Midnight Mass, the first liturgy of Christmastide that is celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve, is a tradition in Croatia and last night was no different, with one exception.
For the first time after 141 years, Midnight Mass was not celebrated in Zagreb Cathedral. Both Midnight Mass and Mass on Christmas Day were cancelled in the famous cathedral as it is still deemed unsafe due to damage that it suffered during the earthquake which struck Petrinja on 29 December 2020.
The last time there was no Midnight or Christmas Mass held in the Zagreb Cathedral was back in 1880 after the cathedral was damaged during the devastating magnitude 6.3 earthquake which struck the city that year.
The Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, celebrated Holy Mass at midnight instead in the Parish of St. Jerome in Zagreb – Maksimir,.
Another church damaged in the Zagreb earthquake was the religious and culturally significant Basilica of the heart of Jesus, on Palmotićeva street. The Basilica was severely damaged in the 2020 earthquake which made the church unsuitable to serve mass and host visitors.
After removing the damaged ceiling and the dangerous remnants from the earthquake, the church has recently reopened for Mass and last night many turned up to celebrate Midnight Mass.
The Basilica of the heart of Jesus, located on Palmotićeva street, is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Croatia. Designed by Croatian Architect Janko Holjac, it has both religious and cultural significance in Croatia with Ivan Mertz, one of Croatia’s Saints, buried in the church. The church is also home to the country’s most prestigious choir, Akademski zbor “Palma” and is also a meeting place for many young Croatian Catholics.
The church plans to build a pastoral center to continue their work in the community and will carry the name of the young girl who died in the earthquake, Anamarija Carević.
Some more photos below from last night’s midnight mass at Basilica of the heart of Jesus.