A GRAVE found by archaeologists during excavations inside St Emerám’s Cathedral, in Nitra Castle, is probably the last resting place of St Svorad. The head of the Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra, Matej Ruttkay, announced at the end of November that the remains of a crypt, probably from the 11th or maybe 12th century, had been found, in which the saint may have been buried.
The Lives of Saints Svorad the Confessor and Benedict the Martyr, a document written in the first half of the 11th century by Bishop Maurus, tells of the remains of Saints Svorad and Benedict being interred in the Castle’s temple, the SITA newswire reported.
The latest research at the cathedral was completed only recently; it had been going on since February 2008. More than 20 medieval graves were discovered there; another interesting find was the skeleton of a premature new-born buried in a tiny wooden coffin. In the graves, among other things, were a leather pouch with a Taler coin dating from 1622, and several other copper coins.
Archaeologists also unearthed several masonry remnants dating back to before the 11th century. According to some scientists, these are as old as the Great Moravian period and might be the traces of the first Christian church on Slovak territory, which Prince Pribina allowed to be built in 833, according to written sources. The pieces of mortar found there are very similar to those found in a dyke of Great-Moravian vintage at the castle. But there is no unambiguous evidence to prove their provenance. The discovery of another extension of the Gothic Church under the floor of the current Dolný Kostol (Lower Church) has also excited interest. Some alcoved walls have been preserved very well and, according to Ruttkay, could be presented to the public. There are two options for presenting them: the more expensive is a glass floor; the cheaper one would be to leave the space open, but this would leave less space for visitors to move around the church. The choice will depend on whether the Bishopric Office in Nitra, which administers the castle, succeeds in obtaining preservation funds from Norway.
2. Feb 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Michaela Stanková from press reports