St Vitus's Cathedral, Prague

St Vitus's Cathedral
They say that it takes a leap of faith to plant a tree--especially something like an oak that takes hundreds of years to fully mature. The planter knows that he or she will not be around to enjoy the beauty and shade of the fully grown tree. But yet it is essential to plant those seeds for future generations.

But what about the great cathedrals of the world. These soaring structures were not built overnight. In fact, the building and rebuilding of the St. Vitus Cathedral has been going on for something like a 1000 years now. When I think on all of the artisans over the centuries that dedicated their lives to the work of raising the cathedral--I come back to my analgoy of the tree. Not many of those skilled workers had any hopes of seeing a finished project, but yet they toiled on. What drove them? Faith? Wages? The threat of excommunication?

In any event the cathedral was not consecrated until 1929--fully 1000 years after the death of St. Wenceslas, the man who first chose this site overlooking the Vltava as the perfect place to build a grand church. Since 1929 there have been many dark days in Prague with the annexation of the "Sudetenland" by Hitler and the subsequent time behind the Iron Curtain following World War II. Prague shook off the domineering mantle of communism in 1989 (a government that shunned religion) but the people have not returned to organized religion. It is said that less than 2% of Czechs practice a religion.

So for all the tremendous effort to raise this glorious cathedral over centuries and centuries--it all just boils down to a rather gigantic curiosity. The form is there, but really without function.

  • Directions: In the Prague Castle complex




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