Parish Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Stomorina

This three-aisled church was constructed at the turn of the 12th century in a Romanesque style.

This three-aisled church was constructed at the turn of the 12th century in a Romanesque style using decorative elements of an older church from the 9th and 10th centuries. Next to the chapel, a dome and sacristy were added in the 16th and 17th centuries. The church is a treasury of valuable sacral items. A large wood-carved, polychrome altarpiece on the main altar, the work of an unknown artist from 1565, stands out. It features an incorporated early Renaissance wood-carved polyptych. In the apse of the southern nave, there is a polyptych of St. John the Baptist, dating to the period around 1410. The painted parts of the polyptych have been attributed to the Venetian painter Jacobello del Fiore, while the relief of St. John is a Gothic piece that was created later. The walls and the ceiling of the church were painted by a local painter and decorator Ivan Volarić, and the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament by Stanislava Radimiri.

In the lunette above the main door of the church, early medieval stone reliefs, parts of the pluteus and pulpit of a pre-Romanesque altar screen, were subsequently integrated. These probably belonged to a church which stood on this site before the preserved Romanesque basilica.

Adjacent to the parish church, there is the former Gothic Chapel of St. John, while next to it there is a massive Renaissance bell tower. This church complex is a treasury of early medieval stone sculptures from an earlier sacral building that was located in this place. The Glagolitic inscriptions carved in stone record the years of its construction and additional works on the church (1405, in the month of June , this window was done for Mr Martin Glušac).

The church was built at the turn of the 12th century as a three-aisled Romanesque basilica whose builders were directly influenced by the large Romanesque buildings in the town of Krk. The three naves are separated by an arcature that lies on massive columns with a square cross-section. The central nave ends in a main apse with a rectangular layout, and the side naves in small semi-circular apses (the southern apse is hidden by a recent annex). In the lunette of the main portal on the western façade, on the exterior and interior wall, and on the pillars and pulpits, fragments of church fittings (slabs/plutei, beams, pilasters and parts of the tegurium and pulpit from an earlier church) have been incorporated. They can be easily recognised by their characteristic Christian motifs: a belief in constant renewal, resurrection and eternal life. These motifs include skilfully modelled knotted ‘endless’ braiding, circles, semi-rosettes, whirled rosettes, cypresses, vines, birds and other vegetable and zoomorphic ornamentation. Reliefs were subsequently added to the Romanesque parish church, both during its construction and afterwards.

Pre-Romanesque master builders carved the church fittings on the spot, mostly using Istrian limestone, which was transported here in blocks by ship, and also partly marble from Greek quarries, which was used as spolia from existing local buildings. The rose window on the façade of the church is a naïve work by the local master builder Sinoga. Its Glagolitic inscription dates it to the year 1405. Some unofficial inscriptions/graffiti in Glagolitic letters were inscribed on the Romanesque lateral portal in later periods (15th-17th century). In the 16th century, the church was systematically enlarged, which is documented by a Glagolitic inscription from the year 1525 on one of the chapels along the northern nave. The cross vaults of the side chapels attest to the fact that local master builders still built in the late Gothic style. Adaptations intensified under the imperative of changes to the liturgy dictated by the Council of Trent, and culminated with the construction of the dome above the presbytery in the 17th century, and the inclusion of the previously separate church of St. John the Baptist in the 18th century.

In the centre of the late Renaissance altar retable, part of its early Renaissance predecessor has been preserved. This wood-carved and painted sculpture is among the greatest achievements of Venetian production of the time. The same is true for the processional crosses, reliquaries and censers. A visitation in the second half of the 16th century mentions that the church had as many as 18 altars. In the right apse, there is a wood-carved and painted altar retable of St. John the Evangelist, which has been attributed to Jacobello del Fiore (early 15th century). The frescoes in the dome and on the ceiling of the main nave were painted in 1929 by the local artist Ivan Volarić.

Today’s sacristy, the former Chapel of St. John the Baptist, is located next to the side entrance to the southern nave of the parish church. Its Gothic façade was constructed in 1442, which is attested to by the Glagolitic inscription located between the original openings, the now walled-up portal and a narrow window with slanted frame edges (In the name of God, amen. In the year of our Lord 1442 this façade was constructed, and at that time the officials were the priest Petar and Dv…). Stylistically, they can be recognised by their characteristic pointed arch. It is assumed that beneath the chapel there are the remnants of the former baptistery of the church that was originally located in this place.