TIC Šentjur

Ulica skladateljev Ipavcev 17

3230 Šentjur

 

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+386 3 749 25 23
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tic@turizem-sentjur.com

 

 

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Beatified Anton Martin Slomšek

The year 1800 was a turning point for the Slovenian people. That year in the village of Vrba, in the region of Gorenjsko, France Prešeren was born and in the village Slom pri Ponkvi Anton Martin Slomšek was born. Both these great men have left their mark on Slovenia, which certainly would not be the same without them. More than anything they shared a love of the Slovenian language and poetry.

 

Anton Martin Slomšek was born on 26th November 1800, in Slom and was baptized the very same day in the church in Ponikva. From early age he loved books, but in his father’s eyes he was the successor of the farm and he did not appreciate his son spending time reading.  The child’s mother and the chaplain Jakob Prašnikar interceded on behalf of the boy and his father finally gave in. After that Martin took the first steps to school – at first he visited chaplain Prašnikar’s lessons after Sunday mass in a modest room of a former watch tower, which in times past protected parishioners from Turkish invasions. In summer, Mr. Prašnikar gathered his pupils under the shade of a large powerful nut tree, which early on in Slomšek’s younger days stood in the middle of the village of Ponikva. One Sunday at the end of the school year the pupils tested their skills in the shade of that nut tree and Slomšek proved to be the best.

 

In order to continue his education he left his home village and went to Celje and later to Ljubljana, where in 1819 he first met Prešeren. For a few months they were classmates in philosophy class, but then Slomšek left Ljubljana and went to a secondary school in Senj, Croatia. Then he studied theology in Klagenfurt, where he also taught Slovenian language to his schoolmates.

 

Slomšek was ordained as a priest on 8th September 1924, after which he returned home for a short period of time. His first mass after his ordination was held in Olimje near Podčetrtek, where the former chaplain and his mentor from Ponikva, Jakob Prašnikar, who had supported him throughout the study both morally and materially, held the office of a priest. After that Slomšek attended theology in Klagenfurt for another year and then got his first job as chaplain in Bizeljsko, where the wine-growing hills inspired him to write some songs; the most famous certainly being, “En hribček bom kupil” (“I will buy a hill”) which became a folk tune. Later on he was a chaplain in Nova Cerkev and in 1829 he returned to Klagenfurt to continue his study of theology and he became a spiritual director of theologians.  He did this job for nine years. During that time he wrote a lot, both for children and adults. He collected folk songs and revived the Slovenian language course which had concluded after his departure. He corresponded with Matija Čop, ruminated about the orthography of the Slovenian language and published several books.

 

After nine years in Klagenfurt Slomšek applied for a new job among the people and in 1838 he became a priest in Vuzenica. His most famous legacy from that period is a textbook for Sunday schools with the title “Blaže in Nežica v nedeljski šoli” (“Blaže and Nežica in Sunday school”). The book was reprinted several times; it was translated into Czech and was used even in Russia. 

 

In 1844 he moved from Vuzenica to Sv. Andraž where he became an inspector for the schools in the Diocese of Lavant. At that time he wanted to establish a Slovenian publishing house to publish quality and inexpensive Slovene books but the authorities prevented this from happening. However, in 1846 a selection of miscellaneous short records and thoughts with the title “Drobtinice” (“The Crumbs”) was published. In the same year Slomšek was appointed as bishop in Sv. Andraž.  

 

His most important mission was to transfer the seat of the Lavantine diocese from Sv. Andraž to Maribor. On 3rd September 1859 the first mass at the new seat of the diocese was held in the cathedral in Maribor. The transfer enabled Anton Martin from Slom near Ponikva to include in his diocese around 200,000 Slovenes who had been under the diocese of Graz and would under the German influence loose their national belonging. Slomšek has linked almost all Slovenes in Lower Styria into a new, Slovenian diocese and saved their home and generations. 

 

Anton Martin Slomšek died on 24th September 1862 in Maribor. He is buried in the cathedral in Maribor. On 19th September 1999 he was beatified and blessed by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Maribor.

 

Sources:

  • http://www.rkc.si/slomsek/
  • A book “Drobtinice s Slomškove Ponikve”, edited by Miha Herman
  • A guide “Slomškova pot” by Stanko Klinar
  • A folded leaflet “Rojstna hiša Antona Martina Slomška na Slomu pri Ponikvi”

 

 

MEET THE BLESSED ANTON MARTIN SLOMŠEK!

 

Visit the house where he was born in Slom near Ponikva, the church in Ponikva which he visited as a child and other places in the area related to the one of the greatest Slovenes of all times.

 

 

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