The church of Our Lady of Lourdes is one of seven Slovene basilicas and one of the largest churches in the country. The church is also called the ‘Slovenian Lourdes’ since money for its construction was donated by Slovenians from all over the country and from abroad.

bazilika1The foundation stone for this imposing three-naved church, built in the Neo-Romanesque style, was blessed by Prince Bishop Mihael Napotnik on 16th July 1908. Building work, carpentry and other works were undertaken by companies from Ljubljana, Zagreb and Prague.

On 26th September 1908 at the Lourdes grotto, Prince Bishop Napotnik blessed a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes for the main altar, and a statue of Saint Joseph for one of the side altars. Three days later in Peray-le-Monial, he blessed a statue of the Sacred Heart for the other side altar. All three statues were made in Paris. The stained glass windows, which were made by craftsmen from Innsbruck, were installed in November 1910. Depictions of scenes from the Rosary were painted by Osvald Bierte. In the same year Peter Markovič, an academic painter from Rož in Carinthia, painted allegories of faith, hope and love. Above the side altars he also painted depictions of the death of St. Joseph and the Apparition of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Alacoque. The main altar and the pulpit were crafted by the stonemason Feliks Toman from Ljubljana and the side altars by Vincent Čemernik from Celje. The altar of Our Lady of Sorrows and the Holy Sepulchre is the work of J. Mayer of Munich.

The church and the main altar were solemnly consecrated by Prince Bishop Michael Napotnik on 2nd July 1914. The church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Brestanica (formerly known as Rajhenburg) was raised to the status of Minor Basilica by an apostolic letter from Pope Pius X1 on 8th June 1929. On 1st October 1929, it became associated to the ‘Liberian’ (named after Pope Liberius) Basilica of Saint Maria Maggiore in Rome.


A new religious influence was introduced into this locality when the French government disbanded the Trappist monastery of Dumb near Lyon in 1881 and the ‘silent monks’ relocated to Rajhenburg castle. The castle was purchased with funding from brother Gabriel Giraud and converted to a monastery dedicated to Mary the Rescuer.

The sixteen-hour day of the Trappist monks comprised of prayer, work, penance, reflection and learning.

The Trappist monks were engaged in a variety of business activities including agriculture, stockbreeding, viniculture, cheese-making and fruit growing. In 1896 they started producing chocolate and liqueurs. They had their own power station and by 1896 the telephone and printing press were installed. The Trappists had a significant impact on the spiritual and economic development of the area until they were expelled and their property confiscated by the Germans during the Second World War. An exhibition of the life and work of the Trappists can be seen in the castle.

2011 Vse pravice pridržane. Župnija Brestanica.
Izdelava: Izidor Šojč - izisojc(at)gmail.com
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