Monday, May 19, 2008

The Infant Jesus of Prague

Hi Everyone,

It is so much fun to have so many new places to visit! I’ve only been here just over a year, and everything is still very new to me! Adventures are waiting around every corner at this point of my living in Prague and the Czech Republic! It is fun to explore all the nooks and crannies that abound in Prague!

One of my favorite places to visit has been the church called the Church of Our Lady Victorious. This church is one of the oldest Baroque buildings in Prague, and is the home to the Infant Jesus of Prague. People come from around the world on pilgrimage to visit the Infant Jesus of Prague.

The Infant Jesus of Prague is a wax statue of the child Jesus—it is the work of an unknown artist, probably done in Spain in the 1600’s. One lady, Dona Isbela Manrique de Lara Mendoza obtained the statue. The statute was later given as a wedding gift to her daughter, Maria Manrique de Lara. She married a prominent Czech diplomat and they had a daughter named Polynexa. When Polynexa married Vilem of Rozemburk, she received the statue from her mother as a wedding gift. Polynexa was married a second time to Vojtech of Lobkowicz. After his death, she donated the statue to the Carmelites, and it was then placed in the Church of Our Lady Victorious.

The church has a very interesting history! The church building was constructed around 1613 by German Lutherans, and was called the Church of the Holy Trinity. But the church was given to the Descalced (barefoot) Carmelites after the Battle of White Mountain in 1624, when Catholics gained the upper hand in Prague. Then, in 1631, the city of Prague was attacked by the Lutheran Swedes (during the Thirty Years War), and they took possession of the church, and sacked it, throwing the statute of the Infant Jesus of Prague into a rubbish heap behind the church’s altar. Years later, the church was again back in the hands of the Carmelites. During reconstruction, the statue came to light in that heap of rubbish behind the altar, and it was reinstated in the church once again.

The Infant Jesus of Prague has been credited with saving the city from many disasters and plagues. It has received veneration for over 400 years, and has been credited with many miracles and answered prayers. The statue has become famous the world over, with thousands of people coming to a make pilgrimage to see the Infant Jesus of Prague.

The sanctuary has recently gone through some renovations. When I first visited the church, there was a huge scaffold behind the altar. It was very big and cumbersome, and it was not possible to see the painting of Mary the mother of Jesus for which the church is named. Now, however, the renovations are complete, and the church has a renewed interior. The painting behind the altar is now completely visible—it is beautiful.

I like this place because it is a very beautiful and holy spot...and is free to visit—including the museum in the church, and the services are really nice. If you happen to be in Prague on a Sunday, be sure to visit Our Lady Victorious—it is a wonderful place to visit! The church's address is: Karmelistka 9, 118 00 Praha 1. The phone number is: 420-257-533-646.

God bless,
Sherry :0)

All photos property of S. A. Vacik

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