top of page

Mon, 15 Aug

|

Our Lady of the Snows (meet at 18:30)

370th anniversary of the church of the Irish Franciscans in Prague (today's Divadlo Hybernia)

We will meet at Our Lady of the Snows at 18:30 on August 15th, then walk past the church of St. Gall and on to Divadlo Hybernia. More details below...

Registration is closed
See other events
370th anniversary of the church of the Irish Franciscans in Prague (today's Divadlo Hybernia)
370th anniversary of the church of the Irish Franciscans in Prague (today's Divadlo Hybernia)

Time & Location

15 Aug 2022, 18:30

Our Lady of the Snows (meet at 18:30), Jungmannovo nám. 753/18, 110 00 Praha 1-Nové Město, Czechia

About The Event

To start the anniversary commemoration, we will visit Our Lady of the Snows, where mass is celebrated at 18.30. From thence our path will take us past the church named in honour of St Gall (Sv Havel in Czech) who as an Irish missionary travelled with St. Columbanus to bring the Faith to central Europe. The coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV was held in this church on 29 September 1353. To mark the occasion the newly crowned Emperor presented the church with a holy relic in the form of part of St Gall’s skull. It lies encased in a gold and silver reliquary.

Finally we reach the former church of the Irish Franciscans. Following a series of commercial uses since the dissolution of the monastery it now survives as the Divadlo Hybernia. The ground floor of the former church is now the theatre’s restaurant bar and access is confined to theatre goers. Despite the commercial restrictions the group intend assembling there at 19.30 to reflect on the history of the Irish Franciscans in Prague and to drink a toast to those Irish, both the religious who founded the church and college and the military warriors who contributed handsomely to its establishment and upkeep, many of whom were buried within its walls.

You will need to purchase a ticket for the "Best of Swan Lake" show to enter Divadlo Hybernia. Link here.

This event is organized by Sean and Kathy O'Sullivan and is promoted by CIBCA.

---

The Irish Franciscans, fleeing from religious persecution in Ireland, had first arrived in the Czech capital in 1629 at a time of great conflict – the Thirty Years War which had started in Prague just ten years previously was to rage throughout Europe for another twenty desperate years. With the financial assistance of Irish military officers engaged in the war the the Franciscans began establishing their monastery and college. To avoid conflict with domestic Orders the work of the Irish Franciscans was confined to educating Irish students wishing to become monks and priests, as this could not be safely done in their native land. The Irish Franciscans also received help from some among the Czech aristocracy including Count Franz Anton Sporc, who had a special corridor built connecting his adjoining palace directly to the church. A commemorative plaque giving the history of the building (in Czech and English) was recently sited in the connecting passageway.

The foundation stone of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary was laid on 15 August 1652 , blessed by by Franciscan Provincial Francis O’Sullivan OFM(1) in the presence of Emperor Ferdinand III and Archbishop (later Cardinal) Ernst Adalbert Harrach. A relic of St Patrick was imbedded in the church’s substructure. A detailed and charming account highlighting the significance of the Irish Franciscans in the intellectual life of Baroque Prague over the lifetime of the College is given in ‘The Irish Franciscans in Prague 1629 – 1786’(2)

On the dissolution of the monastery by Emperor Joseph II in 1786 as part of his ‘religious reforms’ some of the monks had to leave Prague, while others too infirm to travel were retired on pension. The furnishings and precious relics of the church were dispersed to other churches in Prague, including the Czech Franciscan Church of Our Lady of the Snows. The panel with the memorial inscription commemorating the laying of the foundation stone, was removed from the church in 1949 and is now in The National Institute for the Preservation of Monuments.

It is proposed to start the anniversary commemoration with a visit to Our Lady of the Snows, where mass is celebrated at 18.30. From thence our path will take us past the church named in honour of St Gall (Sv Havel in Czech) who as an Irish missionary travelled with St. Columbanus to bring the Faith to central Europe. The coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV was held in this church on 29 September 1353. To mark the occasion the newly crowned Emperor presented the church with a holy relic in the form of part of St Gall’s skull. It lies encased in a gold and silver reliquary.

Finally we reach the former church of the Irish Franciscans. Following a series of commercial uses since the dissolution of the monastery it now survives as the Divadlo Hybernia. The ground floor of the former church is now the theatre’s restaurant bar and access is confined to theatre goers. Despite the commercial restrictions the group intend assembling there at 19.30 on 15 August to reflect on the history of the Irish Franciscans in Prague and to drink a toast to those Irish, both the religious who founded the church and college and the military warriors who contributed handsomely to its establishment and upkeep, many of whom were buried within its walls.

We will be joined by the Deputy Head of Mission at the Irish Embassy in the Czech Republic Ms. Erin Swan,. We would reiterate our thanks to the Embassy for their participation in this event and also in the launch of the Lughnasadh Festival of the Arts on 6 August in the Lapidarium Gallinery.

Notes:

(1)Sadly, the following year Fr O’Sullivan, together with his congregation were massacred on Scariff Island (in Kenmare Bay Ireland) by Cromwellian soldiers (23 June, 1653). His skull is now preserved in the sacristy of the Franciscan friary in Killarney.

(2)Jan Parez and Hedvika Kucharova, Charles University 2015

Share This Event

CIBCA events are supported by:

Screenshot 2024-02-20 at 9.46.21.png
Galarie Jakubska logo_box.png
EI_Logo_Primary_2_RGB 2023.png
Jameson logo_box.png
Made by M logo_box.png
Cafe Pointa logo.png
bottom of page