St. Voršila's chapel in Křemže


 Křemže - St. Voršila's chapel
Location :

St. Voršila's chapel stays in the middle of cemetary, which is located in north-west end of village Křemže with which it is connected by history. It is the dominant element of village.

Origin of name :

The first record about Křemže as a settlement comes from year 1351. In year 1364 is noticed as Krzemz, in years 1369 Krzemsa, in 1385 Krzemze and 1447 Křemže. Křemže is probably called after Křemežský brook, to which gave the name Kelts due to wild garlic which grew on its banks. Origin of name can also come from quartz, which could be in brook easily found.

History of object :

The first stone for chapel was laid down on 19. June 1550. Its founder Jan Častolar dedicated it to St. Voršila, patroness of his daughter. As the original graveyard in the middle of settlement was insufficient to the needs, was by the chapel opened new one and requiem masses were carried out in graveyard chapel. Coat of arms of the Častolars from Dlouhá Ves In 1837 was chapel reconstructed, but it was struck by lightning shortly after that and heavily damaged in 1858. Instead of reconstruction the locals let it decay and it was in 1862 destroyed completely. In 1905 let the Křemže's native dr. Václav Cába (priest-provost, active in Jindřichův Hradec), built the new chapel, on his own cost with help of some parishioners.

Important cultural and architectonical details :

The new chapel was built in pseudo - Romanesque style, with semi-circle apse. Stone altar with crucified Christ comes from Hořice. Picture of St. Voršila above the altar has latin legend, from which can we read (from cryptogram) that it was made by monk in 1768. Painting was even in original chapel. P. V. Cába paid renovation of the damaged picture. Bell at the tower is from dissolved military graveyard in Prague - Karlín.

Originally were graves located around the old church as in other parishes, this church was much smaller than today's one. Capacity of graveyard was for small parish sufficient. It was fenced by high wall with south and north entrances with portals to which led stone stairs. This wall was removed in 1879, because of danger of its collapse. During rule of the Častolars was by the south-east side of graveyard a mortuary. When the capacity of graveyard was found insufficient, was beside the St. Voršila's chapel opened new graveyard. As a first was buried here unknown beggar from Jamné u Vrábče, which died suddenly in Loučej during her regular circuit. After her burial 22. February 1772 new graves were dug here and till the end of year were on new graveyard 40 graves.

Křemže in year 1917, view form South, historic photo

At the old graveyard had been buried together and during the first years were here even more burials than at the new one, because the ancient family crypts were located here.
 Křemže, old church from year 1557, historic photo
Originally were people buried around the churches so they would rest near their church, into which they were used to go. The mourners could also on Sundays after church service visit grave of their dear ones. That is how it works in Křemže too. The ancient cemetary around the original church used to be much greater then today's area. Specially at the northern side it led far away. To today Budějovická street led along the graveyard wall just a narrow road. Later on was area around church leveled and in 1888 have been here planted two rows of limes, so the limes in the first row stays opposite to pillar of church and do not shade its windows.
Křemže - St. Voršila's chapel, in background St. Michael's church, photo: Jan Kříž 
When the graves at the ancient graveyard were opened and human remains were exhumed, they were stored into the great joint grave at the new graveyard over St. Voršila's chapel, where today stays the great iron cross. In memory of the old graveyard remains beside the southern wall under church the iron cross. In year 1933 was space around the church narrowed and the stone wall with concrete desk was built here (finished in 1937).

St. Voršila's graveyard used to be much smaller - graves were dug behind the chapel. For the future need was the graveyard in 1872 enlarged in direction to road and since 1902 from chapel down. Then was built the new mortuary, in which rested till burial dead - homeless people who died at parish. An interesting record is written in parish annals. During consecration (22. October 1905) of the newly built St. Voršila's chapel, constructed and consecrated by its founder provost P. Cába, local priest with church girls scattered around the graveyard dust and stones from Holy land, from where brought them the "pilgrim of Jerusalem".

Křemže - St. Voršila's chapel, left front view, photo: Jan Kříž Křemže - St. Voršila's chapel, front bottom view, photo: Jan Kříž Křemže - St. Voršila's chapel, left back view, photo: Jan Kříž

After setting a sort of order at a new graveyard came imporatant year: 1904, when was approved The graveyard system. For the village, which owned the graveyard it was signed by townsman J. Stožický. The graveyard system is very detailed and it includes such notes.: The graveyard is Roman Catholic. (It could not be another one during period of Austrian empire. For non catholic persons must be reserved a special place. It was in the right part of graveyard above the main road to a chapel. Also suicides must be buried separately. The graveyard was divided into rows, graves were numbered. System gives the figures for decoration of graves. Order maintains a sexton, who also cuts grass among graves. Smoking, walking with dogs, children playing, picking flowers and stepping on graves is prohibited. The burial can be carried out at least 48 hours after death and after the dead was inspected. At perimeter of graveyard was in 1904 built brick wall with pillars, old part over chapel was leveled with terrain.

Křemže - graves of legionnaires from WWI with ground from famous battlefields, photo: Jan Kříž Křemže - ground from famous battlefields of legionnaires from WWI: Doss Alto, Terron and Zborov, photo: Jan Kříž

In year 1937 were beside mortuary set area for graves of legionnaires from WWI, and into box was put ground from their famous battlefields: Doss Alto, Terron and Zborov. After WWII were buried here also two victims from May revolution 1945.

Křemže - granite pillar with Tuscan head from about 1700 by graveyard wall, photo: Jan Kříž Křemže - great main cross over St. Voršila's chapel, photo: Jan Kříž

Great, main cross over the graveyard chapel is present of ironmonger's in Adolfov (Holubov), its stone pedestal comes from quarry in Velešín. At the right side of graveyard gate is granite pillar with Tuscany capital, which comes from period around 1700. The date 1850 is into it carved newly. It stood probably by the entrance of old church, from where it was replaced here.

Křemže - graveyard with St. Voršila's chapel, photo: Jan Kříž

Further information :

St. Michal's church in Křemže
Religious history in region Český Krumlov
Religious objects in region Český Krumlov
Coat of arms in region Český Krumlov
Pilgrimages and religious places in region Český Krumlov
Castles, chateaux, monasteries and other monuments in region Český Krumlov
Microregion Podkletí - Picture guide
Microregion Podkletí

© Sdružení Oficiálního informačního systému Český Krumlov, 1999
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