Church of the Nativity of Our Lady

murals — Rosary Mysteries
liturgical equipment of the presbytery

Incarnated Mystery

The church of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Zavar is one of the examples when GloriaDei uses the architecture itself as a formal outline for a creative elaboration of the given content: we have chosen a conception of the Mysteries of the Rosary for ten central fields of the sanctuary (presbytery) and the nave due to their number – there are five joyful and five glorious mysteries. Thus the vault of this church directly is joyful news about God’s Glory which is revealed in Christ through the God-bearer.

In the liturgical furnishing of the presbytery we have visualized the idea of Christ, who is a source of eternal life in the Word and Bread, in a form that harmonizes Gothicizing references of historicism of the building from the turn of the 19th and 20th century with an artistic expression facing toward the third millennium.

The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
The AnnunciationThe Visitation
The NativityThe Presentation of Jesus at the Temple

Joyful rosary

mysteries fill the first five fields on the vault of the nave. Through the compositions of the joyful mysteries it turns the church’s ceiling into an imaginary canopy of heavens.

Marian blue with festive yellow-gold unite the reverence for the Virgin Mary with the celebration of the Triune God. At the same time, these colours lift the vault up higher than builders imitating the much higher Gothic.

In the images of the mysteries of joy experienced by the Blessed Virgin Mary together with her Son we emphasize the persons of the Holy Trinity – from the conception through the Holy Spirit until the little epiphany of the twelve-year-old Jesus among teachers of the Law in the temple – concentric circles of the invisible and perfect Father embrace, illuminate and sanctify every scene of the Mystery.

The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The ResurrectionThe Ascension
The Descent of the Holy SpiritThe

Glorious rosary

mysteries are a continuation of the gospel story of Salvation in multi-figural paintings of the Glory and Power of God revealed in Christ, the Victor and the Lord.

After the moment of the Resurrection which is evidence, confirmation and fulfillment of the faith in our Salvation, this Glory resounds again in connection with the Mother who continues to be a Mediator and God’s Bride forever.

By way of dynamic and monumental images of the Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost that close the vault of the nave of the pilgrim Church before a triumphal arch, the compositions in their motifs are also transmitted up to the heavenly spheres of the sanctuary.

There the mystery of the Virgin culminates – as in the beginning God descended to her and fulfilled her in intimacy, now He raises her up to Him, the Ruler, and fills the whole Heaven with her.

Last supper

Triumphal arch

An arch, which is a portal of the presbytery, an entrance to the sanctuary, bears a message of the Victorious Christ: Take and eat my Body, take and drink my Blood – and you will have an Eternal Life. (cf. John 6:50-57) Lord Jesus, a high priest, ministers and celebrates the first Eucharistic sacrifice during the last meal with his apostles – in a community that would become the foundation of the Church. The Last Supper is the only polychromic mural painting, and precisely due to its colourfulness it harmonizes with evenly vertical and colourful vitrages in Art Nouveau style in the back of the apse.

Evangelists and doctors of the Church

Evangelists and doctors

We have attempted to meet an appeal, which has been brought up by the Church since the Nicene Council (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1161) and which concerns the conception of an iconographic program, by depicting key saints in lunettes of the vault: in the presbytery in golden-ochre colour there are the evangelists, the inspired authors of transcripts of the joyful news about infinite God’s Love for people, and the original doctors of the Church who beautifully explained and lived this message.

Apostle PeterSt. Joseph Calasanz

Apostles and saints

Purple strips of apostles in the lunettes represent a distinctive colored element on the almost monochromic vault of the nave of the church in Zavar. The colour of martyrs is characteristic for these witnesses of Christ, apart from St. John who died a natural death. Traditional attributes that characterize individual saints are supplemented with writing in the style even with the whole decorative conception of the wall painting. Among the crowd of the gospel apostles there are also the apostles of Slavs together with St. Don Bosco and St. Joseph Calasanz – the apostles of children and youth.


Decorative program

We have grasped decorative elements of the painting in the church in Zavar in two levels: embedding and uniting the figural compositions in the architectonic environment of the ribbed vault; and harmonizing within interconnection of contemporary artistic reservoir with already existing elements, which are legacy of the past. Formally, we have created a kind of net that is characteristic for evangelistic mission of the Church: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19b) In the presbytery it turns into a Marian symbol of a rose which we have also stylized in the vent covers.

Liturgical furnishing
Liturgical furnishingLiturgical furnishingLiturgical furnishingLiturgical furnishing

Liturgical furnishing

We have realized this along with a complete reconstruction of the podium, which we have adjusted to technological and qualitative standards (floor heating covered by noble Italian marble). The furnishing of the presbytery – first of all, the table of the Eucharistic sacrifice and the table of God’s Word – is characterized by an element of a pointed arch made of inclined planes cut through by circle sectors, which are closed by a massive double plane of the table top. Using a minimizing geometrical concept we have accomplished a harmony with the historicizing architecture. The outline of content is made visible by stylized typographical compositions made of metal galvanized with gold.

I was very much thrilled to see the paintings of Dr. Peter Chambal in the church.
They are realistic and expressive.

James Mariakumar, SVD