St. Mary´s Square No. 23
The Church of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle and the Monastery were built by Jesuits after their arrival in about 1654 – as missionaries. In 1743, they started to build the residence, providing a church and a monastery in place of the five original Renaissance houses. A single–nave Roman Catholic church with two towers was built in Baroque style. Although already consecrated to the Conversion of the St. Paul by 1749, the church was not completed until 1754. Regarding the placement within the town's organic structure, the church could not be constructed in the traditional west – east direction from the entrance to the presbytery, but is actually oriented in the contrary position of east - west. The cellars under the original houses are well-preserved and interconnected. The towers, which were originally of alliaceous shape, are 32 metres high.
St. Paul the Apostle - patron of church
In 1888, a stone statue of St. Paul the Apostle, bought for 330 gold coins in Munich, was placed in the niche on the building façade. In 1928, a chapel was attached to the church as part of the project by the architect Michal Maximilián Scheer. The church and the new chapel were decorated by the artist Jozef Škovránek from Bytča in 1929 - 1930. The main altar was built in Baroque style in the first half of the 18th century and the paintings of St. Paul the Apostle are by the painter, sculptor, architect, naturalist, inventor and educator Jozef Božetech Klemens (1817 – 1883). The church was further embellished by Ján Ignác Cimbal (1722 – 1795).
The Monastery and underground spaces
The Monastery of Capuchins has three floors. A lower Grammar School was founded here by the Jesuits back in 1691. After their departure in 1773, the building was owned by the town Žilina, the vintner Štefan Raška. The Bishopric of Nitra bought it in 1832. Following the restoration, from 1833, there was an orphanage of the Bishopric of Nitra in the building; from where the name "Orphan‘s church” hails. The building bears a memorial plaque commemorating the Nitra Bishop Jozef Vurum (1763 – 1838), the founder of the orphanage. The director of the orphanage was Ľudovít Stárek who was the first to compile the Žilina Town Archives.
In 1881, the orphanage was transferred under the administration of the Congregation of daughters of Christian love of St. Vincent de Paul – abbreviated to Vincentky. Between 1945 - 1946 several Jewish children escaped from racial persecution being allowed to hide themselves in the Monastery. In 1945 the orphanage became a temporary civil hospital and was subordinated to the head of the surgical department.
In 1950, during the totalitarian regime, the sisters Vincentky had to terminate their activities and from1958 it became a Medical high school. Later the building was utilized by the Považská Gallery in Žilina, which installed an exhibition of the sculptor Rudolf Pribiša. Since 1993, after the restitution, the Order of Capuchins Friars minor has occupied the Monastery.
Source: TIO Žilina (researched from academic literature).
It can be visited
The Church of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle:
■ working days: 7.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
■ Saturdays, Sundays: before worship.
■ during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map: B4
Number of the monument on the map: 5