Žilina’s old rectory

Žilina’s old rectory

"The old rectory", no longer exists as we used to know it. However, along with the Parish Church and later the Parish Stairs it was a dominant landmark in the area towards the river Váh. It  was not really old, as Žilina and its citizens had a rectory once before. It was relatively small. It  existed from the 14th century and was part of the Nitra diocese: Žilina’s Dean had jurisdiction over the Upper Považie region (then the upper part of the Trenčín county).Yet in the beginning, only the districts of Závodie and Strážov belonged to our rectory. We can imagine its eventual size by the corresponding payments of tithes. Žilina paid significantly more than neighbouring  rectories, eg.  in Lietava.
Žilina’s well - known propogator of  history Alexander Lombardini describes the situation very well. He states that Strážov, Bytčica, Ilové (now part of the village Lietavská Lúčka), Mojšová Lúčka and Stráňavy belonged to the Žilina’s rectory in 1617. Lombardini left us an account of the rectory thanks to a description of a priest’s flat: "... the house had one floor, the front side built of stone and wood. In 1699, it was pulled down by Jesuits and converted into a school". This is clearly testimony that the rectory was relatively small, despite the fact it was partly built of stone which corresponded to the town’s past importance. It was later demolished and the stone was re  -used which was as common then as it is today. The first Jesuits arrived in Žilina in July 1685 but they were not welcome by the residents and so had to lodge in Budatín castle. By November of that year they had left Žilina altogether. But soon after they returned and were managing the rectory by the end of the year. Accounts of the original rectory’s location disappear after its demolition. The only certainty is that it was administered by Jesuits. It appears likely the old rectory was located within the Jesuit settlement in today’s Mariánske (St. Mary’s) Square.

History of the new rectory (1777-2008)

In 1777, a new rectory was built. It maintained its position until it was demolished in 2008. This rectory underwent changes as well, as in 1848 it burned out together with its rich parish library which included a chronicle of Žilina by its resident Krušpier. However, in the oldest photograph of the town by Podivínsky from 1874, the rectory appears in the form that it had in the 20th century. The last major repair was carried out in 1913, yet few changes were made. An inscription on the building - RENOV. 1913 - which was located on the side towards the Parish Stairs supports this fact. Above the entrance to the rectory there was a relief showing the coat of arms of Upper Hungary. In 1848, the movement of Ľudovít Štúr (leaders of the Slovak National Revival) removed the hungarian crown from the coat of arms, placed on top of the crest’s three hills. The rectory served its purpose until close to the end of the 20th century. It was then moved, as the  building’s structural condition was deteriorating.

Source: M. Mrva

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