St. Michael archangel's church in Křemže


Location :

 St. Michael archangel's church in Křemže, interior with main altar
Church of St. Michael archangel stays in the middle of town square and it is since the 16. Century center of town Křemže.

Origin of name :

The first written note about Křemže as a settlement comes from 1351. In year 1364 it is listed as Krzemz, in  1369 Krzemsa, in 1385 Krzemze and in year 1447 Křemže. Křemže is probably named after Křemežský brook, named by Celts due to kind of wild garlic, which grew on its banks. Origin of name can be also Slavic after quartz (=kremža), which could be found in brook.

History of object :

Church was probably built at the end of 13. Century. From archives of monastery in Zlatá Koruna can we read, that in year 1351 was serving here Theodoricus (pastor Dětrich). During the Hussite wars was in region Křemže taught the doctrine of Jan Hus, because Jan Smil of Křemže was his follower and it is probable,
Coat of arms of Častolars from Dlouhá Ves 
that to the vicarage were nominated equally thinking priests. As the first Catholic priest is listed in year 1568 vicar Georgius (Jiří). Several priest changed here, until the year 1596 when Jan Častolar (regent of Krumlov manor) sent to Křemže priests from Krumlov Jesuitical collage. In 17 Century were in Křemže often changing priests and the parish was also often administered by vicars from its vicinity. Improvement came in year 1678, when Chlumeček bought monastery Zlatá Koruna, by which he obtained right to install priests in vicarage. From this time until disestablishment of monastery by Josef II. in 1785 have been serving here the Cistercians.

>From later priests is important mainly native from Horažďovice Antonín Matějovský, who worked here since 1861 long 36 years and had his merit at establishing and keeping the parish chronicle. His merit at construction of present church has also P. Tomáš Pfauser, who served here as a chaplain in years 1865-1872 and then as a vicar from 1883 to 1899. At Křemže's graveyard are buried in one grave P. Jakub Kocábek "pilgrim from Jerusalem and Lourdes" and P. Josef Kníže, exemplary and respectable priest, persecuted and arrested by communistic regime. During his service was after long time started reparation of church, in which continued his follower P. František Hranáč.

Historic development of building :

Symbol of Křemže, originaly the coat of arms of Jan Smil from Křemže Křemže - St. Michael's church, family symbol of lords Dubenští from Chlum at rib vault
The oldest part of church is today's sacristy - original chapel probably from the end of 14. Century, to which was in 1470 built presbytary, till today preserved in its Gothic shape. It was during rule of the Dubenští lords from Chlum, as it proves their family coat of arms on vault. To this presbytary was in 1557 according to wish of Jan Častolar of Dlouhá Ves (first of Dubenští lords) added on the regular church. His follower Alexandr Častolar obtained in years 1609-1614 for church new altars and flat board ceiling. The church had two stone towers, on which were installed three very beautiful bells. Around the church was graveyard, according to description from 1678 surrounded by high wall.

Křemže, old church from year 1557, historic photo Křemže - St. Michael's church

Material covering the church's roof was after 100 years so poor, that truss and vault were damaged, specially vault over sacristy could not be better repaired and had to be replaced by new one.
Křemže - St. Michael's church, photo: Jan Kříž  
By this act was the sacristy unreparable damaged as it was actually an original chapel. It proves Gothic portal, which is an original entrance to the chapel from West (it is immured in place of today's electric control), immured rails of ribs in corners of sacristy and thick original Roman masonry. The past generations rather used name chapel instead of sacristy.

Church itself is long just 14,52 m and wide 8,84 m, so it was too small for growing number of parishioners. It was partly enlarged in 1826 by inner adaptation and by adding the room behind altar. But when in 1875 the ceiling of church begun to be so dangerous that it had to be supported, the negotiation about new church came to program.
 Křemže - St. Michael's church, tower from bottom view, photo: Jan Kříž
The building was started in 1885 and new church was consecrated on 23. October 1887. It is in pseudo-Gothic style, projected by Schwarzenberk architect. New church connected to original Gothic preserved presbytary has area 21 x 14,25 m.

Important cultural and architectonic details :

To history of Křemže wrote himself the first owner of manor Jan Častolar because he constructed St. Voršila's chapel in 1550 and in 1557 the new part of church. According to the list of monuments located in region Český Krumlov was on his tombstone written: "In 1560 at Tuesday before St. Spirit died nobleman Jan Czastolar of Dlouha Ves and at Chlum and is here buried. Let God have mercy with his soul." This tombstone is today located in room behind main altar on the right side (without inscription, which was tread down). It shows into granite nicely sculpted knight in the whole figure, who rests his right hand on shield with family coat of arms, left one holds a sword. BY his feet are iron gloves and helmet.

Křemže - St. Michael's church, entrance to sacristy, photo: Lubor Mrázek Křemže - St. Michael's church, tombstone of Jan Albrecht Častolar from Dlouhá Ves from year 1560, photo: Lubor Mrázek Křemže - St. Michael's church, tin font from year 1637 in front of side altar, photo: Lubor Mrázek

Opposite tombstone in this room belongs to Mariana Johanna Kořenská, wife of Lukáš Kořenský at Újezd. Readable is just date of hear death 20. April 1657. The other inscriptions are readable only partly. Totally unreadable is inscription at the tombstone placed on the ground of church near the South entrance. Remarkable is only a spool - symbol of Častolars family. From other buried are at list of monuments just Maruše from Brloh, loyal servant (or wife) of Jan Albrecht Častolar, who died on 25. April 1596 and was buried near the pulpit. In 1604 was buried here regent of Vilém of Rožmberk knight Častolar Dlouhoveský from Dlouhá Ves. Oldřich Častolar used to have here his own tombstone with inscription and date of death 21. July 1609. In 1631 was here buried Rudolf Častolar, son of Jindřich, in year 1643 Leopold Častolar (in crypt) and in same year his older brother Jindřich were buried between pulpit and first bench.

In front of side altar is tin font from year 1637 with Czech inscription, that it was obtained by Jan Albrecht Častolar.

When the church was rebuilt into today shape (1885 - 1887), the remains of the Častolars stored in coffins under the floor of church exhumed and placed into new coffins to new crypt in front of main altar during reverent ceremonies.

Křemže, interior of church, photo: Andreas Buchner
Created thanks to financial support of Phare and company Ipix.

Form original to new church were transported three bells. The greatest one, heavy 680 kg from year 1729 sooner located at belfry over the charnel-house, second smaller St. Michael, made in year of building of Častolar's church in
 Requistion of bells from Křemeže's church by Austrain army in year 1917, historic photo
year 1557 and the third one, heavy only 95 kg from year 1552 and was carried to this place from graveyard chapel of St. Voršila (it had a beautiful latin inscription, which is translated: Let God gives peace to our days, because we do not have it). At small tower over presbytary was installed knell of about 36 kg with unreadable Gothic inscription.

During WWI were taken away from church two bells, one from 1552, second from 1729. The great bell was because of easier removal by group of Austrian soldiers drilled, destroyed and in pieces let down. In 1926 were made from gifts of believers obtained new three bells. Bell Maria of 527 kg and perimeter 96 cm was made from gifts, two smaller ones were given to church by two families from Stupná and Mříčí.

But even these bells had to be given to Hitler for further war campaigns in March 1942. The greatest bell Maria was destroyed at tower into 45 pieces, in order to be easier removed. In June of the same year had to be given away also memorable Častolar's bell from 1557. It returned back after war, not as other three. Only the knell remains permanently in its tower till today, untouched by any regime, in order to say his last greeting to deceased on their way from this world - today as before decades and centuries.

Křemže - St. Michael's church, interior, view from choir, photo: Lubor Mrázek Křemže - St. Michael's church, detail of altar with picture of church's patron, photo: Lubor Mrázek

Visitor of church is attracted by main altar with interesting painting of archangel Michael. This painting was made by native from Hluboká Rudolf Vácha, court painter of the Schwarzenberks. He studied art school in Wiena, then in Paris, where he obtained skills in portraits and figure painting. Some of his paintings are exhibited in chateaux and galleries around Paris. St. Michael - victor over devil, is introduced here as symbol of victory of light over darkness, good over evil, symbol of truth and justice, which can not be defeated by evil forces. The main figure of angel makes vertical axe of painting. St. Michael is dressed into black armor, which partly covers his robe. By this is the angel shown as protector of good, love and morality, symbolized by pink color. His left hand is resting - the fight is over, right one with fire sword points at satan, which is also hold by St. Michael's right leg in the dust. Over the right arm of angel into a center of painting comes ray of light, which crosses body of satan - eternal fight of two worlds. Model for archangel Michael was Miss Texl, actress of Minchen Rezidenztheatr, model of satan was Italian singer Nigris.

Křemže - St. Michael's church, view form choir and organs, photo: Lubor Mrázek Křemže - St. Michael's church, Coat of arms of Josef Adam of Schwarzenberk, detail, photo: Lubor Mrázek

Cruciform way with 14 stops from year 1860 is also from original church.

Křemže - St. Michael's church, main altar, photo: Lubor Mrázek Křemže - St. Michael's church, interier, photo: Lubor Mrázek

Visitor can in church inspect together 10 statues. Six of them are located on inner slopes, rest four are part of side altars.

Křemže - St. Michael's church, statue - St. František of Assisi, photo: Lubor Mrázek Křemže - St. Michael's church, statue - St. Antonín Paduánský  
Almost all statues come from craft work of brothers Bušeks in Sychrov. It shows (from front row) St. František of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order and known for his love to live beings. Beside him stays St. Antonín Paduánský, Franciscan monk with great ability to talk to people's soul. His second name comes from place where he died - Northitalian Padova.

 Křemže - St. Michael's church, statue - St. Terezie, photo: Lubor Mrázek Křemže - St. Michael's church, statue - St. Kateřina Alexandrijská
On central pillar in right is St. Terezie, saint living in 19. Century, who was always close to common and poor people. Beside her can we see St. Kateřina Alexandrijská, who convinced about her belief the whole assembly of the most serious scientists.

Last two pillars are carrying statues of St. Josef - foster father of Jesus and Maiden Marie Lurdská, whose revelations appeared in France during 50's of 19 Century.

Křemže - St. Michael's church, statue - St. Josef, photo: Lubor Mrázek Křemže - St. Michael's church, statue - Maiden Marie Lurdská, photo: Lubor Mrázek  
At the right side altar in right stays statue of St. Florián, patron of firemen. Statues of this saint decorated many niches of local farms, in region Křemže was St. Florián very popular after great fire in 1840. St. Linhart (also St. Leonard) from left side was in this agricultural land very popular too as a patron of cattle.

Left side altar. On it are located two of our the most popular saints - St. Jan Nepomucký and St. Vojtěch. St. Jan Nepomucký is known for his martyred death, caused by king Václav IV. Beside him stays St. Vojtěch, second bishop of Prague from Slavníkovci tribe, friend of emperor Otta III. and Boleslav Chrabrý, fearless missionary who rebuked idols, what caused him death in northern Poland.

Křemže - St. Michael's church, left side altar, photo: Lubor Mrázek Křemže - St. Michael's church, right side altar, photo: Lubor Mrázek

All statues come from the first decades of 20 Century, they are made from wood and colored. Even they are not historic monuments, they are worth inspection.

Křemže - St. Michael's church, on the left St. Voršila's chapel, in the right new coty council, photo: Jan Kříž Křemže - St. Voršila's chapel, in background St. Michael's church, photo: Jan Kříž

Plan of town Křemže from year 1828:
1.Old vicarage stood (before fire in 1840) about 8 m in front of other houses.
2.Old school was built by monastery in Zlatá Koruna in 1784 as patron of Křemže's church. Schools were mainly clerical.
3.Belfry and charnel-house
4. a 5. These houses burnt down in 1840 and new farms were built here with the same No.s: Fidral over Linhoušeks, Kourus at the end of Křemže (today scrap yard).
6.New school
7.At the place of old smithy stays building of Mr. Sklář
8.Old church rebuilt in 1887
9.Chapel behind garden belonging to family Mašeks
Plan of town Křemže from year 1828

Further information :

St. Voršila's chapel in Křemže
Religious history in region Český Krumlov
Religious objects in region Český Krumlov
Coat of arms in region Český Krumlov
Pilgrimages 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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