Renovated Heart of Jesus Church blessed in Városmajor

Hungarian version of the article: Megáldották a felújított városmajori Kistemplomot

Written by: Pestbuda.hu

September 14, 2020 at 5:00 PM

The renovation of the Heart of Jesus Church in Városmajor has been completed. The façade, interior and roof structure were replaced during the reconstruction. Designed by Aladár Árkay, the church served as a hall of worship for ten years and later became a scene of local community life.

The Heart of Jesus parish in Városmajor is a building complex on Csaba Street in the 12th District. The major church and bell tower are joined by the Small Church, currently the Ottokár Prohászka Community Centre. The two-building are connected by a semi-circular concrete arcade.

The magyarkurir.hu reports that the congregation celebrated the completion of the renovation on 13 September. Cardinal Péter Erdő blessed the building while celebrating mass. The Esztergom–Budapest Archdiocese was able to complete the reconstruction with financial aid from the Government.

The one-year reconstruction resulted in the restoration of the building's structure and changes to the layout to facilitate its new function. The roof structure, façade and interior were all renovated, and lighting modernised. The Small Church will be furnished with donations from the congregation.

The Small Church of Városmajor (Photo: loyalprayers.com)

Under renovation, October 2019 (Photo: Balázs Both / pestbuda.hu)

The "Small Church" only functioned as a hall of worship for a decade, but was later used as a community hall by the parish. Construction of the church was commissioned in the 1910s due to the growth of the District. The architect Aladár Árkay undertook its design and organisation of the construction free of charge.

The plot of land in Városmajor was donated by the City Council, and construction costs covered by donations from the faithful. Construction began in 1922. The church was consecrated by Cardinal Prince-Primate János Csernoch on 8 September 1923.

Picture of the forest chapel in the 18 February 1923 issue of Újság.

The church is characterised by a number of motifs mainly from Kalotaszeg, Transylvania and late elements of Hungarian Art Nouveau. The most striking ornament of the building often referred to as the "forest chapel" is its red-tiled roof. The interior evokes Romanesque churches with its many columns and small arrowslit windows. A rose-window with painted glass lets light into the building.

When the congregation outgrew the church, plans for a larger building were drawn up. Aladár Árkay began work in 1927, but following his death in 1932, the new church was completed by his son Bertalan Árkay. The church was consecrated in 1933 and is considered to be the earliest modern public building in Hungary.

The Small Church was built from donations and consecrated on 8 September 1923 (Photo: Balázs Both / pestbuda.hu)

Work underway at the Small Church in the spring of 2020 (Photo: MTI, Zoltán Balogh)

The Small church was thus transformed into a cultural centre named after Ottokár Prohászka. The building hosted several cultural, religious and musical events. Church music was a central element of life, the composer Lajos Bárdos worked here as the church composer and conductor.

After the fall of socialism, the Small Church again became a cultural centre, housing events that deal with religious, cultural and at times, even public questions. Owned by the Chruch, the building has remained a central venue of religious education, community events, and the scene of community life for the congregation and others.

Cover photo: The renovated Small Church (Photo: localprayers.com


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