Servare et Manere (Acronym: SeM) is a Slovak non-governmental and nonprofit association, with a legal personality called civic association, founded in 2010 in the Podhorie village near Žilina and is currently based in the town of Žilina. The name of the association consists of two Latin words “servare” which means “save” and “manere” which means “to preserve”. The association was founded by two friends who have known each other since their childhood. Their names are Marek Sobola and Stanislav Mikolaj. Servare et Manere is an organization founded with the purpose of knowledge, protection and renovation of the cultural heritage of Slovakia. The main goal of the association is to promote cultural and historical sights on the territory of Slovakia. During the existence of the association it has been involved into several international projects and publishing activities. Servare et Manere adopted its coat of arms and flag in 2010 and since November 27, 2016, both of them were registered in the Heraldic Register of the Slovak Republic under the signature HR-W-324/2016. The authors of the coat of arms are two Slovak heraldic artists Marek Sobola and Miroslav Glejtek. The author of the association’s flag is the Herald of arms of Slovakia, Ladislav Vrtel.
Since 2018, after founding the international project called the Tree of Peace, the main role of Servare et Manere is the promotion of the activities related to the development of peace and friendship on the international and domestic levels. The main goal of the project is to promote a message of peace by planting a Tree of Peace on each continent.
Significant projects of the association
Statue of St. John of Nepomuk in Divina
The statue of St. John of Nepomuk in Divina is the National Cultural Monument of Slovakia. The statue is in the village of Divina, in the Žilina Region, in the north of Slovakia. In historical records the village was first mentioned in 1325. The Statue of St. John of Nepomuk is registered in the Central list of the Slovak Memorial Fund under the number 1334/2. It is a sandstone sculpture from 1796 standing on a stone base. The statue has a good artistic elaboration of the saint’s face and drapery. The saint does not have a traditional biretta on his head. The statue is a remembrance of the last male descendant of the aristocratic Szunyogh family – John Nepomuk Szunyogh, whose name is connected with the construction of the Divina church and establishing the local parish. The project of restoration was initiated by architect Marek Sobola. Project was started in 2016 and was completed in June 2017. Partners, who were addressed to cooperate, have either some connection to St. John of Nepomuk or to Slovakia. The project was covered by the auspices of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Slovakia, and was also honoured by patronage of His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia and His Majesty Simeon II., the last Tsar of Bulgaria. Along with the Žilina Bishop’s Office, the project donors are: His Royal Highness Franz, Duke of Bavaria, The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, The Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, Metropolitan Chapter House of St. Vitus in Prague, which is the owner of the saint’s grave and the city of Nepomuk – the birthplace of St. John of Nepomuk. Out of domestic partners, the project was supported by villages of Divina, Divinka–Lalinok and Svederník. The statue was uncovered on its new stand on Friday June 2, 2017 by Joachim Bleicker, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Slovakia together with Emil Molko, Mayor of Divina and Marek Sobola, the author of the project. Subsequently, it was blessed by Mons. Tomáš Galis, Bishop of Žilina. Besides the Bishop, Ambassador of Germany and the Head of the Bishop Office, the ceremony was attended also by invited partners. The uncovering and blessing of the statue were followed by a vernissage presenting all partners of the monument restoration on panels.
The Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic awarded Marek Sobola in the competition called Phoenix – National Cultural Monument of the Year 2017 by the Honorable recognition for exceptional realization of the restoration project of the Statue of St. John of Nepomuk in the village of Divina.
Tree of Peace
So far, the most important project of the association since 2018 is the initiative called the Tree of Peace. The main goal of the project is to promote a message of peace by planting a Tree of Peace on each continent. The aim of planting trees around the globe is to draw attention to the global environmental issue and to enhance the solidarity of the humankind. In addition to the victims of wars, we are now increasingly facing various natural disasters, including epidemics which number of victims can be counted to thousands maybe ten-thousands. The project is also a tribute to those people.
So far, several brochures have been published but the most significant is the book:
- SOBOLA, Marek (ed.): Príbeh svätojánsky, Socha sv. Jána Nepomuckého v Divine / The Story of St. John, Statue of St. John of Nepomuk in Divina / ដំណើររឿងរបស់ St. John, រូបចម្លាក់ St. John Nepomuk នៅក្រុង Divina / Die Johannisgeschichte, Die Staute des hl. Johannes Nepomuk in Divina / Историята на св. Ян, Статуята на св. Ян Непомуцки в Дивина. Žilina : Servare et Manere, o. z. and Kysucké múzeum v Čadci, 2017. ISBN 978-80-972614-3-6.