28 March 2019

PRIORY TRANSFIGURATIONIS

Sampor | Slovakia

Reliable information about activities of the followers of St. Benedict in Slovakia date to the 9th and 10th century, but the first mentions go before the time of the mission of St. Cyrill and Methodius. From this time on many abbeys, monasteries and other monastic houses have been built in our country. First significant crisis of the monastic life comes at the time of the Turkish expansion, unrests and anti-habsburg uprisings. Attempts to revive benedictine life are only muted due to the unfavourable impact of enlightenment in the 18th century.

The communist regime has wiped out the living monastic tradition, which existed in Slovakia for more than thousand years. What remains are only the historical sites and local names: Hronský Beňadik, Zobor, Skalka pri Trenčíne, but also the saints — St. Andrew-Svorad and St. Benedict of Nitra, who are still honored and to this day draw great numbers of pilgrims to their relics. The return of benedictine monks to Slovakia happened around the jubilee year 2000.

Important role in this process had the bishop of Banská Bystrica, Mgr. Rudolf Baláž, who already in the year 1998 allowed two of his priests (Fr. Vladimír Kasan and Fr. Blažej Škvarka) to leave his diocese and enter into the Order of St. Benedict. Two years after they started their formation in the Tyniec abbey the first attempt was made to register the order in Slovakia.

In the year 2002 the monks accepted a generous gift — an old rectory in the vilage of Bacúrov. This house later became a temporary home for the slovak monks. The slovak benedictine foundation started in the year 2003 by the decision of the abbot Marek Szeliga OSB and the chapter of the Tyniec abbey. The old, more than 30 years uninhabited rectory, demanded a lot of work. Within two years it has changed almost completely and has become a small monastery. Despite the rich history and a possibility to take over a historic benedictine site in the country, the monks have decided to build a new monastery.

This decision was made because of many reasons, especially to ensure the proper growth and formation of a new comunity without the addtional load of a pastoral work, or a care of historical buildings. Thanks to the generosity of Mgr. Rudolf Baláž and the parishioners from Sliač the community acquired a seven acres lot over the village of Sampor. This place proved to be an excellent match for the demands of the monastic life, providing enough room, quiet surroundings while being also accessible for guests. The foundation cornerstone was blessed by Bl. John Paul II. during his last apostolic visit to Slovakia.

The building plan of the new monastery was born only gradually. The monastery grounds are situated on a slope and this has led the community to an original, but practical solution. The first stage of the construction comprises the church and the guesthouse with additional facilities. The construction could not be completed without many generous donations from Slovakia and abroad. The principal part of the financial backing came via small donations from slovak believers. More than 6000 benefactors have contributed to the project. The monastic enclosure is situated in the guesthouse. This part of the construction began in October 2006 and finished in May 2010. The second stage of the construction is currently underway and contains the monastery proper alongside a bakery, farm building and other objects.

When this stage completes, the monks will move to the new part, thus freeing more rooms for the guests. The Monday of Pentecost, 24th May 2010, will be firmly written in the modern history of benedictines in Slovakia. On this day the monastic church of the Transfiguration of the Lord was consecrated by Mgr. Rudolf Baláž, in the presence of other bishops, abbots, monks, clerics and around 1500 people from the entire country. After the consecration the monastery was erected as a simple priory of the Tyniec Abbey.

By a decree of the abbot president of the Benedictine congregation of Annunciation, Fr. Ansgar Schmidt OSB, with the approval of the General chapter of the Congregation on 5th October 2012, our monastery was erected as a conventual priory. Father Bernard Sawicki OSB, the abbot of our founding abbey, has named Fr. Valdimír Kasan OSB as its first conventual prior.

 

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