Sunday, October 21, 2012

St. Ursula Church, Prague

Who knew there is a Saint Ursula? Not only is she a saint, she has a very beautiful church in Prague dedicated to her. The church is located only steps away from the National Theater and is easily identified by the pink exterior.

St. Ursula Church, Prague (at night!)

The church was completed in 1704 (as the church for the attached Ursuline convent) and is unique in that the nave is parallel to the street, rather than perpendicular. The church entrance is off to the right of the picture, leading into a small hall that opens onto the nave. The door in the picture leads into the side of the nave about half-way toward the altar. The interior is a great example of Baroque splendor.

We went to this church for the Saturday vigil Mass. The mass was quite lovely though we didn't get much out of it since it was in Czech. The hymns did not even sound familiar. But the order of the Mass is still the same no matter the language, so we knew when the Gospel was read and when the consecration happened and all that. I was ready to give money at the offertory but they took no collection. I don't know if that is unique to this church or they forgot or they just don't do that in Prague/the Czech Republic/Eastern Europe. After Mass was over, I took some pictures until a nun told me not to take any more pictures. I'm not sure if she objected to the flash or to picture taking in general. She wasn't mean about it (or at least that didn't come across from her Czech words and body language), so I complied. Here's what I was able to get.

Nave

Reliquary

St. James the Less (had to get the Jacobus)

St. Matthew with a big axe (how he was martyred)

Close up of main altar

Outside is a statue of John Nepomucene, also known as John of Nepomuk, who was killed by order of the Bohemian king for not revealing the confession of the Queen. He is considered a Catholic hero and martyr in defense of the sacred seal of confession, whereby a priest cannot divulge what he is told in confession to anyone. He is also considered a Czech hero for defying the king's interference.

Statue of John of Nepomuk/John Nepomucene

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