HRAD STRAKONICE : THE DECANAL CHURCH OF ST. PROCOPIUS

Kontakty

Městské informační centrum Strakonice

Zámek 1
386 01 Strakonice
tel.: 380 422 744

E-mail:
infocentrum@meks-st.cz

www:
www.strakonice.eu/content/informacni-centrum


 

Město Strakonice
Odbor školství a cestovního ruchu

Velké náměstí 2
386 21 Strakonice
tel.: 383 700 848
www.strakonice.eu 


GPS: 49°15'29.579"N, 13°54'4.320"E


Expozice muzea
na hradě jsou uzavřeny v období 2018-2021
z důvodu rekonstrukce
v rámci 52. výzvy IROP.

 

The Decanal Church of St. Procopius

The decanal church of St Procopius, who was the abbot, is one of the most significant monuments in Strakonice. It is situated in the Strakonice Castle grounds, in the far eastern corner of the rocky promontory overlooking the confluence of the Otava and the Volyňka. Originally, it was probably a manorial church of the Bavarians of Strakonice and changed into a monastic church after the commendam of the Order of Saint John was established.

In 1786/7, the bishop from České Budějovice made the church decanal, when the parish was moved from the parish castle of Saint Wenceslas in the former village of Lom (at present, there is only a cemetery church).

The church was founded by the noble Bavarian family of Strakonice probably around the beginning of the 13th century. In 1243, Bavarian I donated it to the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (also called the Maltese knights or Johanites). It was originally consecrated to St Adalbert but it has been called the church of St Procopius since the 14th century. The church and the convent with the capitular hall went through a complicated construction, completed in several phases in the 13th century.

The oldest, late Romaneque phase dates to before 1243 (perhaps 1220–1235). The original manor church of the Bavarians of Strakonice, donated to the Order of Saint John, stood on the same place as the today’s cathedral. However, it is not very clear what in the present church originates from older times. The oldest part is most likely the spacious western choir (the organ loft).

The second phase came when the Order of Saint John took over the church somewhere around 1243. A monumental, 40-metre high Romanesque tower was built. The Gothic presbytery (chancel) comes from the same era.

The early Gothic church was completed during the third phase, towards the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century. The credit for the completion of the church structure goes to Bavarian III (1280/90–1318), who was, as the order’s traditions had it, the grand prior. The appearance and the size of the early Gothic church were pretty much the same as that of the current church.

In 1402, the Order of Saint John became the only castle owners. After the Hussites destroyed the order’s residence in Prague in 1421, Strakonice Castle became the permanent residence of the grand priors (until 1694 when the convent returned to Prague). Thus Strakonice gained a strong position, resulting in new improvements to the monastic church.

The church was greatly remodelled at the beginning of the 16th century, during the time of the grand prior Jan of Rožmberk (1511-1532). The main nave was arched by a late Gothic cross vault with five spans and terracotta rosettes above the choir. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) both the castle and the church suffered great damages after the attack of Buquoy’s and Mansfeld’s armies.

In the beginning of the 18th century, when the new grand prior’s residence was built, a bridge connecting one of its stories with the church’s chancel was built. The baroque bridge was however demolished after the owners of the castle changed in 1934. The interior of the church was completed perhaps at the end of the 18th century in the time of the Josephian reform, which was also when the grand priors’ gravestones disappeared.

Interesting Facts about the Interior

The main altar of St Procopius was created by the last Strakonice prior who had the right of wearing an infula, Michael Emerich de Raga, at his own expense in 1693. Most contemporary accounts ascribe the authorship of the main altar painting of St Procopius to the prominent Czech painter Karel Škréta, which is, however, often questioned nowadays. The painted doors on the sides feature the archangel St Michael and the martyr St Lawrence of Rome. In 1762, the main altar of St Procopius was renovated by the grand prior Emanuel Václav Kolowrat-Krakovski. Dean Midlent added the wooden parts of the altar in 1788.

The painting of the Nativity of Jesus, whose history is rather eventful, is situated in the front of the church aisle. Strakonice Castle was conquered and plundered by Ernst von Mansfeld’s army in 1619 during the Thirty Years’ War. A Strakonice inhabitant Firbas found an ancient painting of the Nativity of Jesus (perhaps from the 16th century), damaged by the Protestants (the figures’ eyes were pierced) in the devastated church. Firbas handed it over to the Carmelite monk P. Dominik Argonia a Santa Maria, who was the pope’s representative and the Imperial Army’s guide. In the hands of this avid priest, the painting became a palladium that led the Imperial Army to victory at the White Mountain (1620). The painting was from then on called Virgin Mary the Victorious (Maria de victoria). The original was taken back to Rome in 1622 and stored in the Carmelite church at Quirinale, and was destroyed when it burnt down in 1882. One of the copies was returned during the famous procession to the church of St Procopius in 1650 and has been kept there ever since.


    

 

 

(c) Město Strakonice, 2010
Webdesign & hosting: ŠumavaNet.CZ