By Boris Mašic and Tajana Pleše
Minerva (July/August 2010)
Introduction: At the end 2007 an archaeological team from Zagreb City Museum, at the initiative of the Municipal Heritage Protection Department, began excavations alongside the southern elevation of the church in Remete, 5km from the centre of the Croatian capital of Zagreb. The excavations discovered foundations of two older churches on the site, together with 282 graves, and would raise a number of questions about this well known foundation, which honours the Virgin Mary.
Remete is located in the valley of Kratki dol, in the southern foothills of Medvednica, and was chosen by the Pauline Order (o en referred to as the White Friars) as the site for the third monastery they would build in late medieval Slavonia. It is a landscape well suited to the Paulines’ contemplative traits of dedication to prayer, penance, and renunciation. eir work was also marked by the promotion of culture and art, the building of many monasteries and churches, and an educational mission, which resulted in the foundation of the first college in Croatia at Lepoglava in 1503. The name ‘Remete’ itself derives from the hermits (eremitae) who established the monastery at the site.
A Church devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary has stood on the site from the beginning of the 14th century, when written sources refer to the Croatian-Hungarian Angevin king, Charles I (1301, 1309-1342) providing assistance to the Remete Pauline Order in the construction of the church. Textual evidence concerning the Paulines in Remete also states that, at the time of Provincial Benedict (1270- 1290), Abbott Isquirinus established a monastery with a wooden church.