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Kalocsa: 18th Century Reconstruction

The erstwhile home of prebend-historian Istvan Katona became the home of the Treasury of the Archbishopric at Kalocsa in 2002. The Treasury’s permanent exhibit introduces the Religious Art relics of the historic Kalocsa Archbishopric, and at the same time, it gives a glimpse into the 1000-year history of the Archdiocese. The artifact anthologies are chronologically displayed in five rooms.

Room 2
: 18th Century Reconstruction

In 1686, shortly after the liberation of Buda, Ottoman rule of Kalocsa and the surrounding areas ended. The freed territories, however, revealed a dismal sight. In place of once inhabited villages, little but ruins, dust and ashes remained: no civil service, and no public safety existed. Reinhabitation and reconstruction took many years, and Kalocsa gained a local archbishop only in 1733.

Thus, the 18th century meant a second conquest for the diocese. As a result of the sacrifice and organizing efforts of the archbishops of Kalocsa during this time, the institutions of the diocese were reborn. They gradually built the parish network, and raised new churches. During the century, the town of Kalocsa, the Diocese Headquarters, was reconstructed. The Baroque cathedral and the archiepiscopal palace became the two buildings that defined the cityscape.

The plans of the new cathedral were devised by Archbishop Imre Csaky in 1728. Although many of the records pertaining to the building of the cathedral have been lost, stylistic elements indicate that the designer must have been a prominent 18th century Austrian architect.

The cornerstone of today’s cathedral was laid in 1735 by archbishop Gabor Patachich, and the construction continued until 1754. It was Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary, who urged the construction of a new archiepiscopal residence by the cathedral. The old archiepiscopal palace—badly damaged during the Turkish occupation—retained more of a fortress-type character after reconstruction, and subsequent additions did little to improve the comfort and standing of the building.

In 1775, the fortresses of the archiepiscopal castle were demolished, and a cornerstone ceremony launched the construction of the new palace. The archbishop of Kalocsa at this time was Adam Patachich, former bishop of Nagyvarad (now Oradea, in Romania). His portrait is displayed in this room.

Patachich used the plans of his Nagyvarad headquarters, drafted by Lucas von Hillebrandt, but he opted for a smaller palace that would be completed faster. Indeed, construction advanced swiftly, and except for the western wing, the edifice was completed by 1780. The stately study of the finished east wing became home for the archbishop’s famous 17,000-volume private book collection; a library that is open to visitors and researchers today. The palace’s fresco decoration was carried out by Franz Anton Maulbertsch, one of the most popular painters of the era.

Kalocsa Hungary: Manuscript -- Latin language poems of archbishop Adam Patachich

In the manuscript display case, we can see documents of the reconstruction of the archiepiscopal headquarters, and intriguing pieces of the archiepiscopal legacy. Some of these include the school papers of archbishop Jozsef Batthyany, the university notes of archbishop Ferenc Klobusiczky, and the Latin language poems of archbishop Adam Patachich. The estate administration’s oldest, hand-drawn maps reflect the efforts to reorganize the nearly 100,000 acres of the archiepiscopal property.

The liturgical objects displayed in the room were created in the second part of the 18th century, and they reflect the Baroque spirit. The artisans who brought them to life were predominantly master craftsmen from Vienna, who used these pieces of art to express their joy over heavenly beauty and meeting God. The intricately decorated silver and copper objects received a golden finish. All vital liturgical furnishings of an 18th century religious ceremony can be found in the exhibition cabinet: censers, thuribles, monstrances, chalices, holy water fonts, patens, scripture pointers, baptismal ewers, and reliquaries.

Treasury of the Archbishopric Kalocsa: 18th century baptismal ewer

Displayed next to the portrait of archbishop Adam Patachich is a remarkable monstrance, made with intricate craftsmanship by Simon Reichenpfatter of Pest, in 1767. On its top, we can see the figure of God the Father under a baldachin, surrounded by glorifying angels. The neighboring exhibition cabinet holds chalices decorated with scenes from the life of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, and as we step forward, we can see one of the most exceptional pieces of the cabinet by the window: the reliquary panel. In the middle of the panel holding 12 relics there is a little door, behind which an embroidered frame holds a wax image depicting the Ascension of Mary.

Images and information courtesy of the Archiepiscopal Treasury, Kalocsa
Translation: Iren Bencze