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Franciscan Church


This magnificent basilica is dedicated to Mary, Our Mother of Mercy, and characterised by its red clinker façade and two tall towers. It was constructed at the turn of the 20th century on the site of the Capuchin monastery and replaced the Church of our Mother of Mercy.

The basilica was built in the neo-Roman style and has an east-west orientation with a twist: the main entrance faces east, towards the suburbs, while the presbytery with the main altar is located in the west. By contrast, most churches have the opposite orientation, with the main portal at the west end and the presbytery at the east.

The main altar of the basilica is made of no fewer than 17 different types of marble. gilded bronze, enamel, brass, and crystal. The altar is in the shape of a monstrance.. On it is the statue of Mary from the 18th century, which was the main reason for the expansion and the many pilgrims visiting the church. Because of the many granted wishes, it was named the Mother of Mercy. Later, the basilica was named after the statue.

The statue of Mary on the altar bears the inscription, Pozdravljena Mati Usmiljenja! (Hail, Mother of Mercy!)

In 1746, the statue was in very poor conditions and was taken to Graz to painter Wigelsföls for restoration. The restoration workshop soon became the location of the first miracle attributed to the statue. Wigelsföls’ wife, who had been ill for a very long time, recovered. For a year, the statue stood in the castle chapel in Freibichl by Lipnica. The reputation of the miraculous power of Mary quickly spread, and because of the many granted wishes, the statue was named the Mother of Mercy. The statue was returned to the Minorites in Maribor in 1747  in hopes that all pilgrims would be granted mercy.

Because of the many wishes granted, the citizens of Maribor proclaimed the Mother of Mercy the protector of Maribor. When Emperor Joseph II. issued a proclamation, and closed the Minorite church by the Drava River, the Capuchins relocated to the Church of St. Mary (the predecessor of the basilica). Since then, the statue of Mary has remained in this location, granting mercy to all who ask for it. In 1864, the church and the monastery were taken over by the Franciscans, who still manage it today. Grateful for all wishes granted, the citizens of Maribor and other pilgrims, built this magnificent basilica.

The statue of the Mother of Mercy was placed in the top section of the main altar and, because of its poor condition, renovated in the baroque style. The crown on its head is a symbol of dignity in Christian art.

The basilica  was initially, painted in the mural style from the 11th and 12th century. After the World War II, the Franciscans painted the church white. Today, only a small section of frescos is preserved. In 1900, an organ made by Jožef Brandl of Maribor was installed in the church. In 1992, the organ was expanded and restored.

Frescoes and stained glass windows made by Stane Kregar can be found in the presbystery. Almost all the stained glass windows were destroyed during World War II, except for the rosette on the north side of the church. After 1960, new stained glass windows were made for the presbytery; three based on the designs by Stane Kregar and two on the designs by Pavel Sušilovič, who also made the stained glass window above the main entrance.



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