Bethlehem Chapel

Bethlehem Chapel ( Betlemska kaple )

The building which stands here today is the result of a faithful reconstruction of the original, destroyed in the second half of the 18th century.

This work was completed in the early 1950s by J. Fragner who gathered information about the original chapel from old iconographic sources, descriptions and prints of the earlier building, This had been built towards the end of the 14th century at the request of the citizens of Prague who wanted a church where they could celebrate Mass in their own language.

Instead the church authorities only gave their permission for the construction of a Gothic chapel, although this was capable of accommodating a congregation of 3000.

The Czech reformer Jan Hus preached from its pulpit in the first half of the 15th century, and even after his death the Bethlehem Chapel remained one of the strongholds of the Prague Hussite movement. In the first half of the 17th century the chapel belonged to the Bohemian Brotherhood, but after the Battle of the White Mountain ( 8th Nov 1620 ) it passed into the hands of the Jesuits.

In 1733 the Order was dissolved and not long afterwards the building was destroyed.       The interior contains wall paintings based on the Velislav Bible, the Jena Kodex, and the Richenthalsch Chronicles. Also on view are some passages from the J. Hus and J. ze Stribro treaties.

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