EARLY CHRISTIAN BASILCA FROM THE 6TH c.
On the southeast coast of Prukljan,in the area called Dedića Punta, there are the remains of a basilica or early Christian church from the 6th century, a protected cultural property that is a part of the wider cultural landscape near Prukljan, in which a Roman villa is located nearby. Archaeological excavations of the church complex in Bilice contribute to the knowledge of early Christian architecture in the whole of Dalmatia. The research of the project by the Department of Culture named “Bilice – early Christian church” is conducted by prof. Mirja Jarak from the liberal college. Regarding the church in Bilice, it should be pointed out its often usage and interpretations in scientific literature. The first explorers and experts of this location such as Marun, Jelić, kaer and Iveković, have left some precious data from the time when the whole complex was considerably better preserved than it is today in times of new revised explorations.
The church in Bilice belongs to and interesting type of single-nave building with triconch eat ending. The sanctuary was limited to the middle, main apse and square space in front of it. Two side apses had a special usage and testify about the enlargement of the simple church space concept with one apse. Similar triconch churches are known at several sites in Dalmatia and in neighboring areas.
PARISH CHURCH OF THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY
The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Church of Our Lady of Thought dating from the 15th century is located on the hill Pomišljaj from where there is a beautiful view of Bilice and Prukljan. On the same location there used to be an old wooden church, which was a parish church from 1470 till 1570. It is considered that a family Mrzinić have founded a benefit and perhaps a church of the Lady of Thought. A note from 1448 mentioned that the bishop Juraj gave a house worth 100 libras. The church had an old brotherhood with policy (matrikula) from 1452 whose members were many brothers from Šibenik. First to mention is Grgur, the son of Šimun, who committed himself to serve the parish in Bilice with a priest Mihovil Radinović by a contract from 28th May 1482. There is also a brotherhood house from 1874. During the invasion of Turks the church was damaged and the photo of the Lady was transferred to Varoš in Šibenik. In 1862 the wall was raised around the church cemetery.
In modern history, the church was renewed in 1879 and the bishop Fosco has blessed it on 29th November 1880. In 1870 Dominik Pasin paid 40 forints to construct the bell-tower and the main and only altar in the church. In 18914 the church was enlarged and a new front was built, but the whole construction was ended in 1923 due to the financial crisis. New renovations followed in 1969 and were continued in 1980 by the priest Stipe Šušnjar. After the Civil war the renovation was continued by the dedication of the parishioners and priests. In 2005, Nevena Piližota. A student of the Fine Arts painted fourteen Stations of the Cross.
Main altar is especially interesting and it is listed as a movable preventive and protected good.
CHAPEL IN JERKULOVAC
In the middle of the fields and the pure nature there is a small chapel called Jerkulovac, located in enchanting environment among the oak treetops overviewing the olive groves and vineyards which are the result of the hardworking life of Bilice ancestors. There has been a chapel of the Holy Spirit in Jerkulovac since ancient times. It was probably destroyed by the Turks and the legend says that they transferred the image of Our Lady from the old chapel, which is now kept in the church of Our Lady outside the city in Šibenik. The foundation stone for a new chapel was laid on 19th September 1869 by Ante Carminati – a protonotary apostolic in the presence of the pastor Ivan Krstitelj Šižgorić from the parish of Our Lady outside Šibenik and about 300 people from Bilice and Šibenik. The stones used for the bell, the window and the memorial plaque were made by Dominik Pasini. The chapel was blessed on 19th June 1870 when bishop Zafron held a mass there. It was named ‘The Lady helper of the Christians’. The painting of the Lady was given by Marija Tommaseo, the sister of the famous Nikola Tommaseo and the wife of Antun Banchetti, who had properties in Jezera and Tisno. The painting was renewed in 1869 by Antun Zuccaro form Zadar. The panting of the Lady, oil on canvas named The Lady with the baby Jesus was restored again by the good will of the parishioners from Bilice in a workshop of Slavko and Špiro Alač from Drašnice. Above the chapel door there is an inscription in Latin: SACELLUM ANTIQUITUS CELEBRATUM OB DEIPARARE VIRGINIS IMMAGINEM QUAE IN TEMPLO SUBURBANO TERRAE CONTINENTIS NUNC ASSERVATUR PIA PLEBES GESTIENTI ANIMO A MACERIIS RENOVAT. NONIS OCTOBRIS A.D. 1869, which means: Sanctuary (chapel) where the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been worshiped since ancient times, which is located in a church near the city.
It was built in a dry stone wall, on October 9th 1869 and nowadays it has been completely rebuilt by the pious people. Traditionally, every year on the feast of Pentecost in May, the Mass is held at the outer altar which gives a special atmosphere.