The Church of Saint Sylvester


The small island of Bishevo is only about fifteen minutes away by boat from Komizha, so you might like to pay a visit to its church and monastery. The church, dedicated to Saint Silvester, was built around the middle of the 11th century at the request of Ivan Gaudi Grlich, a priest from Split. After its completion he gifted the church to the Benedictine monks of the island of Tremiti who, in turn, built a monastery next to the church.


The two buildings make an interesting sight. The original architecture of the church was pre-Romanesque, slightly changed due to repairs and later additions. The monastery, in use during the 12th and 13th centuries, was abandoned when the monks moved, and subsequently fell into ruin. During the Baroque period, several stone houses were built among the remains, together with a garden.


Before its abandonment, the monastery served as the Bishevo Abbey with its own abbot and there is record of it receiving funding on several occasions. After the monks moved to Vis and took residence in the monastery of St. Nicholas, the entire island of Bishevo was gifted to the then bishop of Hvar, Toma Tomasini (in 1458, by Pope Callixtus III). It was only in the late 1800s that the island was slowly transferred into private ownership of the local farmers through purchase of farming land.


The church of St. Sylverster is famous for its 13th century painting ‘Madonna of Bishevo’ by an unnamed Venetian artist (now on display in the Cathedral of St. Stephen on Hvar). The church of St. Sylvester remains a significant part of the parish social life, becoming alive once a year on St. Sylvester’s Day, December 31st, when a mass is held there followed by holiday festivities. During the rest of the year, boat excursions are available (depending on the season), and, departing from Komizha port will take you to the island and back.

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