According to written memories Szentbékkálla had a parish already in 1333. The first detailed notes of church visits is dated from 1745, describing the church as being in a rather bad state, it would need more order and cleaning. Another document from 1760 lets us know that the church was in the need not so much of decoration, but enlargement and whitewashing, its tower was in ruins and on the verge of collapse.
The church of today was built between 1790-1799 in late baroque style by Karoly Eszterhazy, the bishop of Eger (not fromt duty though, but from friendship, noble conscience and piety of the co-owner). The plans had been made probably by Jakab Fellenthály Fellner. Due to the death of the generous sponsor the impreesive church which had been planned with two towers was completed with a more modest outlook and only one tower only in 1860. Thanks to bishop Janos Ranolder, in 1859 a new vicar, Mihály Fatér arrived in the village, who did a lot for the church. He had a God’s coffin built, had the alter of Mary of Lourdes made and in the place of the old, decrepit organ had a new one built by the famous organ-maker from Budapest, Sándor Ország in 1869. The old one was moved to the church of Köveskál.
The biggest benefactor of the church was the locally born György Szabó, canon of Veszprém, who had the floor of the church cobbled, had it painted in 1869 and in 1899 ordered a new altar from János Heckenast, the guilder and altarbuilder of Szombathely. The painting of the altar depict the Annunciate Mariae Virginis, the side figures are the statues of St. Stephan on the right and St. Emerich on the left.
From that time until today the church and its environment has developed due to the donations of the inhabitants of Szentbékkálla and the people connected to the village. In 1955 the painting of the shrine began: the three frescoes are the works of the artist Ernő Jeges. Between 1988 and 1990 the building got a new roof and tiles and the facade was renovated. In 2006 collection for renovating the worn down organ was started. Thanks to the generous donors a complete reconstruction of the organ – which has become a listed object – could be finished in 2008.
Presently the church not only serves the members of the parish, but it also gives place to significant concerts of classical music. Every year, with the selfless help of Géza Kovács, the director of the Hungarian National Philharmonics (HNP) – also proud owner of a vineyard in Szentbékkálla – orchestral concerts take place in the church. The artists of the Grazioso chambermusic orchestra of the HNP give concerts every summer on Saturday evenings. For more information see www.kalivigassagok.hu

To enlarge click on the pictures!

     

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