Frýdek-Místek, Bazilika Navštívení Panny Marie

Holy Masses


On the Frýdek hillock Vápenky, on the costs of local suverain, was in 1665 erected a sandstone sculpture of Virgin Mary with infant Jesus. The plastic of Madonna rests on head of a snake and a crescent and is typologically close to amorous sculpture of Virgin Mary in Mariazell in Styria. Probably Silesian artist Salomon Steinhoffer is the author. Vápenky began soon to abound with miraculous reputation. In 1706, a spacious wooden chapel was built there and amorous sculpturewas erected on its main altar. Apart from tens of cured sick, an event from July 22 1707 must be added to the miracles of Virgin Mary of Frýdek. During downpour the strong wind tore down the chapel on Vápenky and falling beams of the truss broke down the plinth of the Marian sculpture. The plastic itself remained undamaged. The chapel was restored. It became a theaterof protracted and sad conflict between Frýdek’s priest Václav Tadeáš Faldyna and the holder of Frýdek domain František Vilém Pražma of Bílkov who intended to entrust the spiritual administration of the pilgrimage location to the hands of Minorits of Opava.
However, by intervention of Emperor Charles VI Vápenky remained in the care of Frýdek priests. As number of worshipers in the local pilgrimages grew up annually, the unbearable situation urged to the built up of a temple. Archbishop of Breslau chose a more restrained attitude and he in 1735 set up a special spiritual commission which should have explored the authenticity of miraculous cure on the intercession of Virgin Mary of Frýdek. The conclusion was positive so there was no obstacle to building of the temple. Realisation of huge and spacious church, according with the project of Bartolommeo Wittwer, master mason from Breslau, was followed by the decision of Frýdek’s priest Kryštof Jan Paška and František Vilém Pražma’s widow Karolína Františka Terezie, née von Almesloe. The foundation stone was laid on October 4 1740. The construction was dragged out by the Silesian Wars between Austria and Prussia. On May 13 1759 Church of Visitation of Virgin Mary was consecrated by Bishop of Breslau Philipp Gotthard Sclaffgotsch. The pair of new towers, which became a new dominant of Frýdek and its surroundings, was finished as late as in the 1780´s.
The temple is 47.25 m long, 25.25 m wide and 22.75 m high. Eminent Silesian and Moravian artists participated in its construction and decoration of its interior. There are six side chapels with altars and valuable paintings (by Fulnek native Eliáš František Ignác Herbert) and with plastics on the both sides of the cathedral nave. The altars on the right side, in the direction of main altar, are consecrated to St Joseph, St Phillip, and St Hedwig, patroness of Silesia. On the opposite side, the altars are consecrated to St Michael, St Francis of Assisi, and St John of God. Beyond the main altar, which was finished in 1796, with statue of grace of Virgin Mary of Frýdek, there is a chapel of St John of Nepomuk. On the right side a chapel of Holy Cross, where family tomb Pražmas of Bílkov lay, adjoins the presbytery. Interior of the temple captures one’s interest a series of confession booths from the half of the 18th century, one hundred years younger series of paintings with motives of the life of Virgin Mary or organs in baroque case from 1763. An inseparable part of the pilgrimage church is a crypt with mummified bodies of the pilgrims from Moravia who drowned in the swollen river Ostravice. Some priests active in the pilgrimage temple in the second half of the 18th century and members of the count family Pražma of Bílkov rest there as well.
In 2007, two new bells were cast in Dytrych’s bells workshop in Brodek at Přerov, called Virgin Mary of Frýdek (850 kg) and St Joseph (490 kg) which were ceremoniously consecrated on April 6 2008 by Ostravian-Opavian Bishop František Václav Lobkowicz and hanged in the left tower. Restored courtyard in front of pilgrimage church is decorated by four baroque plastics from the 18th century (St Anthony of Padua, St Raphael, St Gabriel, St Jude the Apostle), further then the sculptures of St Michael and St Charles Borromeo from the year 1840, and by Czech national patrons St Wenceslaus and St Adalbert from 1949. In the 1870´s, 14 chapels of Way of the Cross were erected that were consecrated in 1877. In the middle of the area a circular chapel of the Holy Heart of Jesus called Roman was built in the years 1880–1882. The tomb of Austrian poet and novelist Anastasias Grün in Slovenian Leskovec was an immediate model for this building. The whole area or the pilgrimage temple was restored in 2010–2011.
Renowned processions to Virgin Mary of Frýdek have survived, despite series of various obstacles, for centuries. Besides three major processions on Visitation of Virgin Mary, Assumption of Virgin Mary and Nativity of Virgin Mary, each first Saturday in the month diocese procession for new priest and regular profession are done. For extraordinary spiritual, cultural and historical value of this place, Frýdek pilgrimage church with palladium of Těšín´s Silesia was upgraded on August 30 1999 by pope John Paul II to so called minor papal basilica (basilica minor) thus gaining the statue of the most significant Catholic sanctuary in the world.

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2 km

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