Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bethelehem Chapel, Prague

One ancient church in Prague is the Bethlehem Chapel. Built for radical preacher Jan Milic in the 1390s, the church came to fame when Jan Hus began preaching there from 1402 to 1412. He was the main leader of the Czech Protestant Reformation. The driving force behind the church was to have services in the local language. The church could have about 3,000 people in attendance and is situated in the heart of town. A large part of it was destroyed in the 1700s and then restored from 1948 to 1952 by, of all things, the Communist government. Hussitism was seen as a precursor to Communism, if only for its questioning of Catholic Church authority.
Bethlehem Chapel, Prague

The chapel has a rather simple interior. It's basically a large square room.

View from the front

The decor has a few frescoes.


Crusaders fresco

A Czech hymn

The pulpit is simple but is definitely the center of attention. There is no altar and a small loft for a choir.


Choir loft with more frescoes

The well inside predates the chapel. It does not seem to have any liturgical use and was a delightful surprise to my children.

Bethlehem Chapel well

Upstairs is a suite of rooms, presumably used by Hus or others for offices. There is a bridge from a building across the street where the preacher lived. The rooms are now an exhibit hall about Hus's life and theology.

Statue of Jan Hus

Some of Hus's personal devotional items

Art inspired by Hus's life

The bridge to the other buildings

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