The Sacral Route

08:00 – Arrival in Virovitica
08:00 – 09:00 – Visit to the Franciscan monastery and the Church of St. Roko (Virovitica)
09:15 – 09:45 – Church of St. Theresa of Avila (Suhopolje)
09:45 – 10:15 – Coffee break
10:15 – 10:45 – Church of St. Elijah the Prophet (Gradina)
10:45 – 11:00 – A place of prayer (Gradina)
11:20 – 11:40 – Church of St. Barbara (Sladojevci)
12:00 – 12:30 – Church of St. Peter and Paul (Čađavica)
12:45 – 13:45 – Church of St. Joseph (Slatina)
13:45 – 14:30 – Lunch break
15:00 – 16:00 – Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Voćin)
17:00 – 18:00 – Monastery of St. Nicholas (Orahovica)
18:00 – Return

Church of St. Roko (Virovitica)

The complex was built in the second half of the 18th century and therefore it bears all the characteristics of an elegant and energetic baroque era. Inside the church there are main and side altars of rich baroque ornamentation, and a monumental organ. The sacristy has preserved the original furniture, while the refectory is one of the most preserved baroque places in the region. Since 2011, the Franciscan Museum has been operating within the complex. It houses a collection of thousands of valuable items – church utensils, clothing, furniture, paintings and sculptures, as well as a great library.

Church of St. Elijah the Prophet (Gradina)

The foundations of the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet were set up by the parish priest Josip Nesek in 1775. The walls and roof were built in 1820, while in 1904 and 1905 the church walls were painted from the inside. As these images faded over the years, in 2004-2005 the parish church has been repainted to its original state. The area around the church is adorned with an alley of chestnuts, which was planted in 1883, and today is under protection. Of the stylistic architecture, we should also mention the parish court in Gradina, which was built in 1783.

Church of St. Barbara (Sladojevci)

The Parish Church of St. Barbara in Sladojevci was built at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, and it has the stylistic characteristics of the late baroque era. The wall paintings (frescoes) in its interior are a special testimony to Christian solidarity and universal love. After the October Revolution in 1917, the new authorities in Russia persecuted priests, monks and nuns of the Russian Orthodox Church. Many of them left Russia in exile, and on their refugee journey they have been taken care by the parish communities through which they passed. They remained in certain places and in certain communities for as long as a particular parish could help and support them. It was the same in Sladojevci. As a sign of gratitude for the help provided, Russian church icon painters painted frescoes on the walls of the church in Sladojevci, with motifs of everyday life that they experience there.

Church of St. Peter and Paul (Čađavica)

The church was built in the 15th century while it was decorated in the baroque style during the 18th century. Powerful buttresses that support the walls are the most typical visible elements of its original Gothic architecture. It is the oldest church in this part of Slavonia and is a very valuable cultural monument. According to the list of churches by the Zagreb Archdiocese from 1334, this church is referred to as the “ecclesia sancti Martini de Zagocha”.

The Monastery with the Church of St. Nicholas (surroundings of Orahovica)

The monastery was built in the 15th century. During the 16th century a church was built inside the monastery in the style of the so-called Moravian school. This building is the only example of this type of architecture in Slavonia. The monastery church is painted with valuable frescoes. The pillars are also painted with frescoes which, along with other saintly figures, show the genealogy of Nemanjić. The iconostasis was painted in 1869 by the painter Pavle Simić from Novi Sad, in the Nazarene style of the 19th century. The closed complex of the monastery consists of several buildings located around the monastery church. The lodgings, buildings for monastic lodgers, are located on the south and north sides of the monastery courtyard.

Church of St. Theresa of Avila (Suhopolje)

The Parish Church of St. Theresa was built in the classicist style from 1807 to 1816, and it was dedicated in 1821. The decision to build the parish church was made by the owner of the Terezovac estate, Count Ivan Nepomuk Janković, with his wife, Countess Terezija Janković. In honor of the Countess, the parish church is dedicated to St. Theresa of Avila. The church is a classicist building with a square sanctuary and a circular nave with a vaulted dome. Next to the circular nave there are two side bell towers, with two chapels on the ground floor. Next to the main facade is a portico with pillars. The church is built of brick. The construction of the dome consists of two parts, external and internal, and it is built of wood. The inventory of the parish church dates from the beginning of the 19th century, and bears the stylistic characteristics of classicism. The inventory consists of the following items: the main altar of St. Theresa with the altarpiece, baptistery, two wooden pedestals, six candlesticks, two canonical plates, altar partition, pulpit, oratory, organ, painting “Pieta”, and painting “St. Trinity”. The church is one of the most prominent examples of classicist architecture outside urban centers.

A place of prayer (Gradina)

On the feast of St. Antun, on Friday, June 13, 1997, at the foot of the Gradina primary school, a small group of students had an unusual experience that was accepted by the general public as the apparition of the Mother of God. Since then, Gradina has been visited by many curious people and believers. The place of the miraculous experience has been transformed into a place of prayer, rosary and Marian songs. History records, and the older inhabitants of Gradina remember, a very similar miracle that happened also on the feast of St. Antun, on Friday, June 13, 1939, at the Kaniža pond by the road to Gradinski Lug, which the general public also accepted as the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Church of St. Joseph (Slatina)

The Parish Church of St. Josip in Slatina was built in 1913 and it is a typical example of the neo-gothic style in the architecture of that time.

Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Voćin)

The church was built in the 15th century in the Gothic style with elements of the so-called Prague Gothic school. It represents the largest example of Gothic architecture outside urban centers in our country. The church was completely demolished in 1991 during the Homeland War, and its restoration in the original state, by the method of facsimile reconstruction, was completed in 2011. The interior of the church is decorated with works by the most prominent contemporary Croatian authors, so that the church as a whole is a top cultural tourist destination. A rose garden and an arboretum with plants originating from 5 continents are planted outside the church.

Texts and photos: TZ VT, TZ VPŽ,,, Antonio Jurkin, Kristijan Toplak, Matija Rođak, Matija Turkalj