'm greeting you in the monastery church of the Cistercian Order in Zirc. This church is the second in this region. The first church, which was built in gothic style, in the 12 th century, when King Béla the III-rd invited the Cistercian monks to Hungary, went wrong during the Turkish occupation. This church was 150 meter far in the direction to East. Today we can see only a single pillar from it, beside the road leading towards Győr.
he building work
After the Turks had been thrown out from Hungary, teh Cistercian Abbey of Heinrichau decided to rebuild a Cistercian church and a monastery in Hungary, and to send monks to renew the monastery life. After taking a view of the possibilities, they chose Zirc. Therefore they bought the properties of the Abbey of Zirc from the Abbey of Lilienfeld, and sent some monks to begin the rebuilding work. Because the old buildings where in a very bade state, they decided to build a new and modern church and monastery. This time the Baroque style was modern, so they built the new church and monastery in Baroque style. So that the new buildings should have a relation with the old, they built the news, with the same measurements and from their material. They used the building sas a stone mine, and therefore they blew up, the still standing walls. We have known the building method when we, beside the third side-altar, have broken through the wall. The 90 cm thick wall was built so, that on the side off the church they built a 15 cm thick brick wall, ont he side off the monastery a 15 cm mixed wall, and between them, they filled in the hole with mortar, brick and stone rubble, formless stones, and with from field collected stones. In one step they built a half meter, and when they came round back, was the former built part strong, that they could build another half meter on it.
The grounding work off the church started in 1732. With the building of the walls they started in 1738. In 1748 was the church already in such a state, that the ceiling pictures were finished. (Wagmaister the painter namely died in 1748 January.) The solemn blessing was in 4 July 1752.
In 1770 the furniture was also completely finished.
he ceiling pictures
The church had not been so dark, as it was before the restoration. We learnt it, when we got up with the scaffolding to the roof. Then we saw, that the original frscoes which were painted by Josef Wagmaister between 1742 and 1748, had Franc Innocent in 1891 not only cleaned and rectified, but also powerfully overpainted. After clearing away the overpainting, from some not significant places, then we knew that the original frescoes are much better and brighter, and are till 95 percent in good condition. Then we cleared away the overpainting from the face of a secondary figure. The result was surprising, from beneath a 35 year old man with beard and moustache, came forwand an 18 year old young boy without beard and moustache. Though the jury, which was called together, was against the clearing away the overpainting "for we did not know, what would we found". We were bold and cleared away the whole overpainting from the fresco, and so then came forward the grandiosity of the original fresco. The clothes and background became clearer, the old bearded and moustached faces became young. Therefore we should feel the change, should we look at the side by side lied pictures. It is also remarkable in which a good condition have the original fresco come forward. So the now visible pictures are not new frescoes or seccoes, but the original frescoes from the 18 th century, only the overpainting from 1891 was cleared away, and 1 to 5 percent repaired or completed. We knew only after the clearing away the overpainting, that the fresco over the big organ was painted not by Wagmaister, but likely by the painter who painted the frescoes of the parvis. According to the investigations it seems that the painter was Stefan Schaller, according to the similarity to the fresco which is in the Ursulinen church in Győr.
Innocent painted over not only the pictures, but also the decorations among the pictures. After clearing away the over painted uncharacteristic decoration come forward a clearer painting with architectural elements, decorated with flower garlands, and bunches. Therefore it seems as if the vaulting is opening towards the heavens.
We over painted the walls with the same pastel colours, which we found as rests under the overpainting from 1891.
We have not written documents, and oral traditions, about who the artists were, who sculptured, carved and achieved the wooden work. According to the common opinion they were the Pauliner monks from town Pápa, because the monks from Heinrichau the first winters in Hungary spendid in town Pápa, and there they learnt the sculpturing and joiner workshop from the Pauliner monks.
At the renovation in 1891, they had also overpainted the whole furniture almost with dark oil paints, also the beautiful carved gilded parts. The totally gilded sculptures were over-painted with white oil paints.
The whole furniture of the church is made of wood. In the past 250 years the woodworms and the fungi caused great damages in them, that'why we had to build them down to the floor, disinfect, kill the woodworms and fill with synthetic rosin. From the decomposed elements we had to clear away the overpainting, so that their original beauty and brilliance appeared. And after strengthening them, could we build them together.
From the furniture by any case, we must take a view, of five objects: the main altar, the two side altars, the pulpit and the big organ.
he main altar
The Cistercian monks devoted quite all of their monastery churches, which they built for themselves, to the Holy Mother taken up in the haven, as their main patron. The whole altar-construction will present that for us. The picture was painted in Vienna by Franz Anton Maulbertsch in 1752. At the lower part of the picture we can see an open sarcophagus, around it surprised apostles, seeing flowers in it which are represented with a flower bunch before the sarcophagus, instead of the dead body of the Holy Mother. Over them, on a little cloud, angels are carrying the Holy Mother to the heaven. Over the picture in the middle of the upper statues, Archangel Michael is flying with a flag in the hand, as the leader of this heavenly procession. In the ceiling picture we can see the Holy Trinity, where in the hand of the Godfather and Jesus is a crown, to crown the Holy Mother to the Queen of the Heaven and the Universe. At the left side of the upper statue group we can see Archangel Gabriel and at the right side Archangel Rafael. In the lower statue group we can see from left to right apostle St. Petri, St. John the Baptist, St. Benedict, St. Bernard, St. Joseph with the little Jesus and St. Paul.
he two side altars at the front
The two side altars at the front are with the altar picture wholly original Baroque. Only the southern, the Holy Cross altar picture is signed by Felix Anton Scheffler in Prague in 1753. On the basis of pictorial comparability the painter of the eastern, the Holy Trinity altar picture was probable also F. A. Scheffler. It is also interesting that the leaf ornaments, rarely used in Baroque, on the inner sides of the two side altars were missing. We find them, mutilated on the hind part of the small organ. After completing them, they come back on their original places.
On the sound thrower we can see the scene of Mount Tabor. On the top is the glorified Jesus with a glory around him, beside him two prophets Moses and Elias, and before them, the three chosen apostles Jacob, Peter and John. Before the parapet are the figure of the three divine virtues the Hope with the anchor, the Faith with the cross and the Holy Sacrament, and the Charity with the heart in the hand. The relief shows us the following events and persons: on the parapet the birth of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and the arrive of the Holy Spirit, behind the speaker the Good Shepherd, and on the balustrade the four Fathers of the Western Church: Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine and pope Gregory.