Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola - History and Facts | History Hit

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Croatia

The Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola is a picturesque Baroque structure completed in the early 18th century.

Peta Stamper

23 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Named for the founder of the Jesuit Order, or Society of Jesus, the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola is a Baroque style church in Dubrovnik. Next door is the former Jesuit college, Collegium Ragusinum, which today is the Diocesan Classical high school.

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola history

Dissatisfied with Italian scholars, in 1555 Beccaddeli the bishop of Dubrovnik sought the help of the newly founded Jesuit order (Society of Jesus) to open a college in the city. The Jesuits had been the first religious order to operate colleges, incorporating Renaissance humanism into teaching Catholic thought. The Collegium Ragusinum was to be the first educational institution in Dubrovnik, eventually excelling in the natural sciences and arts.

It was not until 1653 that the Jesuit record Gianbattista Canauli drew up plans to alter the entire urban structure of the city’s oldest suburb to accommodate the college and church.

Despite demolishing housing to provide space, the building project was delayed due to the 1667 earthquake that levelled much of Dubrovnik. By the end of the century the project resumed with renowned Jesuit artist, Iganzio Pozzo, finalising the plans.

The Jesuits highly encouraged the arts, celebrating the use of decoration in Catholic devotion. Built in the flamboyant Baroque style, the church was completed in 1725. Dubrovnik had long been a Roman Cardinal Protectorate, so the building of this ostentatious church signalled the city’s status as both fashionable and deeply religious.

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola today

Make a pilgrimage to the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the Poljana Ruđera Boškovića Square to admire Croatia’s finest example of Baroque design. Inside, you can see Gaetano Garcia’s exquisite frescoes depicting the life of the church’s namesake, Ignatius of Loyola. The church also features the oldest bell in Dubrovnik, cast in 1355 by Viventius and his son Viator.

For Game of Thrones fans, transport yourself to Westeros by climbing the famous Baroque staircase in front of the church, recognisable for its role in the HBO series. Alternatively, you can catch one of the daily English masses at 11am, April to November, or simply enjoy the church’s reverence.

Getting to Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Located in Dubrovnik’s pedestrianised Old Town, the church is inaccessible by car. You can find roadside parking outside the Old Town walls. Via public transport, bus lines 1A, 1B, 3 or 8 from the main bus station and port take you to stop Iza Grada, a 9-minute walk to the church.

Featured In