Friday, November 5, 2010

St. Clements & the Old Catholics

Hi Everyone,
This week's been very busy with trying out new places to write, writing, filling out writing samples, sending my resume, etc...a very busy week.  So, I have to apologize for just now telling you about a fun gathering I attended last weekend.  My church, St. Clement's Anglican Church, and the Old Catholic congregation got together to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the relationship between our churches.  The joint service was held at the St. Laurence's Church on Petrin Hill.  But before telling you about that, I'd like to share some pictures from the ride up Petrin Hill.

The Funicular

Petrin Hill has many walking paths leading to the top, with many of  the paths offering a gentle, but invigorating hike up.  In decent weather the paths are filled with families, couples and older folks enjoying the scenery on the walk up Petrin.  Last Sunday morning I went to the service on my own, but Jiri didn't want me to walk up the hill by myself, so I took a ride on the funicular.  The funicular is an interesting vehicle that rides a rail up a very steep side of Petrin; it goes up the hill and back down again.  On the ride up I took a few pictures.

St. Laurence Old Catholic Church

The Church of St. Laurence

The top of Petrin is a beautiful spot filled with gardens, a hall of mirrors, and more; and is a great place to spend an afternoon away from the city.  The church of St. Laurence sits on the top of Petrin which in ancient times was a place of pagan worship (according to the plaque on the church).  Czech legends also say this is the spot where Libuse , a prophetess and the mother of the Premyslid dynasty, foretold the future greatness of  Prague.  St. Laurence's Church is thought to have been built by Boleslav I in the 10th century.    

 Chancel area

The Anglicans and Old Catholics

St. Clement's congregation is associated with the Old Catholics in that our church is under the jurisdiction of the Old Catholic Church of the Czech Republic (who are not Roman Catholics).  We are actually the English-speaking parish of the Old Catholic Church in Prague, and are under oversight of Bishop Dusan Hejbal.  Old Catholics were once Roman Catholics, but broke away (in the Netherlands) in 1724.  The split was caused by a disagreement over doctrine.  My understanding is that Old Catholics are still Catholic, but are really more like Anglicans and Episcopalians.  (Chaplain, please correct me if I'm wrong!).  

Combined Service

The two churches held a combined service with portions of the service in English and Czech--sometimes using both languages at the same time.  It was a beautiful service lead by Bishop Dusan and our chaplain,  Rev. Ricky Yates.

 Rev. Ricky Yates

Here are some pictures of the inside of St. Laurence:
Organ and Choir Loft

Side altar

Side altar with sculpture of
Madonna and Child

After the service, the Old Catholic congregation put together a delicious buffet of different meats, cheeses and other Czech food.  We all mingled together and conversed as we could.  Not everyone could speak much of the other's language, but we still managed to have a wonderful, fun time. 

 Anglicans and Old Catholics mingling

I stayed and visited with everyone for a bit and had a great time.  After that, I wandered around the top of Petrin for a while taking some pictures.  Here are scenes of some of the beauty of the hill that came to life when the sun came out.

 Petrin Tower

 Is this Moses's burning bush?
No, but certainly a beautiful tree.

The back of St. Laurence's Church with 
rose gardens in the foreground

Rose bud from the garden

Beautiful red rose opening in the sun

That's all for now.  If you're ever in Prague and would like to find an English-speaking congregation to worship with, please be sure to check out St. Clement's.  We would love to have you join us!  You can find us on a map at the church's website, with directions, too, along with the contact information.  We are a congregation of many nationalities, but all services are in English.  You can even join us for coffee and refreshments after the service!

Have a wonderful weekend!
God bless,
Sher :0) 

All photos are the property of S. Vacik
(c) 2010 by czechoffthebeatenpath


Karen said...

What a fun event! I did not know until recently that you could take the funicular using a regular Prague transit pass, which is certainly a good thing to know.

I want to echo everything you said about how wonderful it is to attend worship services at St. Clement's Church in Prague. There's wonderful community there! Even if you are in Prague for one Sunday, you are so welcome.

Sher said...

Yes! You can use the regular transit ticket to ride the funicular. It is highly recommended that you buy your ticket before getting in line. When I was there, the line was long, and many people had no tickets. I was able to get on the funicular ahead of those who needed tickets :0) Sure makes waiting shorter if you've already purchased your ticket.

Yes, St. Clements is a wonderful place to worship, with a great community. Thanks for inviting me there...I've been going ever since :0)

Have a great day,
Sher :0) said...

Hi Sher,

Thanks for this post, the lovely photos, especially of the autumn colours (fall colors) on Petrin, & for the links & plug for St. Clements.

The word 'catholic' means 'universal'. Sadly, it tends to get usurped by the 'Roman Catholic Church' who think of themselves as 'The Universal Church'. The name 'Old Catholic' is a little unfortunate - 'Early Catholic' might be better. They seek to uphold the doctines & practices of the Early Church which they believe were radically changed by the decisions of the First Vatican Council of 1870 which proclaimed papal infalibility, the perpetual virginity of Mary & her bodily assumption into heaven etc. The Churches of the Anglican Communion & the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht have been in 'full communion' with each other since the Bonn Aggreement of 1931.

Rev. Dr. Jakob Lazarus, LBJC said...

I tried to go to the Old Catholic Church in Prague for Holy Thursday last spring. After a very long journey we found a pink building with the parish symbol on it, but it didn't look like a church. Is there two there?

RSA Course said...

such beautiful scenery!

Sher said...

Finally I've published your comment! Sorry it's taken me so long--things have been busy over here!

Thanks for explaining the differences between Roman Catholics and Old Catholics, and how and why the Anglicans and Old Catholics are in communion with one another! Very interesting church history!

Have a great day,
Sher :0)

Sher said...

@Rev Lazarus,
There is more than one Old Catholic church in Prague. I'll try to find some information and share it here.

Have a great day,
Sher :0)

Sher said...

@RSA Course: Thank was a pretty day, even though it started out a bit dark and chilly. Things really took off when the sun came out!

Have a great day,
Sher :0)