LEGEND OF THE SAINT NICHOLAS CHURCH IN RIJEKA: They threw a rock into sea and told Serbs to build their temple there (PHOTO)
Church of St Nicholas, build with the funds of few, but very rich colony of Serbs, so called "Sarajlije", who moved to Rijeka in 1768
"Build your church there!", answered the governor of Rijeka in front of the city Tower on former sea cost to the orthodox community, when he threw a rock into the sea with great anger as far as he could, after numerous requests of Serbs to award them the place for the church. According to the tradition, persistent Serbs filled the sea and build a temple on the embankment built a church which stands to this day.
Temple of St Nicholas is settled in old city core of Rijeka, in the street of architect Ignacije Henke who designed the orthodox church. The street is in the axis with the City Tower and connects Promenade walkway with the waterfront.
Church of St Nicholas, build with the funds of few, but very rich colony of Serbs, so called "Sarajlije", who moved to Rijeka in 1768. Rijeka's municipality was opposing the construction of the church, and the legend from the beginning of the story was born.
According to the data from the archives of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Rijeka, settling of Serbis in 1768 is often taken as a date of founding of Serbian colony in Rijeka even though there were Serbs in these areas before. They were attracted to Rijeka by privileges of free harbor and freedom of religion.
Founders of the St Nicholas temple were Teodor Vukovic and Arsenije Sakabenta, with the participation of the entire orthodox community. According to the prototype of the cathedral Church of Gornji Karlovac Diocese, the blueprint was made, and the cornerstone was laid on 10 April 1788. Thanks to Vukovic and Sakabenda, their reputation and economic power, everything was completed except interior equipment in 1790. After the demolition of the fort on sea cost, big buildings were built next to the parish home which block the beauty of the church.
Stylistically, the Temple fits into a series of Baroque buildings of the 18th century in the areas of the Hapsburg monarchy. Icon collection covers the period between the 15th and 19th century, originating from Serbia, Greece, Russia, Vojvodina...
Tradition of the construction of church and Serbs are still retold, but the truth is that according to the project architect Anthon Gnambo, large portion of that part of town was built on the ground seized from the sea.
Currently there are around 10.000 citizens living in Rijeka, and around 50 believers visits the church on daily basis.
As the church itself, most of them celebrates St Nicholas day, and as they said, all eyes are focused on our orthodox community in Rijeka on that day.