THE ARTICULAR WOODEN CHURCH OF SVÄTÝ KRÍŽ
The evangelical lutheran church of Svätý Kríž represents one of the greatest wooden buildings – churches in Europe. Apart from the fact, that almost the entire church is made of wood, it is unique for its bulk, inner trimming, area and cross-shape. It forms inseparable part of its environment – natural scenery of the low and High Tatras. Its history reveals us the history of the Evangelical church in the region of Liptov, too. The Reformation doctrine of Dr. Martin Luther penetrated to Liptov after 1520. At first, the Protestants used old churches adjusted with regard to protestant soberness. The growing Counter – Reformation hand in hand with worsening standards of living of inhabitants was raising repeating uprisings of the Hungarian nobility. In 1678, an uprising against the emperor started. The successes of the rebels as well as fear of Turks made the emperor Leopold compromise in the field of religion freedoms. In 1681, he called the county council to Sopron which codified 82 articles. The article 25 guaranteed the return of the religious liberty, the driven-away and sentenced priests and teachers were remissed. According to the article 26, the protestants could build one church in each independent royal town and two in each county. There were built two articulate churches in Liptov, i. e. in Hybe (1681) and Paludza (1693). They had to be situated in the outskirts and could only be made of wood. The churches could not have any belfries, bells and entrances had to be turned away from a village.
The first articulate church was built in Paludza in 1693, but we know nothing about its appearance. It took its present shape during eight-month reconstruction in 1774. Because of upbuilding of man-made lake Liptovska Mara, it was dismantled, renovated and rebuilt on the state expenses in the Svätý Kríž territory in 1974–1982. On March 5, 1774, the Paludza Church concluded a treaty of renovation of the articulate church with a carpenter Jozef Lang. The renovation was finished in that same year despite Lang's illiteracy. In the following 100 years, the church served the whole Lower and Middle Liptov. A wooden belfry with a bell was erected in 1781. Though, being separated, in creates a harmonious unit together with the church. The present bells come from the period of 1921–1922 and are named: Faith, Hope, Love.
The inner trimming fascinates everybody for its baroque equipment, esp. noteworthy is a baroque altar (1693). A pulpit is worthy of attention too. These are the works of a wood-carver Ján Lerch from Kežmarok. An organ (1754) was made by Martin Podkonický and it was reconstructed in the 80's. A great chandelier (1780) is made of Venetian glass. Chancels are two-storey behind the altar, too. They are decorated by ornaments and paintings from the Old and New Testament. They look simple, but vivid in colours. A baptistry is made of stone. There are pictures of Dr. Martin Luther and Filip Melanchton on the southern side of the church as well as a family board of the former patron of the church Platty, etc. There were 5 tombs in the church in which the significant paters (priests, teachers) were buried.
The articulate church was declared to be the cultural monument on March 3, 1963 and it is being proposed for the national cultural monument (1995). Its beauty does not lie only in its pictorial and architectural interpretation, but also in its spiritualism. It has still served its original use and we firmly believe that it will also serve the next generations to the glorification of the triune God.