Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sv. Mária Magdaléna Rusovce, St. Mary-Magdalene in Rusovce, Bratislava

I will start the presentation of the Beautiful Churches with the church that for me is the most dearest and the most beautiful in the world. I am speaking about a small and cozy church in a peripheral neighborhood of Bratislava. It is the St. Mary-Magdalene Church in Rusovce. Here some of the most important events in my life took place: here my wedding took place, here i found faith again, here I converted to Catholicism and here my children will be baptized.
The first time i came to this beautiful church was in the autumn of the year 2009. My future husband and I were going there to speak to the priest about planning our wedding. I discovered it hiding behind handsome and tall green trees, only the tower with the bell and the clock standing out on the blue sky. It was a typical small village Catholic Church, painted in a white and yellow and with a large wooden door.
 The Church in summer
The Church in winter

However at that moment i was not able to see the beauty of it. I was stressed. I was an orthodox Romanian girl wanting to get married to a catholic Slovak boy. However i was also a little exited. I was never a real orthodox, i always loved more the Catholic religion, but i was afraid to change. Now i was getting a catholic wedding and i was happy about it.
As i was walking on the small street to the church, hand in hand with my future husband like a child being taken to school I was expecting a very old, strict and rigid catholic priest who will look ugly on me and treat me bad because i was of another religion. Instead i found a nice and kind priest, who listened patiently to us, told us our options and helped us on the way to marriage. In the year of preparations for marriage and after that in our meetings preparing me for my conversion to the Catholic faith we discovered in the priest a cultivated person, intelligent, with the kindness and patience of a teacher, able to answer us to any question. "Faith is not something to buy in the shop, it is a gift." was one of the first lessons that i would get from him. "You know what it is said in "The little Prince", "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." Growing up in a family where the subject of religion was  never very much discussed, i was was thirsting for some answers and finally somebody was able to give them to me.
In the three years since i started going to the church in Rusovce i saw the priest make a lot of changes for the better for the church. He trimmed the old trees around the church, put benches around it, build a nice statue of the Virgin Mary, reconstructed the crypt with the help of the archeologists, improved the lightning in the church and now he is building a new parish house and a meeting room for the people in the winter.

Statue of St. Mary in the courtyard

My first holly mass in the Saint Mary-Magdalene Church was magical. As i walked inside the Church my eyes caught the most beautiful and impressive picture i ever saw, at the main altar. The painting showed a suffering Christ on the cross, with his eyes turned to heaven. At his feet, kneeling and crying, St. Mary-Magdalene. There was something touching, a feeling of suffering, sadness and love in the the saint in the picture, her long red-golden hair falling on her shoulders, her simple dress, her naked feet.There was something about the simplicity of the painting that made me love it. For 15 minutes i was not able to look at anything else.
As the holly mass started, i felt in love with the sound of the organ, the people singing, the civilized and organized prayer. It was a sunny morning and the sun was invading the church through the narrow painted windows sending colored and golden rays around the pews. And right there in the strange light of the church, listening to the psalms and the homily of the priest i felt like God was there with us, listening to our prayer. I felt a closeness to God then, greater then i ever felt in any orthodox church in my 30 years of life. Since then going to church is no longer an obligation but a pleasure.
In the next years of going to church i have discovered more about the beauty of this special place. I learned that the church was build in 1668 and it is attributed to the family Zichy, Stefan Zichy and his wife Magdalena Amade. The family Zichy is known to have served in the church until the begging of the 19th century. The Zichy  family was a rich and important Hungarian family, who own also the Rusovce manor in the village's large park, and they were buried in the crypt under the St. Mary-Magdalene Church.

The Zichy family coat of arms is above the large wooden entrance door and reference about the family is here and there inside of the church. Above the coat of arms is the statue of the patron of the Church, Saint Mary-Magdalene.

The main entrance to the church

Zichy inscriptions over the main entrance

Beside the main altar there are 2 smaller, the one on the right is dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo and the one on the left is a picture of the Annunciation. An angel floating in the air, the virgin Mary bowing and accepting with grace and humility, the Holy Spirit as a dove above her head.
 Our wedding in the church

The benches, altar,the confessional and all the woodwork in the church is made of black wood and it goes very well with the golden decorations, the painting and the statues.

On the walls there are also the paintings of the 12 stations of the cross. Every Friday of the Easter fasting when the Via Crucis is recited you can watch it on the paintings.
Altar paintings and chandelier
Every time i go there i discover something i didn't saw before: the statue of Mary holding a rosary, the statue of Jesus, an angel here, a flower there, a bird opening her wings, a fish, the large beautiful candelabras hanging from the ceiling, the baptism font shaped as a rosette.
Our wedding in the church

More pictures from my beautiful Church:

The Annunciation painting and the statue of the Virgin Mary.

Statue of Jesus Christ and the Baptismal font.

Stations of the Cross

The main altar, the kneeling St. Mary-Magdalene and above the picture of the Immaculate.

Update 2015

Chandelier and the organ

Every Sunday we go now hand in hand with our little girl to the church and on the way, along the houses in Rusovce and the green gardens she is repeating the sound of the bells "bing-bang, bing-bang". She already knows the way, she know also that there are other children in the church and that she can play with them while we listen to the mass.

 On the way to my beautiful church

In the past 3 years more building were added to the church: a pastoral center which is accessible from the church, a parish house for the priest and a kindergarten for the children with a playground. In the empty place behind the church slowly but surely a new building started to appear and in less then 1 year it was ready for use. Now the parish center can be used for different activities like theological meetings, parish meetings, Christmas and Easter and St. Nicholas parties, lessons for the children who are preparing the first communion and confirmation.

 The new pastoral center
 The new pastoral center
 My beautiful church

Also the pastoral center is used on Sundays so mothers with small babies and toddlers or sick people can sit there and watch the mass transmitted live on a TV from church. There are also small tables for children and papers and pencils and small toys. So little children are engaged while parents can watch the mass and the faithful in the church are not disturbed by crying babies. After mass we all gather in the parish center, we can have cake and coffee and converse about the mass or other daily problems and news. The parish center is accessible from the church via a corridor where relics from the church has been exposed and also the walls are full of children's drawing and projects. The center is big, it has a kitchen and bathroom, tables and chairs, a TV and a piano. On cold days a real fire can be made in a beautiful fireplace. The light comes through large window doors and outside where there was only dust and stones now it is paved and there is beautiful green grass. 

Pastoral center
In the last 3 years the number of people coming to church in Rusovce grew and the community also grew closer, we already know ourselves by name, we saw children grow and receive  First Communion, other babies were born and many activities took place around the church. The church has now also a web page where we can find the program of the masses and of the events in the parish center.

 Katka's baptism in the church

I felt i needed to write more about this church because after 3 years i felt that this article was unfinished, that there are so many things to write about the St. Mary-Magdalene of Rusovce.This church has become dearest to my heart and the people in it also and our priest i consider the best priest i ever met in my whole life, dedicated and gifted, kind and intelligent. Besides having my wedding there and my conversion to Catholicism, my child was baptized there. We had a beautiful ceremony, my little girl was in a white dress, all my family was there and i will never forget it. The most beautiful moments of my life took place in this church and I became to love it from the bottom of my heart, i love the people and i love coming and listening to the mass.


  1. Thank you for your beautiful words about such amasing place. Finaly I find the Church for praying also for me. Thank you and all the best to your family.