A FEW SIGHTS ABOUT THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST BY LAKE BOHINJ
A picturesque Church of St. John the Baptist is a branch of the parish of Srednja vas in Bohinj. It stands on a hill along Lake Bohinj and together with the stone bridge represents one of the biggest sights of Bohinj. It was built before 1300 and represents an important cultural and historical monument, which is why it is also under cultural heritage protection.
There are various styles in the church, from romance to baroque. Very interesting is the wooden head of Janez Krstnik from 1380, which is kept by the Institute for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage. The frescos of the church are also famous, with the oldest ones dating from the 13th century. There are also some 72 different saints and other motifs painted. In three layers on the southern outer wall there are three paintings of St. Christopher who is the patron of pilgrims, travelers, drivers, carriers, rafters and boatmen.
A special feature of the church is the Baroque belfry, which was added to the church in the 18th century along with the entrance to the church. It is known for its double onion, lanterns and roof coverings with shingles. There are also three wooden altars from different periods of the 17th century. Archaeological finds dating from the 1st to 5th centuries after Christ have been found in this area.
THE WHITE DEVIL
On the inside of the arch of the church of St. John the white devil storms the imagination, sitting on Cain’s neck and whispering to him about murderous inclinations. This special feature was also seen by the famous French writer Jean Paul Sartre, when he was visiting Bohinj in the sixties of the last century.
Professor Marija Cvetek, a high school student at that time, showed him and his companions the church.
And when they saw the white devil, some of them attributed this color to mythological parables, while others were guessing whether the black color had faded throughout centuries. When I commented that it would then fade elsewhere, it was thought that this must have happened, but somewhere else this is not as noticeable as with the devil.
There is another scene from the 15th century above the scene of Cain and Abel, who present God with their own. That is St. George, piercing a big dragon with a spear, wearing a knightly armor and riding a white horse. The dragon lay down on his back and curled up horse’s legs. The battle takes place under the castle, where the king and the queen are watching St. George with fear, and at the foot of the hill, Margaret kneels and prays for a happy solution. On the northern side of the presbytery we find another little dragon, which St. Margaret of Antioch holds in her left hand, wrapped in a green garment. All these dragon images of the evil – devil – have also appeared in the fairy-tale tradition of the Bohinj man. It was merged with biblical contents and apocryphal legends, which were also brought along by artists. That is why these mythological motives are of key importance for reflecting on the folklore fairy-tale tradition that has been piercing through the millennia in today’s time and space.
If we return to the white devil and the white dragon’s tail (a fragment on the northern inner side of the ship), their whiteness unintentionally reminds us of the fearsome white Bohinj mythology creatures: white women, bêva (similar to Pehta), white snake and finally white Goldhorn. If these beings are benevolent, their whiteness increases their virtues, but if they incarnate evil, the white color makes them even more terrifying. In world literature this symbolism can be found in Melville’s Moby Dick, a terrific white whale which filled sailors with horror and announced their destruction.
(Dr Marija Cvetek: Bajeslovno izročilo v cerkvici sv. Janeza ob Bohinjskem jezeru)
TOURS OF THE CHURCH
MAY (Friday, Saturday, Sunday): from 9.00 to 18.00
JUNE, JULY, AUGUST (every day): from 9.00 to 21.00
SEPTEMBER (Friday, Saturday, Sunday): from 9.00 to 18.00
Out-of-season tour is possible by arrangement.
Tickets are being sold in our store.
|Guided tour of the bell tower||2,00€|
|Church + Guided tour of the bell tower||3,00€|
For a group guided tour, you can subscribe via this link.
In the Church of St. John the Baptist we offer an attractive rise via stairs to the belfry. The latter is 35 m high and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area of the church, Lake Bohinj and the surrounding mountains. The price for the “rise” to the belfry is 2.00 € per person.
In a small shop inside the church you can buy simple and beautiful gifts, souvenirs and religious items.
In the Church of St John the Baptist:
April 29 at 15.00
June 24 at 10.00
August 29 at 10.00
Other holy masses in our parish:
Monday, 19.30, St Margaret in Jereka
Tuesday, 19.30, parish chapel in Srednja vas
Thursday, 7.00, parish chapel in Srednja vas
Friday, 19.30, parish chapel in Srednja vas
Saturday, 19.30, parish chapel in Srednja vas
Sunday (from July 1st to September 2nd)
7.00, the parish in Srednja vas
9.00, the parish Church of St Martin
11.00, Church of the Holy Spirit by lake Bohinj
16.00, the chapel on Uskovnica
19.30, Church of St Paul in Stara Fužina
Aug 8, 11.00, holy mass on the Vogar hill by the cottage
Aug 15, Assumption of Mary – Sunday’s mass schedule
Aug 18, 11.00, holy mass on hill at Kraj
In the Church of St. John you can get married and confirm your love before God, thus create an unforgettable day of your life.
DONATIONS FOR HOLY MASSES AND FOR LIGHTING CANDLES
At the reception in the church, you can donate for holy masses. Your donations will be given to the Church of St. John the Baptist or elsewhere. You can also light a candle that symbolizes your presence with the great saint.
WHO IS SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
Evangelists Matthew and Luke report what Jesus said about him: “Truly, I say to you, born from a woman, there is no one greater than John the Baptist.” John was therefore greater than all patriarchs and prophets of the old testament: the first ones were given the promise of the Savior, others predicted the Messiah. John the Baptist was Messiah’s predecessor, he saw Him with his physical eyes, introduced him to the people and baptized Him. It is understandable, then, why the Church celebrates this great man with two holidays, celebrating his double birth: on June 24 the Church celebrates the solemn feast of his birth for this world and for the mission of Jesus’ predecessor, and on August 29 the Church recalls his martyrdom and birth to heaven.
He was the “messenger of the birth and death” of the Son of God. The English spiritual writer St Bede Honorable, who died in 735, explains: “With his birth he announced the birth of Christ, proclaimed the proclamation of Christ and testified with baptism for Christ. Finally, with his suffering, he prophesied the suffering of Christ. There is no doubt that John the Baptist suffered prison and restraints because of the testimony of the Savior. Otherwise, the persecutor did not ask him to give up Christ, but to give up the truth; nevertheless he died for Christ, for it is Christ whi declares: I am the truth.”
The truth for which John the Baptist gave his life was the one of moral order. We know the story of his martyrdom from the Gospel accounts. Herod Antipas, the fourth ruler or tetrarch in Galilee and Perea, took Herodias, the wife of his half brother. She was at the same time Antipas’ niece. For those who had a little sense of decency, it was disgusting that Herod married his brother’s wife when he was still alive. John the Baptist, faithful to his prophetic service, walked fearlessly before Herod and said to his face: “You are not allowed to have her!” Evangelist Luke writes that John also criticized Herod for all other wickedness. Herod had neither the courage nor the power to convert, but rather to silence the messenger of God: he let John to be thrown into the dungeon in the inaccessible fortress Maherunt by the Dead Sea.
Herod respected John, but even more, he was afraid of him. Herodias was particularly afraid of John, since the prophet jeopardized her position. When John was in prison for nearly a year, Herod celebrated his birthday in Maherun. What happened at that time, can be read in the Gospel. Herodias’ daughter Salome danced before Herod and his guests. He was so fascinated by the beautiful girl and at the same time intoxicated by wine that he promised to do anything she wanted. What he did not now was that Salome was only a tool of Herodias’ malicious intent. According to her mother’s order Salome then claimed the head of John the Baptist. Herod was confused by this request, but he wanted to prove himself as a man of his word, and so fulfilled Salome’s wish.
With his personality, public appearance and martyrdom John the Baptist overwhelms us due to his manfulness and courage. His conscience was his only valid guideline. In order to force him to be silent, they had to cut off his head. His name day used to be called “the Beheading of St John the Baptist”, known in the folk language also as “the Headless John”.
PRAYER TO THE SAINT
svetega Janeza Krstnika si poklical,
da bi Kristusu Gospodu
pripravil popolno ljudstvo;
V njegovem predhodniku svetem Janezu
slavimo tvojo veličastnost. Med rojenimi od žená
si ga odlikoval s posebno častjo.
Že pred rojstvom se je vzradoval Prosim, podéli svojim narodom milost duhovnih radosti Naj nas spremlja mogočna molitev Amen
bližine Odrešenika človeštva in s svojim rojstvom
mnogim prinesel veselje. Edini izmed vseh
prerokov je pokazal Jagnje, ki odrešuje svet.
Krstil je njega, ki je sam izvir krsta,
in s tem posvetil tudi tekočo vodo.
Končno pa mu je izkazal najvišje pričevanje
s svojo prelito krvjo.
in vodi srca svojih vernih
po poti zveličanja in miru.
Podeli, prosimo, da bo tvoja družina
zvesto hodila po poti odrešenja,
kakor jo spodbuja sveti Janez Krstnik;
tako bo zanesljivo prišla do Odrešenika,
ki ga je napovedal.
svetega Janeza Krstnika;
njega, katerega je oznanil kot Jagnje,
ki bo odvzelo naše grehe, samega tvojega Sina,
naj prosi, naj nam bo milostljiv.
Prosim, podéli svojim narodom milost duhovnih radosti
Naj nas spremlja mogočna molitev