Heart of Jesus Church in Senta
History of the Heart of Jesus Church in Senta
The Heart of Jesus Church is one of the most important religious buildings on the territory of the municipality of Senta. It was built between 1893 and 1896, in the neo-Gothic style, according to the technical documentation of Szilágyi János, an architect from Budapest. The reason for its construction and the founding of the parish was the rapid population increase of Senta in the second half of the 19th century because the existing parish could no longer serve the faithful and their needs. The Church is under the protection of the Intermunicipal Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Subotica.
In addition to the central tower, which is 52 meters high the church has four smaller ones, as well as four bells that were brought from Bayeux in 1896. In the same year, the church received its first organ, made in the famous workshop of the Rieger brothers from Austria.
Over time, the church became known for its church music. At the end of the 80s, with the arrival of pastor Nandor Banko, solemn masses and special concerts were organised, and in 2001, thanks to Szakály József, a theologian and organist, a festival of church music was launched in Senta.
Since the then modest and technically defective organ did not meet the challenges of concerts with demanding programs, in 2010, the parish community gratefully accepted a gift from the parish of St. Leonhard of Feldbach from Austria, an organ that was restored and installed in this church.
The Heart of Jesus Church was renovated thanks to the “Religious music – Establishment of Cross-Border Touristic Routes” project, implemented as part of the Romania-Serbia Cross-Border Cooperation Programme. The European Union, with funds from the IPA II funds, supported this project with EUR 676,947, while the total value, including national co-financing, amounted to EUR 796,408.
The project was carried out by the Centre of the Reformed Church in Timișoara, and the partners were the Municipality of Senta and the “COR JESU” foundation from Senta.
The realisation of this project, which lasted from December 2016 to May 2018 fundamentally changed the previous state of the church in Senta. The works included the following: plastering and insulation of church walls, introduction of underfloor heating, and installation of new floorboards. The 126-year-old benches and seats were restored under the supervision of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments. A total of EUR 177,000 was allocated for the realisation of these works.
The most specific part of the works on the restoration of the Heart of Jesus Church was the repair and expansion of the church organ. More than EUR 29 thousand were invested in the restoration of this instrument.
As part of the Romania-Serbia Cross-Border Cooperation Programme, in addition to the works on the restoration of the church and the reconstruction of the organ, a concert hall was built in Timişoara, and church concerts, ecumenical exhibitions, promotion of the organ, tourist excursions, and counselling sessions were held. The project included the organisation of ecumenical tourist routes with spiritual music performances in the border region of Serbia and Romania, in which all important churches of this region were involved (Reformed Church, Romanian Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Baptist Church, Evangelical Church, and Roman Catholic Church).