Horní Dubenky (Ober Dubenky)

Horní Dubenky (Ober Dubenky)

Horní Dubenky (600 metres above sea level, about 600 inhabitants) lies north of the Javořice Highland with the highest mountain Javořice (836 metres) which is at the same time the highest mountain of the Vysočina Region. It this remote region with a relatively high altitude where the river Jihlava rises, the villages were being established in the 13th century in a so called “big colonization wave“. One of these villages was also Horní Dubenky. The centre of the region was Janštejn castle which was owned by Jindřich of Hradec since 1383. The castle was probably damaged during the Hussite wars. The rest of the castle can still be found in the forest near Horní Dubenky. Later Horní Dubenky was a part of the Telč domain. In 1423 a Hussite group led by Jan Hvězda of Vicemilice was attacked by the mercenaries of Menhart of Hradec. The rest of the 15th century was a relatively calm period of agricultural and crafts development. The glass production near Janštejn was mentioned in this connection. But the post-White-Mountain period became one of the most difficult periods in the history of the region.

The Emperor’s army was destroying villages and countryside. The Swedes were fighting here as well. A period of the religious persecution followed. In the region where the Czech Reformation lasted for years, the recatholization was particularly strong. It was carried out by the Jesuits from Telč as well as from Jindřichův Hradec. At the banks of the lakes the forbidden books were being burnt. The secret Protestants used to meet near the Lord’s Well at the foothill of Javořice but even here they were being attacked. They used to meet also in Zahrádky u Brchaňů or in the mill on Doubrava.

As soon as the news about the Toleration Patent arrived to Horní Dubenky, they went to Telč with a request to establish a congregation. But they were refused because a congregation of the Augsburg confession had just been established in a nearby Velká Lhota. Nevertheless, the villagers from Horní Dubenky did not give up their effort. They contacted Emperor Joseph II directly. Eventhough, there were not enough of them according to the Toleration Patent rules, on the 6th of November 1783 the Emperor issued the Supreme Decree based on which he gave a permission to establish an independent congregation of the Augsburg confession in Horní Dubenky.

The beginnings of the poor congregation were hard. The land for a construction of a rectory, cemetery and a house of prayer was only leased. The construction of the house of prayer started in April 1786 and already in October in the same year the first worship was served there. Unlike the other toleration houses of prayer in the Vysočina region, this one has a brick vault instead of a wooden ceiling. A pulpit, a stone floor as well as a choir with an organ were added later. The small tower comes from the year 1857. At the beginning of the 20th century a new rectory and farm buildings were built. During the 50s of the last century the considerable repairs were done. A new hall was added to the rectory. The hall was given a name of Pavel F. Lanštják, a long term significant preacher, to whose memory a memorial plaque was dedicated. A cemetery was established already in the year 1782. Today a nice alley leads to the cemetery and we can find there tombstones of the first preachers.

The year 1989 brought a new challenge also for the Horní Dubenky congregation. Open air gatherings are being held; every fourth Sunday in August there is a worship near the Lord’s Well to commemorate the persecuted Protestants. And every year Master Jan Hus is being remembered at the bank of the Borský Lake near the so called “Žižka’s Stone”, a Hussite battle memorial which can be found on the way to Janštejn.

In the summer months an annual meeting with a title “Parrésia alias Heart Paradise and Labyrinth of the World” is being held here to present an interconnection of evangelium and culture.