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Greek Catholics return to Croatian town after long absence

New chapel in Vrlika is blessed on the site of a church demolished in 1971

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: June 13, 2021 05:38 AM GMT
Greek Catholics return to Croatian town after long absence

A newly built Greek Catholic chapel has been blessed in Croatia on the site of a church demolished 50 years ago.

Vrlika is a small town in Dalmatian Zagora that has long boasted three churches that belonged to different religious communities.

Along with the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Orthodox church of St. Nicholas, until 1971 there was a Greek Catholic church dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

The Greek Catholic parish of Holy Trinity Vrlika was founded back in 1834, when about 100 local Orthodox Christians joined the Catholic Church. The parish was part of the Dalmatian Vicariate of the Diocese of Krizevci.

In the 20th century, the number of parishioners decreased due to emigration. The last Greek Catholic in Vrlika died in 1952.

Holy Trinity Church in Vrlika was built in 1843. In September 1970, it was badly damaged in an earthquake when the roof collapsed. At the end of February 1971, it was demolished by dynamite.

The celebration was attended by Greek Catholics from Split, Sibenik and Zadar, other guests and Vrlika residents

After decades of absence, the Greek Catholic holiday of the Holy Trinity was celebrated in Vrlika on May 29. The celebration was jointly organized by the city of Vrlika and the Diocese of Krizevci.

The celebration began with a ceremonial academy in the town hall. The speeches were given by Greek Catholic Bishop Milan Stipic of Krizevci, Vrlika mayor Jure Plazonic and Ivo Misur, the initiator of the celebration.

At the end of the academy, the mayor presented gifts to the bishop: a large framed photograph of Holy Trinity Church and the famous Vrlika hat.

The program continued at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, where the liturgy was served by Bishop Stipic, making him the third Greek Catholic bishop to visit Vrlika.

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After liturgy at the site of the demolished Holy Trinity Church, the new memorial chapel was blessed.

The celebration was attended by Greek Catholics from Split, Sibenik and Zadar, other guests and Vrlika residents. After the blessing of the chapel, the people of Vrlika and the guests continued celebrations in a restaurant.

The chapel will be taken care of by monks from a monastery due to open in nearby Kricke. The Diocese of Krizevci plans to hold a Greek Catholic liturgy every year in Vrlika on the feast of the Holy Trinity.

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