This sixth-century church, a Byzantine masterpiece is adorned with splendid mosaics on a gold background. The Basilica of Euphrasius was constructed for Bishop Euphrasius between 539 and 553 by enlarging the 4th-century Oratory of St. Maurus, one of the earliest Christian religious sites on the earth. Over the centuries, the construction has undergone a number of alterations. A few of the authentic ground mosaics have survived-they have been found throughout restoration work within the nineteenth century.
MAURUS AND BISHOP EUPHRASIUS
Little is known in regards to the lives of St. Maurus, the first bishop of Poreč and Bishop Euphrasius. Within the 4th century, St. Maurus constructed an oratory used by early Christians for secret worship. Legend says that he endured a martyr’s death throughout the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. Within the sixth century, his physique was transferred from a cemetery close to the basilica to the Votive Chapel. The influential Bishop Euphrasius sought the perfect craftsmen for the development of his basilica and created one of the biggest architectural complexes of the period.
The Basilica of Euphrasius is entered through the atrium, which accommodates traces of the Byzantine mosaics that have been restored within the nineteenth century. Close by is the baptistry, constructed with a wood roof within the fifth century and reworked through the building of Euphrasius’s basilica. Christian converts had been baptized within the central font till the fifteenth century. Contained in the basilica, lovely mosaics, made partly from semi-treasured stones and mother-of-pearl, are still seen, particularly within the apse and the ciborium. A number of fires and earthquakes over the centuries have altered the form of the construction; the southern wall of the central nave was destroyed within the fifteenth century and later rebuilt with Gothic windows. On the western facet of the basilica is the Holy Cross Chapel, adorned with a fifteenth-century polyptych by the Venetian artist Antonio Vivarini.