St Cyril and St Methodius – Resslova
From the metro station at IP Pavlova right down to the riverside I’m always bumping into people with a map in their hands, randomly turning it, looking for street signs etc and invariably when I ask if they need and help they’ll say that they are looking for “the church where the soldiers were killed”.
There are different parts to this story and the St Cyril and St Methodius church marks the end of one of them. So let’s explain just a little bit about the church and why you may want to visit part of it.
The Church – As Saint Boromejský
It’s another Kilian Dientzenhofer church finished in 1740 i.e. around the same time as he was building St Nicholas on the Old Town Square. The area had been settled since the early 12th Century and there would have been an Augustine monastery and convent in this area until it was redeveloped after 1705. At it’s consecration it was a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Italian St Karel Boromejský and the adjacent building was used to house retired Roman Catholic priests. Unfortunately it was one of over 700 churches shut down during the reign of King Joseph II and was not used again as a church until 1921.
The Church – As ST Cyril and ST Methodius
On September 28th 1935 the consecration of the building as a Czech Orthodox church took place. It was dedicated to two Byzantine missionaries called Cyril and Methodius who brought the Eastern Christian teachings to Bohemia and Moravia. They were brothers and it is still a Czech Orthodox Church. July 5th is a state holiday in honour of St Cyril and St Methodius.
ST Cyril and ST Methodius – World War Two
There are two reasons for visiting this church. Either you practice Orthodox Christianity or you want to see where 7 British-trained paratroopers were killed in 1942. This second aspect is fully described on my Operation Anthropoid post. From the outside of the church pictured at the beginning of this post, you’ll see a plaque with many names and underneath it is a window. It’s marked by three things usually, candles, flowers and bullet holes. This was the last stand of the assassins of Reinhard Heydrich. The crypt of the church is now a museum and a national memorial to the fight for freedom. You access the crypt via the adjacent road “Na Zderaze”.
How to Get to it
If you’re visiting the Dancing House then it’s just up the hill from there. If you are coming from the riverside by tram then get off at the Jíraskovo Námestí stop. From the Karlovo Námestí metro station take the exit for Resslova and walk down the hill or here’s the Google Maps link.