Sveti Petar u Šumi
Get to know Sveti Petar u Šumi
The village of Sveti Petar u Šumi, presently holding the status of Municipality, was named after the Benedictine monastery mentioned in Latin documents under the name Monasterium Sancti Petri in Sylvis – the Monastery of Saint Peter in the Woods. The Monastery was first recorded in documents in 1174 but the record is accompanied by the annotation saying that the Monastery had stood there for 50 years. It is quite certain that the Monastery existed even before 1134. The legend says that the Hungarian King Solomon spent some time at Sveti Petar u Šumi after losing the throne in dynastic fights. Later he moved on to the Monastery of Saint Michael in Pula-Pola where he died in 1089.
Only one book from the Monastery library remained preserved. It is a Latin manuscript written in Caroline script towards the end of the 11th or beginning of the 12th century. A fragment inscribed with Cyrillic and Glagolitic letters dates back into the same period – proving that the Benedictine monks at Sveti Petar used all three local alphabets. The Benedictines were the first Western European monks, they contributed greatly to the restoration of economy and cultural activities, providing for both body and soul in accordance with the motto they strictly adhered to: Pray and work! Ora et labora!
Unlike other Istrian villages and towns, which were formed on hills having the church on top and houses set along the church and the edges of the hill, at Sveti Petar there were no houses around the church or the monastery in order to ensure serenity and composure of the monks. The inhabitants of Sveti Petar lived in nearby villages working their fields and vineyards. Overlooking the Draga Valley there stood until the 15th century a fortified castle, mentioned in the monuments as Ad Vicinatum (maybe today's Vižinada). Nothing remains of the castle except for the place name Sveti Toma (Saint Thomas) after a church that also no longer exists.