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Ceremonial sending into service of main new prison chaplain

  • December 2020

On 2 December 2020, an ecumenical service was held in the chapel of the Archbishopric of Prague on the occasion of sending a new main chaplain of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic into service. Permanent deacon Otto Broch from Olomouc (Moravia) took the place of the current main prison chaplain Pavel Kočnar, a preacher of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. The main chaplain and his or her deputy are appointed for a five-year term by the Director General of the Prison Service from clergy commissioned by a registered church or religious society on the basis of a joint proposal of the Ecumenical Council of Churches and the Czech Bishops’ Conference.
Catholic deacon Otto Broch, who has almost thirty years of experience working in the Olomouc detention centre, and his deputy Pavel Zvolánek, preacher of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, made the prescribed pledge. The service was led by the chairman of the Ecumenical Council of Churches and the Synod Senior of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren Daniel Ženatý and Zdenek Wasserbauer, auxiliary bishop and vicar general of the Archbishop of Prague, who is in charge of spiritual care in public institutions as part of his official duties. The service was also attended by the main chaplain of the army of the Czech Republic, Catholic priest Colonel Jaroslav Knichal and police chaplain Major Jiří Ignác Laňka, as well as by several other chaplains working in public institutions.
About fifty prison chaplains from several churches work full-time or part-time as employees of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic in all 36 prisons and detention facilities. They are appointed on behalf of their own church. In addition to them, prisoners are also visited by members of the 200-member Prison Spiritual Care organisation, whose members can belong to any church and who carry out their activities without the right to remuneration.

"Church Reporter No 12/2020", Church Law Society, pp. 6–7.

D 4 January 2021    AZáboj Horák

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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