St. Euphemia chruch

Facts about the church of St. Euphemia

On the place where the church of St. Euphemia stands today till the 10th century used to be the Chapel of St. George who still is the co-patron of the parish and who's statue is placed on the main oltar in the church. In the year 800 sarcophagus containing the body of the Christian martyr Euphemia came floating on the sea waves. Many pilgrims came to visit the tomb of St. Euphemia so the citizens of Rovinj decided to build a bigger church. The construction of the tower began on December 3rd 1651 laying the foundation stone by a Milanese architect Alessandro Monopola. His intention was to make the church look like the Church of St. Mark in Venice.

Between 1725 and 1736 the Venetian Baroque building was restored. The outside church lenght is 51.11 m and its width is 30.26m. The central nave is 17.71m high and the other two naves are 10.11m high. In 1758., after a thunder destroyed the old wooden statue, a big copper statue of St. Euphemia was placed on the top of the bell tower. There is an interesting fact about that statue and that is that it turn around it's axis depending on the wind strenght.

Who was St. Euphemia?

If you want to understand why such a big and impressive church was built in Rovinj you should read who was St. Euphemia and how she became the patron of the city.

Euphemia was a young girl from Malaysian city of Chalcedon. She was born in the year 290 in a distinguished patrician family. She was given a Christian upbringing and in her town she was known by outstanding virtue and beauty. During the reign of Emperor Diocletian, who persecuted Christians, she was condemned for refusing to sacrifice to the idol of the city and imprisoned along with forty-nine other Christians.

She was tortured in various ways, but in spite of that she remained faithful to Christ and steadfast in the decision not to sacrifice the pagan deity. In the end she was thrown into an amphitheater where the lions killed her, but did not disfeature her body, to the amazement of the spectators. She was only fifteen years old when she was sacrificed her life for the faith.

What happened later is not entirely known but we know that on July 13th 800. after a big strom amarble sarcophagus floated on the coast of Rovinj. Many perople tried to pull the sarcophagus uphill, but only a small boy with two cows managed to do it. That a great miracle for former inhabitants of Rovinj so they began to worship St. Euphemia as their protector. On September 16th the day of St. Euphemia is glorified and guests from all sides come to enjoy a big celebration on the main square.

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