eastern character as well as the treating of some iconographic elements (e.g. the snake).
14 Bregalnička Street, Belgrade, 11000
tel / fax: + 24-04-390
Fra Ilija Alanđak, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony
Fra dr. Benedikt Vujica, OFM, guardian of the monastery of St. Anthony
Fra Leopold Rochmes, OFM, vicar general and pastor of the cathedral
Service of God
Weekdays: 7am and 6pm
Sundays and holidays: 7am, 10am and 6pm