Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Photos of Saint John Nepomuk Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint John Nepomuk Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri. It was formerly a Czech language parish, and became a chapel in 2005.  Masses are offered daily.

This church is in what was once known as the Bohemian Hill neighborhood, and is the mother parish of the other former Czech church, Saint Wenceslaus. The chapel is located about 1-½ miles southwest of the Old Cathedral in downtown Saint Louis.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - exterior

The church is in the greater Soulard neighborhood, but is cut off from the other areas by Interstate 55, giving this church a rather small natural territory. It is surrounded by historic homes and structures, including the former City Hospital, now converted into the Georgian Condominiums.

There is a tremendous amount of redevelopment near the chapel, and the City has finally reversed its population decline that started in the 1950s. Perhaps due to the very poor state of the local government schools, the city tends to attract mainly "urban hipsters" who are unlikely to bear children. While this situation does not appear to be favorable for a revitalization of the city's Catholic churches, it is however excellent mission territory.

This building dates from 1909, and replaced the former church destroyed by the Great Cyclone of 1896, which killed hundreds in Saint Louis, Missouri and East Saint Louis, Illinois.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - door

Center door into the chapel.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - nave

This was at one time one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese.

The region of Bohemia is roughly the middle and western thirds of the current Czech Republic, and was known by the Romans as Boiohaemum, or home of the Boii, a Celtic tribe. Germans migrated into the area in the 1st century B.C., and Slavs in 6th century A.D., becoming the ancestors of modern-day Czechs.

In 1415, the Bohemian Jan Hus, a university rector, was burned as a heretic; his followers, the Hussites, became a powerful proto-Protestant group. The extreme liberalism of the Hussites is what gives us the modern use of the word 'Bohemian' describing those, especially artists and writers, who are informal and socially unconventional. The religious reforms of the Hussites led to the near self-destruction of their church, leading to a strong Catholic minority in a liberal secular nation.

Bohemian immigration to Saint Louis started after the revolutions of 1848; both Catholics and secularists moved here and tended to have nothing to do with each other. The new immigrants from Europe dramatically changed the political character of the State of Missouri in the years leading up to the American Civil War. What was once a solidly Southern state suddenly had a tremendous number of Unionists. The secularists tended to be pro-Northern, while the Catholics tended to be pro-Southern while also wanting to remain in the Union.

The Czech and Slovak languages are mutually intelligible, and so in the late 19th century, this parish also served Slovaks. Starting in 1894, the Eastern rite of Divine Liturgy was offered here for Ruthenian, Lemko, and Ukrainian Catholics. In the early 20th century, Hungarian immigrants were served from this parish, until they were given Saint Mary of Victories. Likewise, Poles and Lithuanians attended this church until they too got their own churches.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - sanctuary

The sanctuary as seen from the choir loft. This photo was taken after Mass on Good Friday, while parishioners were decorating the chapel for Easter.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - sanctuary window

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - reredos

Detail of reredos, as it was being decorated for Easter.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Sacred Heart of Jesus Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Saint John Nepomuk

Sacred Heart of Jesus and Saint John Nepomuk (ca. 1340 - March 20th, 1393). Saint John refused to reveal the Queen's confession to the King, which ultimately led to his execution. He is also known as John Nepomucene, John son of Wölflin (or Welflin), or John of Pomuk, and is the Martyr of the Confessional.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Painting of an angel with a thurible, in the sanctuary

Painting of an angel with a thurible, in the sanctuary.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - crucifix

Crucifix in sanctuary.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Blessed Charles I of Austria

Beatus Carolus E Domo Austriae. Blessed Charles I (August 17th, 1887 – April 1st, 1922), last Emperor of Austria, and last King of Bohemia and Hungary. His brief reign is noted for his observance of Catholic social teachings. After defeat in the Great War, his Catholic empire was broken up by the victorious allies into smaller secular republics. He died penniless on the Portuguese island of Madeira, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Saint Wenceslaus Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Saint Ludmila

Svatý Václav and Svatý Ludmila.

Saint Wenceslaus (907 - ca. 929), King of Bohemia, and his grandmother, Saint Ludmila (ca. 860 - 921); both are patrons of Bohemia.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Saint King Louis IX

Svatý Ludvik, or Saint Louis, King of France.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Stations of the Cross in the Czech language

Stations of the Cross in the Czech language:
Simon pomáhá Ježíši kříž nésti.
Veronika podává Bánu Ježíši roušku.

Simon helps Jesus carry the cross.
Veronica gives Jesus her veil.

Jan Hus introduced diacritical marks to the written Czech language.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - side of nave Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - stained glass window

A view to the side of the church, showing a confessional; and a stained glass window.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - A view down the side-aisle towards the choir loft

A view down the side-aisle towards the choir loft.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - painting

Painting just inside the center front door:
Pojdte Ke mnĕ všicKni Kteří pracujete obtíženi jste, a já vás občerstvím.
Mat. 11.28
Nic zlého sem nevcházej! Klem. Alex.

"Come to me all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you.", Matthew 11:28
The quote from Saint Clement of Alexandria seems to be saying something like "Evil stay out of here."

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Holy Face of Jesus

Holy Face of Jesus.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - nave

View from the choir loft; note the pulpit, topped by a statue of Saint Michael.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - angel holy water font

Holy water font in narthex.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - View of choir loft and organ

View of choir loft and organ.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - painting

COME, THOU SANCTIFIER AND BLESS THIS SACRIFICE (HOLY MASS)

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Plaques of priests of the parish

Plaques of priests of the parish.

Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - cornerstone

HESSOUNŮV SIROTČINEC
POD OCHRANOU
SV. JANA NEPOMUCKÉHO
A.D. 1909

"under the protection of
Saint John Nepomuk"


Saint John Nepomuk Roman Catholic Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - sign

ST. JOHN
NEPOMUK CHAPEL

1ST Czech
Catholic Church
In America
FOUNDED IN 1854