Church of St. Wenceslaus

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Church of St. WenceslausThe church is located on the grounds of the psychiatric center in Bohnice and was built during the First World War by the developer V. Nekvasil. A renowned work by the architect and designer Václav Roštapil, i.a. the author of the Straka Academy, the current seat of the Czech government, was built in a secession style and is consecrated in the name of St. Wenceslaus.

Following its consecration 1919 the Church was passed along to be used by worshippers not only from the centre, but also from Bohnice and the wider surroundings. Its decorations were created by several prominent artists – the sandstone entry portal and the stuccos are by professor Celda (Celestine) Klouček, the statues of the doctor guild patrons St. Cosmas and Damian are from the shop of the sculptor František Hergesel, jr., the colour figural windows and exterior images made of color glazed tiles were created by the artist Jindřich Hlavín and the crusade is by the painter Rudla. The church organs were allegedly among the top three products from Krnov. The main altar is dominated by paintings from the artist Jakub Obrovský, St. Wenceslaus on horseback and along his sides were the Slavic apostles. On the left from the altar stood the statue of Virgin Mary from a white Carrara marble from the shop of the sculptor Franta Úprka, the brother of the famous artist Jožo Úprka from Moravian Slovakia.

During the Second World War the copula of the St. Wenceslaus Church served as an orientation point for air raids by the allied forces and the German command was considering tearing the tower down. A catastrophe for the St. Wenceslaus Church was the period from 1951–1956, when together with other buildings on the grounds of the psychiatric center became part of Prague’ s air defense and it was transferred under the administration of the Ministry of National Defence. The Church was deconsecrated, interior was completely devastated. According to witness accounts at the time the soldiers used the saints on the church windows for example for target practice…

Th e interior furnishing of the church were taken to three diff erent churches. The main altar and the Madonna statue were taken to the church in Velký Osek by Kolín. Since it was consecrated in the name of the Divinely Heart of the Lord, the central painting with St. Wenceslaus, on horseback nonetheless, did not fit in and was lost to an unknown place. The paintings of the Slavic apostles hang on the church’ s side walls. The Crusade paintings, pews, confession booth and the pulpit were placed in a wooden rectory Church of St. Adalbert of Prague in Prague- Libeň. The organs were given to the St. John of Nepomuk in Prague-Košíře. Following the departure of the army the building was used as a warehouse, and last as a depository for monument preservation’ s statues.

Th e rebirth of the church took place in 1990 when the petition by the psychiatric center in Bohnice to vacate the premises was obliged to. Renovations were started at the same time and in 1991 and 1992 the church’ s interiors were renovated, stylishly furnished and following arrangements with the Prague archiepiscopate the St. Wenceslaus Church was newly consecrated on February 11th, 1993. Th is day was chosen intentionally, because it was the declared by the Pope as the Day of the Sick. Currently the Church is used not only for services, but its premises are also used for concerts and other events intended for patients and visitors of the psychiatric center.

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