October 11, 2018
Prague, Czech Republic—Week 5 Fr. James Donohue, C.R.
In week 2, I included a photo of the Prague Castle that includes St. Vitus Cathedral as part of the palace complex. The cathedral is the third church consecrated to the same saint on the same site. Around the year 925, Prince Wenceslas (Václav in Czech) founded a Romanesque rotunda here, which after 1060 was converted into a basilica with three naves and two steeples. The importance of the church grew especially after the establishment of the Prague bishopric in 973 and the founding of the body of canons - the St. Vitus chapter, which later became an important cultural and administrative institution.
In 1344, Charles IV began the construction of a Gothic cathedral. Its first builders, Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler, built the chancel with a ring of chapels, St. Wenceslas Chapel, the Golden Gate and the lower part of the Great South Tower. Unfortunately, in 1419 the construction of the Cathedral stopped because of the Hussite Wars. In spite of the endeavors of some sovereigns to secure the continuation of the construction work, the Cathedral remained uncompleted for whole centuries.
It was not until the latter half of the 19th century that the Union for the Completion of the Cathedral began the repair of the original part and the completion of the Cathedral in Neo-Gothic style. The church was solemnly consecrated in 1929. Its interior was subjected to adaptations even in later years. As you can see, the stain glass windows are absolutely stunning.
We were fortunate that it was a sunny day when we visited the cathedral because it made the stain glass windows even more beautiful with the sun shining through.
We are a large group when we travel together—37 of us, plus whoever is guiding us—so we need to keep together and not lose anyone. Well, not lose anyone again, since we did lose a few people one day. We turned right and they turned left. No harm was done as we were in familiar surroundings and everyone was fine!
As you can see from these photos, I should try to get in the front and take some photos of people’s faces. I will try to do better!