Parish Church of St Hermagoras and Fortunatus

Parish Church of St Hermagoras and Fortunatus

The most important parish church is located on a scenic hill above Žužemberk. In the period when the Celts were settled in this area, there was a settlement and a road there. Later, the Church of St. John the Baptist was built on the site, which was dedicated in the 14th century to Sts. Hermagoras and Fortunatus. The church was rebuilt in the Renaissance style in 1769. It had two bell towers and seven altars. In 1944, it was burned down, including the organ. In 1994, the church was rebuilt, and in 2005, the parishioners received a new “Bach” organ. The special feature of the organ is that it is acoustically adapted to Slovenian national songs and compositions written by J.S. Bach.

The life and death of the martyrs Sts. Hermagoras and Fortunatus is intertwined with many legends, so that we cannot determine with certainty the time or place of their martyrdom. It is possible that this was indeed the first century, but more likely the beginning of the 4th century.
The only reliable fact is that at the beginning of the 5th century – during the so-called migration of nations – their relics were transferred to safety to Aquileia and they came to be known as the “Aquileia’s martyrs”. Aquileia was the focal point of missionary activity among Slovenes south of the Drava river. From 1461 to 1961 – i.e. for exactly five centuries – they were also the first patrons of the Ljubljana diocese, and since then they have been its secondary patrons.
There are 29 churches dedicated to them in Slovenia, probably the most famous of which are the churches of Gornji Grad and Žužemberk, and besides these two one is dedicated to only St. Hermagoras. Several local places are named after him, for example the hill of “Sveti Mohor” (St. Hermagoras) above Zgornja Besnica, “Mohorjev hrib” above Moravče, as well as the hill and settlement of “Šmohor” above Laško.


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