Litomysl Church of the Raising of the Holy Cross and presbytery

Church of the Raising of the Holy Cross and presbytery

Today's Provost church of the Raising of the Holy Cross was first built as the church of the Augustinian monastery. It was established in 1356 by the Bishop of Litomyšl, the educated chancellor of Charles IV, Jan of Støeda; the Augustinians came to the city at his invitation from the monastery of St. Thomas in Brno. The building of the church and convent began soon afterwards; the church was completed in 1378.

After the occupation of Litomyšl by the Hussites and the closure of the monastery in 1428, the presbytery was transferred from the church of St. Clement in the castle grounds. Today the only remains of the former convent are the uncovered arches of the aisle to the southern side of the church, the chapel of St. Joseph, its sacristy and also part of the chapel of St. Margaret, today part of the deaconry building.

The southern vestibule was built during the reign of Kostek of Postupice in 1525. Following the fire of 1560 the damaged vault was demolished and a wooden ceiling was constructed. A new, lower, vault was put into the church during the repair process, which took place three years after the fire in 1601 under Maria Manrique de Lara, widow of Vratislav of Pernštejn. Following the vaulting of the aisle the western, so-called Manrique vestibule was built with a renaissance portal. A school was then established next to the church - this was transferred elsewhere in 1777.

The gothic appearance has been preserved, especially in the chapel of St. Joseph on the southern side of the presbytery.

In 1657 Tomáš Pìšina of Èechorod, later a famous Czech historian, became Dean of Litomyšl.

The baroque building of the deanery (today's presbytery and chapter house), and was built according to the plans of the Litomyšl architect Jiøí Béba.

A large part of the furnishings of the church date from the second half of the 18th century. The main altar was built in 1767, the sculptures were made by František Pacák and Jiøí Pacák the younger, and the picture of the Raising of the Holy Cross was painted by Ignác Raab. The pictures of the Stations of the Cross date from 1773, and were painted by Josef Cereghetti. The church and presbytery were damaged by fire in 1775 and 1814, but the furniture was largely preserved.

The terrace and stairway in front of the church were built at the beginning of the 19th century. The original wooden crucifix from 1775 was replaced in 1806 by today's stone cross.

At the end of the 19th century the church was partially re-Gothicised in stages by the architect Franz Schmoranz and others, and the main features that we can see today were created during this time (part of today's furnishings and fittings are in neo-gothic style). Plans for a far more radical rebuilding were not carried out, and the Church of the Raising of the Holy Cross therefore remained an important and valuable monument with many architectural and artistic details and fragments of the original decoration.

The importance of the church was recognised when in 1994 - on the occasion of the 650th anniversary of the establishment of the Litomyšl bishopric - a collegiate chapter house was opened.

Between 1995 and 2000 a large-scale restoration of the church and presbytery took place. The buildings were given new façades, the church was re-plastered, and newly discovered wall frescoes were uncovered. In May 2000 the new organ was consecrated after almost two years of work. The instrument, which was built by Vladimír Grygar - Varhany Prostìjov, replaced the older organ by J. Kobrle dating from 1902. It is one of the largest such instruments in western Bohemia.

Thanks also to the reconstruction of the monastery gardens in 2000, the Church of the Raising of the Holy Cross is today a striking dominant feature of the entire city. The long history and artistic value of the church remain an important part of its spiritual wealth.

Church of the Raising of the Holy Cross and presbytery

Church of the Raising of the Holy Cross and presbytery

Church of the Raising of the Holy Cross and presbytery

Church of the Raising of the Holy Cross and presbytery

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