First dedicated in 1228, the Catholic church of Saint Tomáš, located in picturesque and timeless Malá Strana, has a long and illustrious history in the Czech Republic. Co-Consecrated as the Augustinian church of St. Tomáš and St. Augustine on May 2nd, 1316, by the Prince Bishop of Mainz and the Prince Bishop of Trier, this early structure was burnt to the ground on May 9th, 1420 during the Hussite Wars, was rebuilt, and again destroyed by fire in 1503 and 1541, and subsequently rebuilt both times. Augustinians have been present in Western Bohemia since 1262, and of particular importance was the foundation of the Church of St. Tomáš and Augustine in the immediate vicinity of the Prague Castle, as it served as the Royal church and monastery. Augustinians still play a very active role in the Czech Republic, Bohemia, and particularly in Prague, today- some 750 years after the foundation of their order. Over the centuries, the church of St. Tomáš has undergone many structural changes, while constantly maintaining its service to Malá Strana and the surrounding Castle District, and particularly to foreign groups in Prague. St. Tomáš still houses an Augustinian monastery and an active church community; or 3 communities in fact, as the Czech-speaking, English-speaking, and Spanish-speaking communities all use this church extensively, continuing the legacy of offering religious services in a variety of languages for the benefit of both locals and foreigners. Offering everything from free language classes to a particularly well-regarded religious education for children and adults, to bible study and youth programs, as well as a Czech-language school, the welcoming community of St. Tomáš is the perfect church for Roman Catholics looking for a home parish in Prague or for visitors looking for a warm welcome in a language they can understand. Visitors will be astounded with the Baroque beauty of the church, whose very early benefactors included the illustrious Czech Kings St. Wenceslas and Charles IV. Famous frescoes by Vaclav Reiner depicting the life and teachings of the Apostle St. Tomáš and St. Augustine of Hippo- some of which are regarded as Reiner's best works- adorn the ceilings, and can be viewed by visitors today, along with the restored remnants of frescoes in the small but historic St. Barbara's Chapel which dates from 1338, and visitors should not miss St. Dorothy's Chapel – which is one of the oldest ecclesiastical structures in Malá Strana, the south wall of which is all that remains of the much-reworked original structure from 1228. Other notables in the main body of the church include the spectacular grand pulpit designed and built by artist Philip Quittainer and the woodworker Christian Kovar, the relics of St. Boniface, the altar of John Nepomuk- the celebrated Saint whose martyrdom is famously commemorated with a plaque on the Charles Bridge, the Irish Altar, the magnificent pipe organ with its original cabinet dating from 1728, and pneumatic pipe workings from 1923, though it is now slated for renovation to prevent deterioration and restore it to its former glory.
Masses are held in English at 11:00 a.m on Sundays, and at 6:00 p.m on Saturdays in St. Barbara's Chapel, and in Spanish at 12:30 p.m on Sundays, as well as in Czech at 12:15 p.m Saturdays and weekdays, 7:00 p.m on weekdays, and 9:30 a.m on Sundays.
Address: Josefská 8, Praha 1, +420 257 530 556, www.augustiniani.cz
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