Czech Bible Society
Czech Evangelical Alliance
Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic
THE CZECH BISHOPS´ CONFERENCE
The Latin rite has been practiced on the territory of the present Czech Republic since the beginnings of Christianity in the 9th century. It was soon followed by the Eastern rite, which during centuries faded out. It partly returned to the territory of the Czech Republic as the Byzantine rite after the World Word I, with the coming of the workers from the Eastern part of the Republic. It is represented by a very small number of believers who are organised in the Greek Catholic Church. The overwhelming majority of Catholics, however, belong to the Roman Catholic Church of the Latin rite.
On the one hand Christianity came to the territory of the Czech Republic from the West, when fourteen princes were baptised in Regensburg in 845, and on the other hand from the East with a time-limited mission of two brothers, St. Cyril and Methodius, who came to Moravia in 863. In the course of two hundred years the Latin rite prevailed. Slavonic monks who were active in the Sázava monastery were by order of prince Břetislav II banished in 1097.
From the very beginning of its existence the church strove for the learning in the country and charitable aid to the country´s inhabitants. It founded schools, mostly affiliated with monasteries, bishops churches and hospitals, and provided education to clergy.
In 1344 Prague´s Bishopric became the Archbishopric, by which new independent administration of the church was created. It was subordinate to the Roman Pope. Charles IV issued the Golden Bull, by which, with Papal assent, he founded Prague´s University according to the example of the University in Paris. At the same time, on advice of the Archbishop Arnošt of Pardubice, he issued the foundation charter of the Slavonic monastery in honour of St. Jerom.
It was the place in which monks of St. Benedict´s order moved from Chroatia. In that monastery, which was called Na Slovanech (At the Slaves) or V Emauzích (In Emmaus) the worship was performed in Old Church Slavonic.
The Roman Catholic Church played an important role in cultural advancement of the nation. There are numerous gothic and baroque churches, as well as generally acknowledged baroque music, that bear testimony to this. They reflect unfading values, spiritual tradition of Catholicism and pride of the nation.
The main targets of the Roman and Greek Catholic Churches are based on Jesus´s mission to announce the gospel to the world (Mt 28:19 ff.), to minister in love to others (Jn 13:14 ff., Jn 13:34 ff.), to address God in Jesus´s name (Jn 16:26) as to beloved Father (Mt 6:9-13) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:7-15) in the anticipation of the final fulfilment in the glory of God and in the light of the Resurrected Christ, the Lamb of God (Rev 21:1–22:5). Special emphasis is laid on the unity (Jn 17:11) and persistent continuity of the church (Mt 16:18), which is also guaranteed by Petrine ministry of Roman bishops (Jn 21:15-17).
In the community of Christian Churches in the Czech Republic the Roman Catholic Church as the most spread church has a special position and extraordinary responsibility. It is aware of the necessity of restoring itself and the whole society with the Christ´s Spirit. It wants to contribute to it not only by means of the Decade of the Spiritual Restoration of the Nation, but also by its council, which is being prepared. It wants to cooperate in peace and Christian love with all who confess Christ´s name, and support everything that is done for the welfare of people and the glory of God. It will advocate justice, order, peace, human rights and solidarity of all mankind in the whole society and support particularly the weakest: the poor, the forsaken, the ill, prisoners, children who live in bad conditions, the unborn children who are endangered by abortions, minorities and exploited people, old and marginalised people.
The Roman Catholic Church, due to its cultural traditions and values may be a bridge for our society to its true roots and also the spiritual world of the West.
The Greek Catholic Church symbolises our connection with the East, and through the deepness of its prayers and its liturgy it brings believers to the closeness of the Resurrected Lord.
The unity of both churches in the doctrine, sacraments and the administration gives an example of possible unity in the diversity across the borders of cultures.
The Roman Catholic Church has two provinces in the Czech Republic: the Czech church province, comprising the Prague Archbishopric, Bishoprics of České Budějovice, Hradec Králové, Litoměřice and Pilsen, and the Moravian church province, which involves the Olomouc Archbishopric, the Brno Bishopric and the Ostrava-Opava Bishopric. In head of dioceses are bishops, who are appointed by the Pope and are answerable directly to the Pope.
The dioceses are divided into vicariates (deaneries) and further into parishes. Priests are appointed by appropriate bishops. Orders and congregations which are not answerable directly to bishops also take part in the religious life. They are controlled by superiors, which in some cases are out of the territory of the Czech Republic, because their mission is within the whole church. The highest representative of the church is the Pope, who is elected for life by the Board of Cardinals. His seat is in Rome. Also Roman Catholics of the Eastern rite recognise the Pope as head of their church.
By 1999 the Catholic Church had founded through 23 establishers 76 schools and school facilities. Among them are 14 nursery schools, 18 elementary schools, 15 gymnasiums, 13 secondary vocational schools and 5 colleges. It has 10 school facilities and 1 theological convict.
Organisational bodies of the Roman Catholic Church and the Czech Catholic Charity Organisation administer medical, charitable, social and accommodation facilities, namely hospices, shelters for pregnant women and mothers with children in need, the Home of the Saint Family for mentally handicapped children, the home for physically handicapped people, the House of Lady Zdislava for social rehabilitation of families, the Oasis of Silence, which is a weekend centre for the deaf, and numerous homes in Bohemia and Moravia. Among the other facilities are the Hospital of Sisters of Mercy of St. Charles Boromeo in Prague, the House of St. Anthony in Moravské Budějovice, the Hospital of Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent de Paul in Kroměříž, the monastery hospice in Teplá, numerous exercise houses, a pilgrimage house in Bystřice pod Hostýnem, charity houses for nuns and priests, the Kopling House for minor mothers with children in Prague. The Roman Catholic Church closely co-operates with cultural and educational organisations, especially with the Czech Christian Academy in Prague and the Moravian-Silesian Christian Academy in Brno.
48 periodicals are issued, including 2 weeklies, the others being biweeklies, monthlies, or occasionally published papers or magazines. Many parishes issue their own magazines.
According to the census in 1991 there are 10 million 545 thousand inhabitants living on the territory of the Czech Republic. Out of them 4 million 102 thousand are Catholics of either rite, which is 38.63% of the whole population.
As on January 1st, 1997, there were 6 Bishoprics and 2 Archbishoprics in the Czech Republic, 11 Bishops, 2.943 parishes, 1.170 diocesan priests, 483 regular priests, 107 permanent deacons, 256 students of divinity, 640 friars and 1215 nuns.
Czech Bishops´ Conference
Česká biskupská konference
Greek Catholic Church in the Czech Republic
Řeckokatolická církev v ČR
phone/fax: 02-22 31 28 17