Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through History

Explore the extraordinary past of Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through the pages of the book 'Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through History.' Uncover political events, economic development, and cultural heritage of these Banat towns through richly documented stories. Follow the evolution from the earliest days to the present, delving into the intricate threads of political intrigues, economic transformations, and cultural ascensions. Experience the past through the eyes of the author as the pages of the book unfold before you, providing a unique perspective on the life and legacy of these significant locales.

Catholic Church in Novi Bečej

Catholic Church in Novi Bečej

Until 1747, Catholics in Novi Bečej, comprising a total of sixty-eight different nationalities including Hungarians, Germans, and Croats (boatmen), did not have their own place of worship or a priest. They belonged to the parish in Veliki Bečkerek, where they attended services, and the local priest conducted burials and other religious ceremonies.

The Catholic chapel was built in 1747 from bricks at the site where the current Catholic church in Novi Bečej stands, specifically where the stairs leading to the church choir are now located. The chapel was five fathoms long and three fathoms wide, dedicated to Saint Valentine. It remained in use until it collapsed on its own in 1800. With the construction of that chapel, Maria Theresa granted Bečej an independent Catholic parish, which also included the following settlements: Vranjevo, Arača, Beodra, Karlovo, Bašajid, Bočar, and Kumane.

The current Catholic church was built with the funds of Klara Šišanji from 1804 to 1809. The cornerstone was laid on October 15, 1804. All physical labor, as well as the transportation of construction materials or "kulučki" works - as the locals called them, were carried out by Catholic believers. The county ordered that part of the "kulučki", with which the Serbian municipality of Bečej remained indebted, be repaid during this construction for work on the Begej River bank, but the county deputy Pavle Černović did not execute that order.

The consecration of the church was carried out at the end of October 1809 by the canon Jožef Kesegi from Čanad. On that day, Bečej was adorned and celebrated with a multitude of people from surrounding villages. At this ceremonial moment, the donor Klara Šišanji was not present because Napoleon had invaded Austria with his army, and she fled from Vienna to Sibiu (in Romania). The new church was dedicated to Klara of Assisi, at the request of the donor, and a special altar was dedicated to the previous patron saint, Saint Wandelin, of the former chapel.

On the day of the consecration of the church, grain traders from Novi Bečej collected five hundred forints for the interior furnishing of the church. Klara Šišanji sent a picture of Saint Clare for the main altar from Vienna. One of the side altars, dedicated to Saint Wandelin, was decorated with the funds of the butcher Karnas István, who donated 170 forints for that purpose, and there is a picture of Saint Wandelin. The other side altar is dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of Croatian grain traders in Novi Bečej and Vranjevo. In this altar, there is a picture of Saint Nicholas the same size as that of Saint Wandelin. In addition to these, there is another exceptional altar, below the choir, equipped with the funds of the faithful.

The bells were purchased in Timișoara. The largest one weighs 700 kg, purchased in 1805 from the church's funds; the second largest, weighing 325 kg, was purchased in 1791, and the third largest, weighing 241 kg, was purchased from the funds of the faithful, with the majority donated by the official Ludovik Pavek. The smallest bell, which announces the death of believers, was purchased in 1803.

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