The Shining Church Night

This, already ninth year will offer a varied cultural and spiritual program organized by thousands of volunteers from different parishes. “Almost three thousand churches will open just in Prague and central Bohemia,” Michal Němeček, director of the Prague Archbishopric Pastoral centre says and ads that the interest in the Church Night is immense: Last year we noted around 130 thousand visitor entrances in central Bohemia, in the entire Czech republic about half million incomings.
Published: 6. 6. 2017 15:45

Those who will visit stone churches or prayer rooms can choose from an enormously varied offer: concerts, guided tours, workshops or theatrical performances. A chance will be to take a look at church sacristies or monastic gardens, to play an organ, ascend towers or descend to ancient crypts, experience liturgy or perceive in a quiet cessation what inspired the builders of Cristian temples. Also the traditional Light pilgrimage over the Charles Bridge promises a great experience. People can participate in it with a burning candle in hand from the St. Thomas Church at Malá Strana to the St. Salvator Church in Křižovnické náměstí (square). Interested persons can pick a candle and carry it burning, individually or with others, to the other side of the river Vltava. There they can put it on a marked place in the church.

We try to enrich the program also by something unusual. This year we used a unique offer by the River Basin Vltava and we invite visitors not just to churches but also to the Vltava river surface.” Michal Němeček reveals. “Exactly at this imaginary lowest point of Prague a huge pontoon called Francis will be anchored. We call this place The Anchored Church. During the evening at this very unusual place all visitors will be able to hear a debate with many interesting guests hosted by St. Vitus canon Tomáš Roule. Moreover the Prague panorama will be seen in a rarely known perspective from the pontoon," said Němeček.

The Church Night is intended for the widest public – including those standing outside the church or at its borders. In the atmosphere which Church Nights creates visitors have the opportunity to meet Christianity via dialogues, music, art or their own inner experience. The variety of the offer provides many possibilities how to describe Christianity, church and faith sensitively. The point is to address and offer, resolutely without imposing. And this way to arrange a positive experience related to church for the visitors. The action´s task also is to raise interest in social and cultural value of churches.

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(Transl.: Archdiocese of Prague)

František Jemelka

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