With numerous churches scattered inside and outside of the old city walls that have made its way into many architecture-related textbooks due its peculiar and rather unique fish bone structure, with its rich religious and cultural heritage, Korcula residents and their guests gather every year on July 29 to celebrate St. Theodore, the patron of Korčula town . It is a day when citizens of Korčula mark the Day of Korcula Town with a solemn mass and procession of three Korčula town confraternities around the old town of Korčula, followed by a festive performance of Moreška sword dance. On this occasion, a public recognition is awarded to citizens who have in one way or the other significantly contributed to life in the town or have achieved sports or some other noteworthy success.
Korčula was not always just another parish. It prides itself on being a bishopry for more than 400 years, until the year 1828. What remained after centuries are for the most part well-preserved churches and chapels with strong confraternities (associations of Catholic believers) that have always been of important significance in this island’s religious, public and legal life. In their respective churches and chapels, confraternities hide treasures of precious inventory – crucifixions, lanterns, various golden and silver items, flags, “torci” – wax candles weighing up to 80 kilos or even more. It is a sight to behold when confraternities walk around the Old Town in an awe-inspiring procession of candle lights and old Catholic chants.
The epicenter of the then bishopry, and today Korcula parish is St. Mark’s Cathedral, built in the Gothic-Renaissance style and dating from 15th century. One can climb up to the bell tower that symbolizes the town center and enjoy the view. Still, the cathedral is not the only focal point of the religious life, there are the churches where confraternities gather such as the Church of All Saints with a representative Museum of Icons you can visit, St. Michael’s church, st. Rocco Chapel, many chapels and outside of the city walls the male and female Dominican monasteries, St. Anthony church, and on the island of Badija, the Franciscan monastery erected in 1368. If interested in sacral art, once in Korcula, you may also want to visit Bishop’s Treasury, situated right across the Town Museum with numerous sacral works of art and collection of various drawings and paintings from Renaissance and Baroque masters.
Although St. Theodore’s cult is more pronounced in Korčula, St. Mark, protector of St. Mark’s parish is as equally important. April 25 is the day when this saint that town cathedral is named after is celebrated.