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Marian column in Prague restored after 102 years

  • June-August 2020

In the capital city of Prague on the Old Town Square, which is one of the most famous squares in the country, a historic event took place in 2020.
- On 4 June 2020, a column with a statue of the Virgin Mary was replaced after 102 years. It stands on the exact site where the original column stood in 1650–1918, a work created by legendary Czech sculptor Jan Jiří Bendl (1610–1680) in order to express thanks for the victory of the citizens of Prague over foreign troops at the end of the Thirty Years’ War. The restoration of the column is a remedy for the vandalism committed by the street crowd in the first days of the young republic in November 1918. The column stands next to the memorial of Czech Reformer John Hus (died 1415), erected in the year of 500th anniversary of his burn at a stake in Constance.
- Both memorials in the heart of Prague are symbols of the two religious traditions present in the Czech nation and represent today’s ecumenical relations after both devasting totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, based on anti-human positions of racial and class hatred and pagan or atheist ideology.
The great importance of the restoration of the Marian column in Old Town Square for all Czech Catholics, their cultural sympathisers and numerous parts of Czech cultural public is expressed in an article of Professor Jiří Rajmund Tretera from Charles University in Prague published in Czech in Church Law Review, No. 80/3–2020.
The Civic Society for the Restoration of the Marian Column in Prague has been striving to restore the column for more than twenty years. The replica was created by sculptor Petr Váňa with a group of enthusiastic collaborators. The restoration of the work was made possible by a decision of the Prague City Council, which, by a majority of its members, gave its consent on 23 January 2020 after a heated debate.
- On 15 August 2020, on the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the restored Marian column was blessed on the Old Town Square in Prague by Cardinal Dominik Duka, OP, Archbishop of Prague and Primate of Bohemia. This blessing was preceded by the Holy Mass in the Church of Our Lady before Týn. The main celebrant was Dominik Cardinal Duka. Immediately after the Holy Mass, the participants moved to the Old Town Square while singing the Litany of Loreto, where they joined other pilgrims. The sculptor Petr Váňa placed a copy of the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary of the square (Panna Maria Rynecká) in a stone sanctuary at the foot of the Marian column. Cardinal Duka then offered a blessing prayer.

D 4 January 2021    AZáboj Horák

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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