The Parish of Novaki extends on an area from Cerkno to the Črni Vrh hill and prides itself on the parish Church of St. Thomas in the center of the village.
The Church of St. Thomas in Novaki
The church, which originally stood a little lower than the current one, was first mentioned in the records of a visitator from 1570. The record of the visitation in 1755 mentions that the archdeacon inspected the church and determined that it was too dangerous for worship service and could collapse, so he decided on a location for a new church. In 1758, the construction of the current Church of St. Thomas began. The year 1762 is inscribed in the arch between the nave and the presbytery today, since the church was built and ordained as sacramental in that year.
The core of the church is the main nave with the choir and the presbytery. On the right side of the presbytery is the sacristy. It was restored in the years 1887 and 1888. In 1899 the roof was repaired and the church was repainted. During WWII, the bell tower burnt down due to German bombardment and the arch of the nave and the walls were also damaged. A new tip was placed on the bell tower in 1959.
The church was renovated after earthquake damage in 2001 and 2002.
It is not known when the main altar of St. Thomas in the presbytery was made, but it was first renovated in 1881. The work was carried out by Anton Žonta from Spodnja Idrija. In 1897, the statues on the main altar were made (St. Paul and St. Peter, the work of Jožef Šubic from Gorenja Vas) and the angels or the cherubim as well. On the left side of the main nave there is the altar of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, which was completed in 1889. On the right side stands the altar of St. Florian. It is not known when it was made, but it was renovated in 1895. In the middle of the nave there are confessionals on the left and the right side. There is a painting of St. Thomas above the right confessional, painted in 1882, and there is a wooden cross with a wreath of lights above the left one.
On the left side of the cross stands a statue of the Immaculate Virgin Mary from 1901 and on the right side is a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from 1926. Under the choir on the left side of the nave there is the baptismal font.
In 2012, at the 250th anniversary of the parish church, the retired bishop Metod Pirih consecrated the new altar table and blessed the new ambo and paving in the presbytery.
The choir in the back is embellished by a magnificent organ, which was put into place in 1943 and was made by Valiček. It was damaged during WWII and renovated in 1951. It currently isn’t serving its purpose, since it is in need of a complete renovation. The church’s first organ was installed back in 1852. That one was made by Lipnik.
In 2005 the Stations of the Cross were renovated, which were made in 1872 and were damaged during the German bombardment. Ten paintings and 9 frames were preserved. Paintings V, VIII, IX and X and their frames, along with the frame of station XI, were missing. The preserved paintings and frames needed conservation and restoration treatment. The missing paintings were painted anew in an imitation of the author’s style. The frames were newly gilded with gold dust. The Stations of the Cross were blessed on 9 October 2005.
There are four bells and a small bell or “knell” in the bell tower. The big bell was cast in 1855 and recast in 1947. The three bells were consecrated in 1993 and 1995. They were cast in the foundry in Žalec.
St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles. He did not want to believe in the resurrected Jesus until he met him. He became the symbol for all generations, a symbol of a man who doubts, hesitates, and accepts faith with difficulty, but once he has decided, he embraces it with complete devotion and loyalty.
The feast day of apostle Thomas was celebrated on 21 December from the 6th century on and from 1969 on it has been celebrated on 3 July. Since 2011 the parish in Novaki has also celebrated the feast day of its parish patron on this day. St. Thomas is usually depicted with a spear and he often holds the angle ruler of architects. This is due to a legend that says that he drew the plans for a beautiful palace in India. Because of this legend St. Thomas is revered as a patron saint by architects, surveyors, geometers, masons, stonemasons, and carpenters.
St. Thomas, intercede for us to have strong faith!
SOURCE; Novaška kronika – Katapan, knjižica “250 let cerkve sv. Tomaža”
Photo; Janko Razpet