Saint Svorad-Andrew and Beňadik, patron saints of Skalka and the Nitra diocese.
St. Svorad-Andrew and Beňadik belonged to the Benedictine order – the oldest Christian order in Central Europe. Benedictine order was the first order that spread the knowledge of crafts, new farming products, and building technologies. Its members followed the basic rules of the Order – prayer and physical labour – in the monasteries (cenobites) or alone as hermits (eremites), always mindful of the motto: “ORA ET LABORA – PRAY AND WORK”. The Eastern tradition allows one to live as a hermit only after reaching the 40th year of age.
- originally Polish, he was born around the year 980. His roots were in Opatovec na Visle. Tradition of the village of Tropie nad Dunajcom (disctrict of Nowy Sacz) near the Slovak-Polish border mentions the young Svorad living there as a monk. The local church has still remained dedicated to St. Svorad. A number of revolts were kindled in Poland in 1022, when the king Boleslav the Brave in his attempt to eliminate the old Slavic liturgy, openly challenged those who had followed it. Many of those who did not give in but held firmly to it, left the country for the Kyjev Russian region, Bohemia, or our territory. One of these newcomers to our territory was St. Svorad. He entered the St. Hypolite’s Benedictine monastery on Zobor, adopting the monk name of Andrew. As time goes, Andrew retires into a lonely cabin near the monastery. Later, he leaves Skalka for good and goes to live to the hermitage the rest of his life, accompanied by his disciple Beňadik. He died around 1030. Andrew’s remains are buried in the Nitra cathedral church of St. Emeramus (Entry from the canonical visitation of 1608 mentions the existence of a long tradition between Nitra and Tropie: Since they have a common patron saint – St. Svorad – every year the head monk of the Zobor monastery would send to the priest of Tropie a carriage full of eight barrels of wine from the vineyard planted originally by St. Svorad)
(also known as St. Benedict; the Slavic version of his name is used to differentiate him from St. Benedict of Nursia – the founder of the Benedictine Order.)
- his origin was most likely Slovak, from the region of Ponitrie. “Journal of the Saints of Hungary” mentions him as “Považan – St. Benedict of Váh – hermit in Hungary”. Just like Svorad, Benedict also entered the monastery on Zobor. Later, he was assigned as a helper to the old St. Svorad. After the death of his master, he lived at Skalka for three more years. In 1033 he was attacked by robbers who wanted his money. Since he had none, they pulled him out of the cave, slew him, and cast his dead body into the Váh River. Since then, people would often see a big eagle sitting on the bank of the river, supposedly observing something. Beňadik’s body was pulled out of water after a year, with no signs of corruption. Rafters on the Váh River passing by Skalka would revere St. Beňadik as their patron saint and protector.