This church, formerly known as the Church of the Holy Trinity, was the first Baroque building to be constructed in the city. It was completed in 1613, and was renamed a few years later in memory of the Battle of the White Mountain, a decisive battle that took place in 1620 between the Bohemian troops and the Holy Empire army led by Ferdinand II, and won by the Habsburgs. Matyas Mayer's painting over the main altar features a spiritual depiction of the battle. However, the church's biggest claim to fame is a small wooden statue of baby Jesus, known as the Infant Jesus of Prague. The statue originates from Spain and was presented to Princess Polyxena von Lobkowicz as a gift, who in turn offered it to the Camelites who were in charge of the Church of Our Lady of Victory. From the very beginning, Il Bambino di Praga was believed to have miraculous properties, especially for pregnant women who would come to pray for the safe delivery of a healthy baby. In 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI came to Prague, he blessed the statue and offered it a golden crown. The statue stands in the middle of a lovely side chapel and several people still visit the church every day for the express purpose of addressing their prayers to the Infant Jesus.
We weren't planning on visiting this Church, however, we happened to pass by it and we couldn't help but notice the large groups of tourists that were entering, so we decided to go in. Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome.
This Church was the first baroque structures built in Prague in 1613 for the German Lutherans. It was eventually rebuilt and passed on to the Carmelites. It is the home to the famous Child-Jesus statue called the Infant Jesus of Prague. It is said that the Infant Jesus of Prague has miraculous curing powers and that it was the protector of the city against plague and the destruction in the 30 years war.
Irish brides traditionally placed a statue of the Infant of Prague outside the door on the eve of their wedding to ensure good weather. My Irish grandmother had a particular devotion to the Infant, and I have a strong recollection of the statue standing in pride of place in her home, so my curiosity was piqued when I discovered that the Infant is on display in the Church of Our Lady of Victory.
The Infant is a 48cm (18" in old money) wax statue brought to Bohemia in the mid 17th century by Princess Polyxena von Lobkowicz, who had been given it as a wedding gift by her mother, Maria Manriquez de Lara of Spain. The statue was subsequently given to the Carmelites in Prague and has been in their care ever since. The Infant is credited with miraculous intercessional powers and attracts worldwide devotion. To my mind, perhaps the most miraculous thing about it is that a figurine made of wax has managed to survive over 300 years in a city that has been wracked by regular armed conflict!
The Infant's clothes are changed on a regular basis, with the colour of the robe reflecting the liturgical season (purple for lent, white for feast days such as Christmas and Easter and so on). The tradition of dressing the Infant is apparently intended to emphasise the human aspect of Jesus, and there is a small museum in which the Infant's outfits are displayed.
For fear of offending the devout, I really don't get it. The Infant is a small doll and the idea of grown women 'dressing up' a doll in baby clothes as a devotional activity is bizarre, even to someone who was raised a Catholic. I also find the fact that you can buy 'Infant of Prague' dolls complete with changes of vestments to be frankly creepy, although to be fair, these were not on sale at the church.
To compound matters, the Church of Our Lady of Victory in which the Infant is displayed is a beautiful example of Baroque splendour, which those who have read my travel pages will realise is my least favourite architectural style of all time!
In summary, I am glad that I went to see the Church and the Infant, but if ever there was a tourist attraction guaranteed NOT to appeal to my interests and sensibilities, this has to be it. So perhaps temper my comments with the realisation that this was never going to be a tourist attraction that I could have been overly positive on - I have tried my best (honest)!
This church is, as noted in an earlier tip, home to the famous Infant Jesus of Prague and whilst people usually seek it out to see the Bambino, they usually find that the church itself is worth a visit in its own right. Built in the 1600's by the Lutherans it was given over to the Discalced Carmelites after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. In the late 18th century it was taken over by the Emperor Joseph 11 who expelled the Carmelites and made it into a parish church in the care of the Maltese order. Two hundered years went by and it was not until 1993 that the Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Vlk returned the Carmelites to our Lady of Victories.
Church was constructed in 1611-1613 by Lutherans. Later, after famous battle of the White Mountain (1620), when hussites were beaten, it was given to Order of Discalced Carmelites. Four years passed and church was dedicated to Our Lady of Victory, changing both the name of church that was called Most Holy Trinity Church before. From 1644 church looks the same as it is now – mixture of Renaissance and Baroque.
Church is famous because of a Spanish origin wax figure of Holy infant Jesus. It was given to church by Polyxena of Lobkowicz (1628). Place is pilgrimage, gathering many religious people to pray here. Copies of this sculpture are spread over the World.
Actually it reminds me of Vilnius Saint Madonna painting (Gates of Dawn) and painting of Mercy Jesus (St. Trinity Church), that are named as Saint and its copies are spread in other parts of Catholic World.
Inside the church there is a reliquary containing the Jesus Child of Prague. The miraculous wax statue is among the revere images of the Catholic world. The statue was brought from Spain by the princess Polyxena of Lobkowicz (1628)
The first Baroque church of Prague was the Church of the Trinity, built for the German Lutherans by the Italian architect Giovanni Maria Phillip. The church was finished in 1613. The church was submitted to the carmelitanis that devoted it to the Our Lady Victorious.
This is what made Prague famous for 500 years! Go there and pray, if you like. Otherwise the church is beautiful and the museum is free. The Empress Maria Theresia gave the statue a dress of its own, as well as many other countries.
This is i guess of more interest to those who know a little about
the background history of the little child of prague
once u cross over charles bridge , u walk up a small bit , (ie past the pizza express , and past macdonalds u go under a sort of covered archway and then u take the left turn, which is karmelitska
it is where the tramway runs
u walk down the rd and once u hit the first set of traffic lights it is on the right hand side
it isnt that hard to miss, u will see alot of people outside it
when the mass is on u cannot really stand in front and wander around
hwoever otherwise , u can go in, and after the grotto there is a museum and a souveigneer shop at the back
This museum is in honour of the Infant of Prague and is within the church itself. Go to the far end of the church on the right hand side and the steps lead up to the museum. It is only small and has costumes on display they are regularly used on the statue. There are about 60 costumes although not all of them are on show. Some of the costumes are encrusted with jewels, and beside the costumes is a card detailing who has presented the costume. Some are from kings and queens around the world. The statue it thought to have come from Spain in 1628 and is made of wax.
There isnt an actual charge to this museum but they do ask for a donation.
Opening times are
June - September
October - May
Monday - Saturday 9.30-5.30
The photograph is of a little cherub on the staircase up to the museum
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