The Church of St. Mary of Jerusalem in Trški Vrh was built in baroque style. Its construction began in 1750, when Nikola Gorup was the parish priest. The church was consecrated in 1761, eleven years after it was built. It is a place of pilgrimage for worshippers of St. Mary of Jerusalem, the Mother of God. It is frequently visited by numerous pilgrims from Croatia, especially from Hrvatsko Zagorje and the Varaždin area, as well as from Styria (Slovenia) and Austria.
Mary answers prayers of her worshippers.
Even today, many experience spiritual solace and joy of being Mary’s children because she is Jesus’ mother and our heavenly mother. She recommends us to Jesus’ kindness and God’s divine mercy.
It all began a long way back in 1669, when a Franciscan brother Joachim brought his brother Nikola Balagović a small statue of Mary, the Mother of God from the Lord’s tomb (and place of resurrection) in Jerusalem. Nikola built a small altar in his house for this little statue (as it was only 12cm tall). At first the whole family gathered around it praying to Mother Mary, seeking her intercession and help, but later on many neighbours joined in the prayer.
Unfortunately, their house was destroyed in a fire, but the statue remained undamaged. After that, they placed it onto a tree near the house, where many passers-by gathered and worshipped The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. More and more people testified that the Mother of God heard their prayers and delivered them from many different misfortunes, such as physical and mental illnesses, cattle diseases, snakebites, different accidents etc.
In 1743 Croatia was struck by an epidemic of cattle plague (murrain). It was a great misfortune because, at that time, people mainly lived of their cows, pigs, poultry and other domestic animals. The inhabitants of Krapina made a vow to Mother Mary of Jerusalem and during this epidemic none of the animals in Krapina suffered from this disease. It is why they decided to build this grand church.
It was built by almost everybody, mainly by Krapina’s pious inhabitants and peasants with their own work and contribution (at that time churches were mainly built by nobility). Its construction began in 1750, and in only two years’ time they were able to ceremonially install the statue of Virgin Mary. As of that moment, pilgrimage to this church began. The main altar, which is consecrated to Mother Mary of Jerusalem, was built in Graz, and the lateral ones were built in Zagreb in the workshop of Antun Merzi.
These include the altar of St. Cross (a gift from Josip Jelačić and his wife), the altar of The Queen of the Holy Rosary, the altar consecrated to The Fourteen Holy Helpers and the one consecrated to St. John of Nepomuk. In the chapel built from the outside the church is the altar consecrated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The walls and the ceiling were painted by Antun Lerchinger, a painter from Rogatec and a student of the greatest Croatian baroque painter Ivan Ranger. The frescoes depict the events from the shrine’s history, as well as scenes from the Holy Scripture which describe the Blessed Virgin Mary and her role in the history of salvation. This way of illustrating biblical events is called “biblia pauperorum”, which means the bible of the poor.
The organs, which are among the most precious ones in Croatia, were made by Antun Roemer, an organ builder from Graz. In 1761 the church was consecrated by Stjepan Puc, Bishop of Belgrade. Later on an ornamented wall surrounding the church (cinktor) was painted with the scenes of granted prayers to Mother Mary’s faithful worshippers.
Many feasts and fairs are being held in this shrine: on the feast of the Pentecost, on the first Sunday in June, on the first Sunday after the feast of St. Margaret i.e. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, on the Sunday after the feast of Transfiguration of the Lord, after St. Bartholomew’s feast, after the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and on the last Sunday in October when a Thanksgiving Mass is held. From May to October the Holy Mass is being held every Sunday at 11 a.m.
The Stations of the Cross are next to the shrine and are now considered to be a valuable piece of art, as they were painted by academic painter Eugen Kokot, based on the sketches by academic painter Ivan Lovrenčić. In this shrine, many performances, events and concerts are being held, especially organ concerts.
From May to October the Holy Mass is being celebrated each Sunday at 11 a.m.
Svetište Majke Božje Jeruzalemske
Nazorova 3, 49000 Krapina
Phone: +385 49 371 456
Fax: +385 49 300 916
Official website: www.zupa-krapina.hr