November 2015 - Celebrations at the Church of St. Nicholas in Petrovice, Úst í nad Labem, North Bohemia
On Saturday 14.11.2015 Petrovice celebrated an event that the community had been waiting for, for decades. Twenty-seven years ago, after an inadequate repair, the roof of the building collapsed and the church was facing oblivion. The authorities considered razing it to the ground. However, the many changes that came about within a year of 1988 made a real difference. The Roman Catholic Church gave the property to the village and from then on local enthusiasts and their association for preservation of old traditions took over.
The church continued to be used, even without the roof, to stage local events, and a campaign to raise funds for restoration, including a national collection, was launched. The Friends of Czech Heritage was impressed by the efforts of the local community and contributed a grant to the conservation of three memorial stained glass windows that remained in the presbytery. Originally installed in 1908, they were designed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the accession of the Emperor Franz Joseph. The local community responded positively to the Friends’ involvement in the project, which gained new supporters, volunteers and a grant from the district government and the Ministry of Culture.
In 2015 the vision of a renovated church started to materialise. The regional programme for North-West Bohemia included the revitalisation of the village of Petrovice within its remit, and a new roof for the Church of St Nicholas became an integral part of the programme.
The unique construction of a new glass roof means that the residents of Petrovice continue meeting under the stars, but this time under cover, in a place of good will that serves the community.
The Friends are impressed and delighted with the success of the Petrovice enthusiasts and wish them all the success for the future.
Photos copyright Jiřina Bischoffiová