The memorial Church of the Holy Spirit is located in the exceptional natural environment of the Julian Alps, above the alpine pasture of Polog. In memory of their dead comrades the soldiers of the 3rd Austro-Hungarian Mountain Brigade built it with their own hands in 1916, with the support of donations. The church was built in the Art-Nouveau (Secession) style to the plan of the Viennese architect Remigius Geyling, and the construction manager was the Hungarian first lieutenant Geza Jablonsky. It stands on a slope that was levelled to form an artificial terrace, up to which, a mighty set of stone steps leads. Its foundations are made of stone, but the church is built of wood. Rising above the entrance is a turret with a sundial, which symbolizes the impermanence of humans and the permanence of nature, with the inscription Pax (Peace) and Indivisibiliter ac inseparabiliter (Indivisible and inseparable) and the two-fold coat of arms of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The exterior is decorated with the painted coats of arms of all twenty Austro-Hungarian provinces. The altar in the church is in the form of a cross with a mosaic image of the Holy Spirit as a dove. The wooden part of the altar is the work of Tyrolese Anton Perathoner of St. Ulrich. The idea of the memorial church is best embodied in the oak boards, which open like the pages of a book along the walls of the church. The soldiers burnt into this “book of the dead” the names of their 2,565 fallen comrades who had lost their lives in the surrounding mountains. Most of these soldiers are buried in the military cemetery at Loče near Tolmin.
During the war, a Mass was celebrated for the soldiers every Sunday. Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox believers, Jews, Muslims and atheists would harmoniously come to the church, where all of them sought for spiritual power and solace. The church is not only a unique artistic jewel, but it has also been carrying out the work as a symbolic mission of peace. It reminds visitors of the horrors of the war and at the same time, calls for reconciliation and for inner and everlasting peace. The inscription made during the Italian reconstruction works of 1934, calls attention to this saying: Ultra cineres hostium ira non superest (Beyond the enemys’ ashes anger subsides).
Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit in Javorca – Polog – an Exciting Vale of Peace
From Tolmin drive towards the village of Zatolmin, at the crossroad after the restaurant turn right (in the direction of Tolmin Gorges) and then the next left. Continue on the road for about 8 kilometres until you reach the parking area below the Javorca Church. From the parking area you have a 15-minute walk up to the church.
In the summer time you can reach the church only with the hop on-hop off bus.
Center za obiskovalce Pot miru, Kobarid
(The Walk of Peace Visitor Centre, Kobarid)
Gregorčičeva ulica 8
+386 5 389 0167, +386 31 586 296