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Church of St. Ignatius

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Former Jesuit church of St. Ignatius which closes the lower right part of the square is an early Baroque building with a two-tower facade and was built in the years 1663-1668. 

The Jesuits were called to this area by possessor George Popel of Lobkowicz and of the day 25 February 1663 in Prague Clementium in the presence of Johannes P. Sax, the head of the province of the Society of Jesus there was closed an agreement on the construction of the temple of the Lord and the part of the campus between George Helmreich, rector of Chomutov campus and Carlo Lurago , a renowned Italian architect. Already in March that year there started the excavation works and on 3 May the cornerstone was laid for the single nave building with three side chapels on both sides. The whole masterpiece was completed five years later when on the Feast of St. Ignatius (July 31, 1668), the founder of the order, this sacred building was consecrated the by Matthew Sobek of Ferdinand from Bilenberk, the former archbishop of Prague. So-called second patrocinium (i.e. consecration of the altar equipment) was held three years later. The whole Jesuit campus functioned until the year 1773, when based on the decision of Pope Clement XIV the order Societas Iesu was abolished and on 14th October at 9 o'clock based on the decree issued by Emperor Joseph II an official commission arrived at the city. This commission convened all members of the order and at the meeting the decree on Jesuit order abolition was read, it was announced that the members were relieved of their oaths taken under the Jesuit order and priests were banned to sermonize, preach and shrive. The church was then during the following 15 years closed and became a part of the military barracks. In this condition the building remained until the end of World War II. After February 1948 the sanctuary didn’t serve to army neither to citizens therefore it became an easy target of vandals. The change occurred in half of sixties of the 20th century when there appeared several proposals for the reconstruction of the Jesuit campus. The renovation came true and was completed in 2002. Nowadays the portico carries a total of five statues – from the left St. George, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Virgin Mary with Jesus, St. Francis Xavier and St. Florian. Inside the magnificent baroque buildings we can see for example the main Baroque altar from the years 1670-1680 with a modern painting, the pulpit from the end of the 17th century and especially a high quality stucco decoration. Formerly under the building there was the crypt with mummies of eighty monks and one chimney sweep, who wanted to rob the tomb and could not get out of it. But because the crypt was damaged it had to be opened and relics were moved to the Chomutov cemetery. Today the church serves mainly for the purpose of exhibitions and concerts.

(BAŘINKA Michal, 08/2010)

 Opening hours:

April- oktober: tu, thu 11:00–12:00 hod. 16:00–17:00 hod.
Sat 10:00–12:00 hod. Sun 14:00–16:00 hod.

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