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Servant of God, Father Petro Oros (July 14th, 1917 – August 28th, 1953)

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The miraculous icon of the Mukachevo Blessed Virgin Mother of God

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2009-06-07 • PLACES

Greek-catholic episcopal residence in Uzhgorod, Transcarpathia

Brief historical outline, significance and general description of the building

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2009-06-07 • PLACES

Greek-catholic episcopal residence in Uzhgorod, Transcarpathia

The history of the Episcopal residence is closely tied with the history of our Cathedral dedicated to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy and Glorious Cross, which is located right next on the same street – Kapitulna 11. Its foundation was laid in 1641. At that time there were Jesuit collegium and school – the first middle educational institution in Uzhgorod and Transcarpathia region. According to the foundational charter of the Jan X Druget collegium had 21 cell for Jesuit monks, rooms for teachers, chapel, library, study classrooms, large lecture-hall for discussions and theatre performances, room for the sick, pharmacy, basement, storage rooms, kitchen. The monks lived on the second floor while school was located on the first floor. In 1773 after Jesuit knight was dismissed, collegium was given to the State and for a while it was not used, while school continued to function. On August 1, 1775 Jesuit building were given into the disposition of the Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo. Necessary documents were signed in the rector’s room of the collegium in the presence of the Bishop Andrew Bachinskij, canons and the members of the regional commission. It included also school and library. In the summer 1785 the building of the school was demolished. Later on in times of the Bishop July Fircak there was organized beautiful little garden, which still adorns the entrance into the Residence.
Andrew Bachinskij partly renovated and rearranged Jesuit collegium as fitted for the Episcopal residence. Later on, in 1846, Bishop Vasyl Popovich reconstructed it, giving the building modern outlook. On the upper part of the Residence facade were fixed four emblems. One in the centre belongs to Bishop Andrew Bachinskij, those on the sides – to the bishops Vasyl Popovich and Stepan Pankovich, while the emblem located directly over the main Residence entrance, belongs to the Bishop July Fircak, which similarly as his forerunners considered as a duty to perfect the overall structure of this baroque with classical elements architectural pearl.
Episcopal residence amazed not only with its outlook and vivid location, but also with its interior. Let’s begin our little excursion from the Residence ground floor on the western part of the steep hill. Here in three big rooms was located large and very rich library. The first mention of the Episcopal library is related to 1767. Before the First World War the library contained more than 20 000 books. In Soviet times the library was confiscated and given in the disposition of the Uzhgorod State University. Partly this unique book collection escaped destruction; moreover it is still in the same rooms as was in times of the Bishop July Fircak. On the first floor one can get through the main entrance. There were located rooms for guests, steward, consistorial secretary, other service personal and four rooms for the Bishop’s apartment. Second floor was undoubtedly the richest and most interesting part of the Residence. One can get there by the wide central stairs or inner – narrow metal stairs from the Episcopal apartment. First to what should be paid attention is Episcopal private chapel. About the Jesuit collegium’s chapel was already mentioned in foundation charter of Jan X Druget. In 1777 on the feast of Assumption of Our Lady in the chapel reconstructed by Bishop Anrew Bachinskij, was celebrated first Divine Liturgy. Bishop used the chapel on Sundays and feast days. There also took place ordination to priesthood. In order to get to the chapel one have to cross a large hall – refectory. Next to refectory was “pinky salon”. There on the walls hanged pictures of the Austrian Cesar’s and Hungarian Kings, picture of the pope Pius X. But in 1905 there was mounted a memorial plate to remind us that in the night from 9 to 10 of December 1805 and then from 11 to 12 of March 1806 in this room was preserved holy crown of Hungarian kings in times of Napoleon Wars. Impresses by its beauty and richness also “red salon”. It was furnished with elegant and very expensive furniture and with many original hand-works of the famous Hungarian and German painters. Next to the “red salon” was piano room, where Bishop Fircak used to spend his leisure. From salons we get into the archducal apartments, that had two bedrooms and smoking-room, arranged in one of the Residence towers. Austrian archduke Joseph stayed here during his visits to Uzhgorod. On the second floor there were also bedroom of Bishop Popovich, billiard-room, but in Residence northern part – Episcopal offices, workrooms.
Episcopal residence during all the stages of its long history was not only Bishop’s dwelling place. Here took place important ecclesiastical meetings, secret negotiations, meals for the poor, ordination of the new candidates to priesthood and silent prayers of our diocesan rulers.
Right before the liquidation of the Greek-Catholic Church in Transcarpathia, on February 16, 1949 Episcopal residence was occupied by Soviet militia, so diocesan administrator Mikola Muranij (1911-1979) was forced to give them the key. In 1950 Episcopal residence was given in the disposition to the Uzhgorod State University library, which till the present day occupies part of the Residence (mainly book storages).
In 1989 Greek-Catholic Eparchy was legalized. In 1990 the State officially restored the buildings of the Cathedral and Episcopal residence to the property of the Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo. Nevertheless, the actual return of our Cathedral happened only after a few years of stubborn fights on October 10 1991. Last reparation works of the Residence were accomplished before 1940. Thus, for more than 70 years there were no repairs or renovation works. The official process of returning stage by stage the Episcopal Residence started only in 2004. Already have been returned six rooms and the chapel (240m2 out of near 3000m2). We have already all necessary documentation to register officially the building as Mukachevo eparchy’s property but due to the absence of the new rooms for the State University library it is still in the process and the whole residence should be restituted to us until the autumn 2009.
 
Links:
Cathedral church and Episcopal residence before the renovation (outside facade and roof)
Cathedral church and Episcopal Residence after the renovation