The Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit in Javorca, dedicated to the fallen Austro-Hungarian defenders of the Tolmin battlefield on the Isonzo front (1915–1917), was constructed in 1916.
Inscription above the entrance door:
This monument was built during the war by members of the 3rd Mountain Brigade, a battle unit of the 15th Corps, in honour and memory of their comrades in arms who fell here. Built in the period from March 1 to November 1, 1916.
The memorial church was constructed according to the plans of the Vienna artist First Lieutenant Remigius Geyling who is also the author of the artistic décor and two images of angels in front of the altar. The construction was overseen by a Hungarian constructor, Gunner Lieutenant Géza Jablonszky from Budapest. The wooden parts of the altar inside the church are the work of the South Tyrol master carver Gunner Anton Perathoner from St. Ulrich/Ortisei in Italy. There were members of different nationalities participating in the construction of the church. Authors of the church in Slovenia, who faced a common destiny on the Isonzo front, come from territories of three neighbouring countries (Austria, Italy and Hungary) and expressed the desire for peace and mutual cooperation common to all connected Europeans.
The soldiers who constructed the memorial church voluntarily and with their own resources were not excused from their military duties. They started the construction after a long period of fighting in the first lines when they were assigned to rest in the rear. The response was exceptional.
The selected location of construction was invisible to the enemy during the war and located at the same distance from all battle stations of the brigade on Mt. Vodil vrh, Mt. Mrzli vrh, Sleme Mountain Pasture, and Mt. Rdeči rob. It was approximately 2,500 m away from all of these points.
The church was built on bedrock – foundations were made of the same rock as the ground underneath the church, whilst the lower part of the church was constructed with stone blocks; the timber for the upper part was brought from the valley and cut at the very location.
The external walls of the building include frescoes of the coats of arms of 18 regions of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the coats of arms of Rijeka (Croatia) and Trieste (Italy). Above the entrance, you can see the coats of arms of Austria and the Hungarian Kingdom connected with the Habsburg coat of arms. The interior of the Church was designed with three naves. There are four primary colours prevailing: blue, black, white and some gold. Its design follows the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork) espoused by the Vienna Secession architecture.
When the church was completed, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Catholics, Jews, Muslims and also atheists attended the church service together. For some of them, the church represented a genuine house of God, whilst the others considered it a sublime consecrated place, a shrine where they were able to forget about the war at least for a moment.
Inside the church you can find oak panels with burnt in names of 2565 fallen Austro-Hungarian soldiers, members of units of different nationalities. The names of the fallen soldiers from certain battalions were listed until the beginning of August, 1916. The research from some years ago which was performed by the Tolmin Museum showed that the losses of certain units were not listed.