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The history of the Hajek Friary

This place of pilgrimages was founded in 1623 by Earl Florian Jetřich Žďárský, the imperial chamberlain and the high court marshal, in gratitude for his prayers for a male hair being answered. There was a chapel built first based on the model of the Holy House of Loreto in Italy. From there the Earl and his wife brought a statue of Madonna which was sanctified by a touch with the original.

Madonna of Loretto

Madonna of Loretto

The Holy House was at the beginning taken care of by a hermit who lived for 35 years next to the chapel. František Adam Eusebius, the Earl´s male hair, was looking after the place with a grate care. In 1659 he founded a friary for twelve Franciscans. He spent most of his time in the friary and that´s where he also died. His body, clothed in franciscan habit, was burried in St. Vitus cathedral, however his heart was according to his wish burried in the Holy House in Hajek.



 A place where the heart of Earl Eusebius is burriedA place where the heart of Earl Eusebius is burried. In 1716 there was a marble stone placed with latin inscription

The Holy House in Hajek soon became a favourite place of pilgrimages. Based on the testimony form archbishop´s chancery in 1772 Hajek was annually visited by 60. 000 pilgrims. Pilgrims were also granted to obtain indulgencies and many miracles happened here.

The Second World War effected the sanctuary nevertheless the Franciscan order was not abolished nor was abolished the friary in Hajek. The end of war and yearning to restore Czechoslovakia was not fulfilled. In 1948 communist party won elections and this started off persecution of the Church. The friary in Hajek became a prison for young clerics from various religious orders and from 1951 it served as a prison for priests.

In 1953 the friary was turned to ammunition warehouse - a place strictly watched by Czechoslovakian army.

In 1993 the friary was returned to the Franciscan order in terrible condition. Since then Franciscan order is restoring the friary at their own expense. Much work have been done however the buildings are not back yet to the original condition.



Courtyard in front of the Holy HouseCourtyard in front of the Holy House


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