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From the History of the R. C. Parish in Zamárdi

(After the Turkish occupation of Hungary)



In 1740, when the village of Zamárdi was being resettled, the site for the Church had already been marked out to be in the centre of the village, with only the belfry standing there.

Samuel Vajda, the Abbot of Tihany, began construction of the church in 1771, and consecrated it as early as on the 8th of September in 1774. At that time, the tower was not completed, indeed it was still under construction in 1777.

On the Feast Day of the Nativity of Our Lady the church was dedicated to the Queen of Angels, and so the Titular Day of the Church is celebrated on the 8th of September, or on the first Sunday following that day.

The wooden altarpiece and the pulpit were made in 1779 by György Lingzer of Székesfehérvár, and are painted to resemble marble. The painting on the altarpiece represents the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, with the sculptures of St. Joseph and John the Baptist standing at either side.

The baptismal font and the altar are in the late baroque-early rococo style, as is the church itself. Above the pulpit there is the statue of St. Michael slaying the devil. The church is a listed building and the altar, font and pulpit are protected as items of a historic monument.

The church had an excellent organ made in 1786, but unfortunately it was destroyed during World War II, with the casing used for firewood and the pipes taken away by Soviet soldiers.

Prince Primate of Hungary József Batthyány, who was also Abbot of Tihany, made Zamárdi into an independent parish, separating it from Endréd early in 1784. From the following year, the parish started to keep its own records, registers for baptisms, etc.

The first parish priest of Zamárdi was P. Benedek Bosnyák, whose mother is buried in the church's north wall. Her plaque can still be seen there.

A side altar was built in honour of St. Wendel in 1851. This is now under the choir gallery by the north wall.

In 1899, it was found necessary to reinforce the building's foundations by erecting a one metre high bastion around the church. This was built of natural stone from Tihany.

At 6 pm, the 28th of March 1905, a fire started in the neighbouring school, destroying the church tower. The bells were melted down, and only the ash and the soot-covered walls remained. The tower was rebuilt in the same year, but without the baroque sphere which had been below the cross on the steeple.

The Abbot of Tihany, Ciprián Halbik, commissioned the casting of new bells. The biggest of the new bells, which weighed 522 kg, was requisitioned by the army in 1944.

The crucifix in front of the church is the work of stonemason Máté Polacsek, and was blessed on the 7th of March 1863. It is listed as a protected monument, as is the statue of St. John Nepomuc, which is behind the church.

The church was first renewed and redecorated in the period 1860-62. In 1974, on the 200th anniversary of its original consecration, a second and comprehensive renovation was carried out. In 1982-3 the parishioners helped in the work of complete repainting and redecoration. In 1990, five violin-shaped baroque windows were replaced with new ones in the original style. Still in the same year, the gold decoration on the altar, baptismal font and pulpit was renewed, again with contributions from the parishioners. In 1991, the timber structure of the spire was replaced and covered with copper plates, and in 1997, the church roof was retiled. The church exterior was completely re-plastered between autumn of 1998 and spring of 1999. At that time the main door was also replaced, and the grounds landscaped. The thick concrete posts against the church steps have been replaced with two copper handrails. All cornices, ledges and windowsills have been covered with copper sheeting. In 1999, the first clock in the church's history was installed.

The church interior was completely redecorated in 2000-01, with new wiring and light fitting installed. The walls were painted white, and the floor laid with slabs of the original Solnhofen stone, and a wrought iron grille was fitted behind the entrance door.

Until 1951, the year of the second forcible dissolution of the monasteries, the church and parish of Zamárdi were under the care of the Benedictine monks of Tihany, who belonged to the Arch-abbey of Pannonhalma. (The Order was first dissolved by Joseph II in 1786. The then parish priest, P. Benedek Bosnyák stayed on, but came under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Veszprém. Still in his lifetime, in 1802, the Emperor Franz I restored the Order, and the parish of Zamárdi belonged once more to the Benedictines of the Abbey of Tihany.)

From 1951 until 1993, Zamárdi belonged to the Diocese of Veszprém, but from 1993 on it has been part of the newly established Diocese of Kaposvár.

At the Chapel of the resort the new open-air liturgical place was finished in 2003 on the basis of plans by engineer János Ripszám. István Varga, the rector of the Veszprém College of Theology consecrated it the second Sunday of July during the evening mass. It was built with approx. 200 seats, the following year it was enlarged to 350 seats. Since then, it has been the favorite place for attending mass for Zamárdi's faithful as well as for the vacationists.

The crucifix with the beautiful corpus, the mosaic showing the bread multiplication of Tabqha and on the ambo the fishing net with fish are the work of artist András Albert. His goldsmith's masterpieces decorate the Sándor Palace in the Buda Castle and the Petőfi Theater of Veszprém. The front of the house of the kantor-keeper is decorated with the relief of the Madonna in bronze, the work of Hargitta Mecseki.

On the 20th of August 2006 the church received a new big church bell of 625 kg (g-tone) donated by József Vona, owner of a villa in Környe. The new bell was consecrated by Béla Balás, bishop of Kaposvár. The bell was cast in the foundry of Miklós Gombos at Őrbottyán.

Funded through proceeds gained from the selling of the sites, the new kantor house with garden was built in 2007.

Also from the proceeds of the sold sites and from donation, the house of the keeper was built in Petőfi Street, next to the Chapel, in 2009. At the same time the Chapel was renovated outside and at the liturgical place the works of Hargitta Mecseki and András Albert were rearranged.

The intention of organ building was announced by the priest György Kocsi on 20th of August at the consecration of the new bell. The project started in the spring of 2007 and the payment was effected on 30th of June 2009. The construction began on the spot on 16th of July 2009 and finished on 18th of August with the dedicated, hard work of the experts of Pécs and the French masters Bertrand Cattiaux and Laurent Anen.

The consecration of the organ was celebrated by the retired bishop of Székesfehérvár Dr Nándor Takács on 27th of June 2010 at the 10 o'clock mass.

The two opening concerts were given on the same day by professors of the Budapest Academy of Music János Pálúr, István Ruppert, László Fassang, and the organist Péter Kováts. At the consecration of the organ and at the concerts the French masters and staff of the organ builders of Pécs were present as well.


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