The Benedictine Monastery and Church of Our Lady at Slovany (THE EMAUZY ABBEY)
NATIONAL CULTURAL MONUMENT
The monastery was established in 1347 by Charles IV. To it he summoned Benedictine monks from Croatia who used Slavic liturgy, thereby renewing the old Czech Christian tradition maintained at one time at the Sázava Monastery. The monastery got its name Emmaus, near which Jesus Christ appeared to the apostles after his resurrection. The gospel describing the event is read every Easter Monday, and that is the day – 29 March 1372 – on which the monastery church was consecrated.
The monastery soon became a centre of learning and its writing shop created works of high value. The surviving wall paintings on the walls of the cloister are among the most significant Gothic sights of their kind in Europe. The cycle from 1360 – 1370 is the work of three Gothic painters: Mikuláš Wurmser, the anonymous Master of the Emmaus Cycle, and Master Osvald.
During the Hussite wars, Slovany housed the only Calixting monastery in the country. It was the home, for example, of the famous English reformer Master Petr Payne. The administrator was Řehoř, who former founded the Union of Brethren. In subsequent years, the monastery declined – the last abbot married the daughter of a pub owner and established a pub, a shooting range, and a skittle alley at the monastery. The angered Emperor Rudolf II then again entrusted Emauzy to the Catholic Church.
After White Mountain, the monastery went to Spanish Benedictines, who rebuilt it in the Baroque style. At that time, two towers were added to the church. The monks only returned to the Slavic liturgy during the First Republic, which, however, caused the abolition of the monastery after the arrival of Nazi occupants. When Prague was bombed in 1945, the monastery suffered serious damage: the towers burned down and were then replaced by modern ones in the 1960s.
The monastery grounds also include a Baroque Chapel of St. Cosmas and Damian, built in 1657, perhaps on the site of an old parish church (of the same name) of the Podskalí settlement, which was first mentioned in 1178.