The castle chapel of the Holy Trinity and Saint Wenceslaus in Ďáblice
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The building of the crusader castle has been a natural dominant feature of Old Ďáblice since the middle of 18th century. Quite unexpectedly, a sacral area consecrated in the name of the Holy Trinity and Saint Wenceslaus hides behind its walls.
The manor in Ďáblice was received by the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star order from the Queen Constance of Hungary in 1233 and as soon as in 1254 this estate was expanded by Ládví. The Crusaders have then developed a spiritual and especially economic center here for centuries, where its purpose was to supply their Prague monastery and hospices. The spiritual life in Ďáblice was ongoing at the St. Augustine Church until the end of the 17th century. However, the church perished at that time and the building material from it was used to renovate the stronghold, which sources refer to as the “great stone tower”. Although no later than 1731 even these headquarters succumbed to a devastating fire and were awaiting its renovation. From the archive sources we know that a chapel stood in Ďáblice since 1703 and thus the estate was occupied by a priest of the order, who was responsible not only for taking care of the parishioners from Ďáblice and Hloubětín, but also for the running of the estate.
The renovation of the burned out castle, started in 1754, was the work of the order administrator at the time Jan Nepomuk Střecha along with his mother Judith. The work was ongoing under their careful supervision and so already by 1755 the Grandmaster Crusader Antonín Jakub Suchánek consecrated the castle area, among other things, placed a precious piece of wood from the carriage that transported the body of St. Wenceslaus from Stará Boleslav to Prague into the upper storey of the bell tower.
The Baroque renovation created a two wing two storey castle building with an L shaped fl oor plan, where the side wing is not exactly regular. Architect has tried to cover this defect with a distinct, rigidly symmetrical street side facade, where its seven axes design with wide center entry risalit is dominated by a huge mansard roof with an octagonal bell tower, ended in a bulbous cupola with a gold plated star bearing cross of the order. The risalit itself ends in a tympanum with a sculpture set that is most likely from the workshop of a prominent Prague sculptor F. I. Platzer, but sometimes it is even credited to F. Ublacker. These are two angel figures standing on a side honoring the center piece, the statue of St. Wenceslaus.
The chapel itself is originally a typical baroque symmetrical area, where its ground plan was made up of a central square area of the aisle, which has an adjacent presbytery on one side and a music gallery on the other. These original parts of the chapel are covered with a fresco of the patriarch Abraham credited to Jan Ezechiel Vodňanský. In the area of the vault strip above the organ gallery we can see a painting of part of the legend of St. Wenceslaus as he is buying pagan children, let’s them be baptized and then teaches them. The altar canvas depicting St. Wenceslaus honoring the Holy Trinity hangs on the face wall behind the altar in a complexly conceived rococo frame that is carried by two angels and comes from Ignác Václav Raab.
The second half of the twentieth century has caused the demise of some of the smaller elements of the original chapel furnishings, such as reliquary with small paintings of St. Herman and St. Syard, placed at the signboards of the altar gates, or two thecae for votive donations at the predella of the main altar. On the contrary several sculptures of evangelist originally placed in the breast of the music gallery and a statue of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus have been preserved. To this day we can see a built in alcove under the gallery originally connected via forged bars to the profane castle areas, which had a symmetrical opposite painted on the left.
Furthermore, there are wooden baroque pews from around 1770, a holy water sink, which is embedded into the wall by the entrance to the chapel and designed in the shape of a seashell, was carved from marble mined at the crusader quarries in Slivenec. Despite the chapel being asymmetrically expanded at the start of the 20th century and even despite the fact that a number of the art craft items and details were ruined in the second half of the 20th century, the interior still gives off a coherent rococo impression, where the richly gold plated sculptures and incarnates, marbled altar and the light soft tone of the frescos all create an intimate spiritual atmosphere within this one of a kind baroque jewel.