The Catholic House and National Theatre were built by the Catholic Circle association led by the prelate of Žilina, Tomáš Ružička. The building was designed by the architect Stanislav Koníček who worked in Žilina from 1923. The Catholic House was built from 1925 to 1926 in a Neoclassicist style. A double cross, the state symbol of Slovakia, with sculptures of two eagles is set on the gable of the façade. Above the entrance to the building there are sculptures of two women symbolising musical and theatrical art, and the façade bears a commemorative plaque to the native of Žilina, national awakener and co-founder of Matica slovenská, Juraj Tvrdý (1780 – 1865). In 1939, the building was purchased by the School Sisters of Saint Francis from Ružomberok. From 1939 to 1945 it was home to Roman Catholic girls’ schools; after the Second World War a primary school, nursery school and teaching college had their premises there. From 1961 until May 1990 the building was used as “BLOCK C” by the University of Transport and Communications in Žilina. In May 1990, the order of the School Sisters of Saint Francis returned here, and the St Francis of Assisi Grammar School has been located here from 1991 until today. In the past, the building was also the seat of various associations, such as the Orol Catholic Physical Education Club and the Association of Slovak Railworkers. The cinema of the Czechoslovak Red Cross called BIO HUMANITAS also had its premises in the national theatre. The drama section of the Slovak National Theatre and the Academic Singing Association from Bratislava even held performances held. The Vienna Czechoslovak choir Lumír performed here, and important soloists from Bratislava gave a performance of the Oratorio of Saint Ludmila by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) one year after its Slovak première, on March 13th 1927. It was the greatest cultural event of the 1920s . in Žilina.
On October 6th 1938, representatives of Hlinka’s Slovak People’s Party and another five parties signed and declared the Žilina agreement on the autonomy of Slovakia within the Czechoslovak Republic. Dr. Jozef Tiso (1887-1947), later the first president of the Slovak Republic, immediately declared the autonomy of Slovakia from the balcony of the Catholic House, which was then confirmed by the National Assembly of the Czechoslovak Republic. This event is commemorated by a plaque near the entrance of the building.
Source: Mgr. Jozef Moravčík, Mgr. Peter Štanský
It can be visited
■ exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map: B3