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THE CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP

The history of the chapel in the mountains is associated with several legends which should clarify the circumstances of its creation on this site.

One legend has it that when Hungarian King Matthias went to war against King George of Poděbrady, a part of the Hungarian army broke away and approached Česká Třebová for plunder. However, the Hungarians got lost in the valleys and swamps (called the Hungarian Vales since then). When the inhabitants of Česká Třebová learned about the soldiers nearing their town, they united with the villagers living in the area, arming themselves with what they had and going out against them. Those soldiers who did not die in the marshes or starve to death were killed. The son of a Hungarian noblewoman also died in the fight. She then came to visit the place where her son died to see his grave and pray. Before returning home, she hung a painting of the Virgin Mary on a oak. Lumberjacks who came to work in the forest found the picture, and because they did not know anything about the event, they believed that the figure had fallen from the sky. When they cut the oak down, a wooden chapel was built on the site to honour the miracle, and the Holy Image was hung in it.

A written source documenting the history of the Chapel in the Mountains is a memorial book in which the authors shed light on the foundation and the subsequent fate of the chapel. The book begins with a miracle. People have always known the power of the healing spring in the mountains, which they called Paul’s Spring. During visits to the spring, people used to drop coins in the water, but a young man named Jakub Pivoňka would fish them out and drink them away. He was punished for this sin by ‘seeing a little during the day, and nothing at night’. He knew that his poor sight was God’s punishment. He gave one part of the sum he had taken from the spring to the church for candles and the rest to the spring. He then prayed in the mountains, washed with the spring water, and his sight returned to him. Because of many other miraculous recoveries, pilgrims decided to build a chapel above the spring. The carpenters and masons who promised to work on the construction of the chapel did not want to redeem their promise and decided to leave for better-paid jobs. Among them was a carpenter Nicholas. The night before their scheduled departure, Nicholas had a dream in which he heard a voice: ‘Nicholas! Do not delay! Get up and go to build the chapel as soon as possible, I am telling you to go! And you shall not lie with your wife as long as you perform this work and you shall instruct your companion not to lie with his wife either during this time.’ Scared by his dream, Nicholas persuaded his fellow journeyman, who also wanted to leave prematurely, to hurry to build the chapel and redeem their promise.

The construction of the chapel began on July 6, 1744 and ended on July 23, 1744. As regards its appearance, we only know that it was wooden and hexagonal, that it stood near Paul’s Spring, and that an image of Virgin Mary, which had been hanging on a tree until then, was hung inside it.

The book continues to describe a whole range of miraculous recoveries of pilgrims from Česká Třebová and also from Rybník, Němčice, Svinná, and the surrounding area. Most believers healed their sick eyes and ears there, but scabies, bone diseases, stomach pain, toothache, headache, and other organ pains were also cured. From the 1740s to 1770s, we find reports of dozens of miraculous recoveries in the book. In the fall of 1787, however, the popular chapel burned down.

People did not forget the healing effects of the spring in the mountains and continued coming to the site of the former chapel, where the image of Virgin Mary was provisionally hung on a fir tree. In 1809, town officials began to fulfil the wishes of many pilgrims to build a spa and inn in the mountains where visitors could take shelter from the rain and stay overnight. The spa and inn were built, but the place where the former chapel used to stand still remained desolate, despite the fact that many of the faithful, local as well as from the surrounding areas, wanted the chapel to be restored.

The foundation stone of a new chapel was to be laid ceremonially in the presence of the chief representative of the region on July 18, 1811. However, he abruptly left the feast when he discovered that the foundations had been dug up unannounced and the builders had no building permit. The foundations were laid in the evening and when they were walled, all the work on the construction of the new chapel ceased. It is said that the regional representative’s desertion of the feast scared the inhabitants so much that after the foundations had been walled, the construction remained abandoned until 1818. An application for a building permit was submitted several times, but to no effect. And so in September 1818, town officials headed by Josef Müller decided to begin construction without a permit. The construction was completed in 1819, thanks to the help of the locals and people from the surrounding villages. Anyone who wanted to help did so however he could: providing money, shingles, or wood. But as soon as the chapel was completed, other problems arose.

In the following years, several attempts to achieve permission for the consecration of the chapel were made, but in vain. Only Karel Hanl, the bishop of Hradec Králové, accepted the request of the inhabitants of Česká Třebová to consecrate the chapel in the mountains in 1837. The ceremonial act of consecration took place on 7 July 1839, i.e. 20 years after the completion of the chapel.

The pilgrimage Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a cultural monument, built in the classical style.

The chapel is owned by the Municipality of Česká Třebová

The administrator of the Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is
The Roman Catholic Parish - Deanery in Česká Třebová
Klácelova 1
560 02 Česká Třebová
Tel.: 731 626 171
E-mail: kancelar@farnostct.cz
Web: http://www.farnostct.cz

Dean (Parish administrator): Mgr. Miloš Kolovratník

The current church service programme
http://www.farnostct.cz/soubory/porad.pdf

Monuments open to the public

TOUR OF THE CHAPEL

A small shrine built in the Classicist style stands above a spring of reportedly miraculously healing water. The tour includes information about the history of this once famous pilgrimage site, the architectural design development of the chapel, and its furniture dating back to the 19th and early 20th century. In addition to these attractions, the visitor can appreciate the surrounding countryside, which creates a picturesque and very impressive whole together with the chapel and the spring.

The tour of the chapel takes about 30 minutes

Opening:
July and August: Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. - 5 p.m.;

at any other time by appointment

Note: Visiting hours may be restricted during wedding ceremonies

Admission fees:
Adults CZK 30
Reduced CZK 20
Family CZK 50

map

PUBLICATIONS FOR SALE

Cibulka, J. - Sokol, J.: Soupis památek historických a uměleckých v okresu lanškrounském /An Inventory of the Historic and Artistic Monuments in the District of Lanškroun/, Praha 1935, pp. 55-56.

Hackenschmied, V. Z.: Na besedě. Báchorky, báje a pověsti. /At a Neighbours’ Meeting. Folk Tales, Myths, and Legends/. The release prepared by R. Dušek, (2nd, modified and supplemented edition), Ústí nad Orlicí 1995, pp. 38-39.

Košnář, J.: Poutnická místa a památné svatyně v Čechách /Pilgrimage Sites and Memorable Sanctuaries in Bohemia/, Praha s. d., pp. 332.

Lašek, F.: Zapadlí osvícenci F. E. Welz, F. M. Klácel a dr. F. Rybička. Tři životopisné obrazy s kulturně dobovými črtami z Litomyšle, České Třebové, a Kozlova /Backwoods Patriots F. E. Welz, F. M. Klácel and Dr F. Rybička. Three Biographical Portraits with Cultural and Period Sketches from Litomyšl, Česká Třebová, and Kozlov/. 2nd revised and expanded edition, Česká Třebová, 1946, pp. 68.

Šebela, M.: Kaple Panny Marie Ponocné /The Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help/. In: Toulky minulostí Českotřebovska 1 /Wandering Through the History of the Česká Třebová Region 1/. Česká Třebová 2000, pp. 168-174.

Štangler, B.: Hory u České Třebové /The Mountains Near Česká Třebová/. Česká Třebová 1970, pp. 6-8.

Tykač, J .: České povídky. Národní povídky a skutečné příběhy z Litomyšle, Ústí n. Orlicí, České Třebové i okolí, díl I. /Czech Stories. National Tales and Real Stories from Litomyšl, Ústí n. Orlicí, Česká Třebová, and the Surroundings, Part I/, 2nd revised edition, Praha s.d. pp. 17-20.

Voleská, J.: K dějinám církevních staveb farnosti Česká Třebová, In: Českotřebovská farnost v historii /Towards the History of Ecclesiastical Buildings in the Parish of Česká Třebová, In: The Parish of Česká Třebová in History/, Česká Třebová 2004, pp. 176-182.

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