Hodslavice, Kostel sv. Ondřeje v Hodslavicích Back
The first written mention of the village of Hodslavice dates back to 1411. A woodenparish church stood there at the time. The oldest and most valuable relic from this period is the statue of the Madonna of Hodslavice crafted from linden tree wood by an anonymous artist, back in between 1400 to 1420. Today, for security reasons, its gold-coated replica with a lilly-leaf crown took its place in the church. The oldest period, of which we know only little, of the Hodslavice parish came to an end after the war events of the second half of the 15th century. North-eastern Moravia was hit drastically especially during the Bohemian-Hungarian Wars between 1468 and 1479. At that time, the Hodslavice parish ceased to exist, or rather, it remained unoccupied as the local wooden church suffered great damage.
A new epoch of the wooden church in Hodslavice commenced at the beginning of the 16th century. The original sacral building was in such a bad condition that in 1523, the serfs from Hodslavice and its surroundings had to pay a special tax dedicated to repairs of the detriment church. By the half of the 16th century, the church and parish institutions had been taken over by non-Catholics. In 1551, the original derelict edifice was torn down and a new church was built in its place. The new wooden church had one nave and a polygonal presbytery. At the beginning of the 17th century, the church boasted two bells, which the Hodslavice pastor Jakub Archesius Ponický had cast in Opava. The bigger bell from 1614 unfortunately cracked in 1875 and had to be re-cast. The second, originally cast in 1615, survived until today. After the battle of White Mountain in 1620, the Catholic Church reinstalled its ownership of the church. For a shortage of clergy, however, Hodslavice became subject to the parish in Nový Jičín, then between 1670 and 1689 to Štramberk and afterwards to Mořkov, or technically, Životice. Hodslavice had not regained its own clergy until 1858, when the position was invested in Karel Sicha.
On November 22nd, 1863 at 1 AM, a fire broke out in the sacristy of the wooden St. Ondřej’s Church. Luckily, the fire was extinguished within fifteen minutes, so it couldn’t spread into the nave. Still, the repairs that followed were vast and expensive. June 30th, 1895, cast another shadow on the church as a lightning struck down on it and although it caused no fire, it damaged the church and injured several people.
Shortly after the construction of the new brick church in March of 1907, the older wooden St. Ondřej‘s church was closed down and nearly torn down as well. In the end, the state and the Church authorities decided to preserve it as a historical landmark. The state took on financial responsibility for any possible expenses. The National Heritage Institute in Brno ordered the execution of necessary restoration works, especially the replacement of the old shingles. Before the works even started, the church has been, for the third time in its long life, engulfed in flames. On June 19th, 1934, a fire broke out in the vicinity and spread onto the church. There were already four epicenters of the fire on the roof, when suddenly „the two Bartoň brothers Vojtěch and Jiří of Hodslavice climbed on the roof. They had no water at hand, so used their coats to put out the flames. They both destroyed their coats and footwear and scorched their hands so, that they had to attend to treatment. Had they not been as courageous, the church would have perished“. The insurance company provided the resources for the most needed repairs of the roof over the presbytery and oratory, as well as the beam ceiling. A major reconstruction of the exterior and interior followed in the war year of 1940–1941. After the completion of this maintenance, the Consistory of Olomouc allowed the profession of services in the church after thirty-five years.
The 1950s brought about considerable hardship for the church, since only the most pressing repairs were made. The lack of care was made up for in the 1970s, though. Throughout 1975 to 1978, the roof, the tower and the nave were thoroughly repaired, the whole building was impregnated. The interior underwent restoration as well. After the political shift, the church was once more entirely repaired in 1995. Not even in the new millennium could the wooden church of St. Ondřej be left neglected. So, in March of 2011, repairs recommenced. The shingles, the truss and the outside timbering of the church were all refurbished, as was the interior. All works were done in October of 2011. The cost of the reconstruction, 92.5% of which was covered by a grant from the European Union, amounted to 3 million Czech Crowns.
The wooden church of St. Ondřej is a unique landmark of Hodslavice and one that deserves our attention and care. It is now up to us to preserve this valuable heritage and bestow it unharmed onto future generations.