01 Jul 2024 - 29 Sep 2024
The crypt of Olomouc Cathedral
Relikviář sv. Kříže - Nástavec s reliéfem Krista Salvátora a relikvií sv. Kříže, 1680-1685 Augsburg, dřevo, stříbro
Relikviář sv. Kříže - Nástavec s reliéfem Krista Salvátora a relikvií sv. Kříže, 1680-1685 Augsburg, dřevo, stříbro

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of an important figure in the history of Moravia, Bishop Charles II of Lichtenstein-Castelcorn (1624-1695): he came from the Tyrolean family of the Counts of Lichtenstein-Castelcorn, which in his parents’ generation also settled in Moravia. Originally a canon of the Salzburg chapter, he also became dean of the chapter when he was elected bishop of Olomouc in 1664. He served in this capacity until his death in 1695, more than thirty years. His long episcopate, as well as his economic prowess in managing the Moravian church estates (the Olomouc bishopric was the only one in Moravia and part of Silesia at that time), enabled this aristocratic shepherd to put a new face on the Olomouc bishopric. This is well illustrated by the quotation of the Olomouc priest Francis X. Richter from the beginning of the 19th century introducing a small jubilee exhibition: “Even if all were silent, the very stones would proclaim his praise, for after the destruction by the Swedes he found the bishopric as a brick building, and left it as a noble marble edifice.”

These words can certainly be applied to the heart of the Olomouc diocese, its cathedral. Bishop Charles systematically devoted himself to its repair and decoration. The presbytery and the crypt below it were completed in 1661, shortly before Lichtenstein’s accession to the Olomouc episcopal see, but the bishop had the opportunity to decorate the presbytery. The bishop also tied part of his canonical income to his attendance at services in the cathedral church, particularly in 1685 and 1690. In addition, he divided the services according to the types of feast days into those reserved for the principal residential prelates of the chapter.

Thus, the selection of objects in this exhibition focuses on the bishop as the organizer of the liturgy, as evidenced by the liturgical books he published, and on the one who took meticulous care of the liturgy in his cathedral, as evidenced by the liturgical vestments and objects. The printing of the famous treatise “Monitorium sive Instructio brevis” (Reminder or short instructions for diocesan deans and parish priests of the Diocese of Olomouc) is an indication of the organization of the life of the entire Diocese of Olomouc according to clear principles.

Evaluation of F. X. Richter, which has already been quoted here, could certainly be applied by the bishop, who died on 23 September 1695, to himself. It could even be said that he was satisfied with himself at the end of his life, even though he had not yet seen the fruits of his “work” and could not enjoy them.

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