THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF HEALTH OR GOSPOJA
It is a votive church built in place of the former church of St Peter from the 14th century by the people of Vrbnik in 1859 after a cholera epidemic that took the lives of 79 people. It was erected at the time of the service of vicar Nikola Gršković and the bishop of Krk Ivan Josip Vitezić. On the altar there is a statue of the Mother of God with the Child decorated with a gilded silver crown and surrounded by the statues of St Peter and St Roch, and St Fabian and St Sebastian, the protectors against infectious diseases. Above the entrance is a rosetta that was donated by lawyer Dinko Vitezić in 1888, and the big bell was acquired in 1923. In this church all the Marian holidays and devotions are celebrated, and it is also one of the stops during folk processions held for the Palm Sunday, the Feast of Corpus Christi and Saint Roch’s Feast. This is the favourite church of the inhabitants of Vrbnik, who love to celebrate different anniversaries there, and in the recent times it has often been chosen by couples as a place to hold the sacrament of the wedding. The romantic surroundings on the top of a cliff overlooking the old town centre surrounded by walls and the Podvelebit Canal, the small park Gospoja and the vicinity of the hotel of course contribute to this choice. In the park called Gospoja after the local people’s name of this church, there is a statue of Blaž Baromić, the first known Croatian Glagolitic printer. The statue is turned towards Vrbnik, with its back towards Senj, where he opened the Glagolitic Printing House in 1494.
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