Horní Vilémovice - Kralice nad Oslavou

Horní Vilémovice - Kralice nad Oslavou

Horní Vilémovice lies in an area of the Křižanov Hills, approximately in the middle of the way between Třebíč and Velké Meziříčí. The municipality at an altitude of 590 metres above sea level has around 80 inhabitants. Since the year 1360 it was owned by Vít of Vilímovice and in the 16th century it was a part of Třebíč domain. The fate of Vilémovice is connected with the fate of the Unity of Brethren. The Protestant tradition has deep roots here. Some of the Protestant families (Jaš family) have been living here for more than 400 years.

In the year 1784 a Reformed congregation was established in Horní Vilémovice in which the Protestants from the whole surroundings used to meet. A toleration house of prayer was built in the years 1784–1788. It was a simple rectangle building with small doors and with a shingled hipped roof. Later it was equipped with a pulpit, fence around the Lord’s table, font and benches. The organ for the choir was provided as late as in 1902. In that year a tower with a clock and bells was as well added. In such a condition, after not so many alterations, the house of prayer has been kept until now.

The original rectory was built just next to the house of prayer. In the year 1933 a nice modern rectory in the middle of the garden was built in the village which serves as a congregation house, winter house of prayer as well as a flat for a preacher.

The preaching station in Kralice nad Oslavou is very important for the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) thanks to the Unity of Brethren. Its members were very conscious about education and in the places where they worked they also usually established schools. In the years 1575–1620 such a school was in Ivančice. One of the most significant representatives of the Unity of Brethren was a bishop Jan Blahoslav who established a famous Brethren printing house in Ivančice in the year 1557. Its fate is closely connected with Kralice, today’s preaching station of Horní Vilémovice.

Kralice was mentioned for the first time in the year 1310. Kralice fortress was built sometime at the beginning of the 15th century and during the 1540s it was rebuilt into a smaller Renaissance castle. In the year 1572 the owners of the castle sold it to Jan of Žerotín, the senior, who already owned a neighbouring domain of Náměšť nad Oslavou. Kralice castle was destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War, Kralice remained a part of Náměšť domain.

When Rudolph II issued his Anti-religious novelties in Moravia Mandate in 1577 (which was also a case of the Unity of Brethren), Jan of Žerotín received its members at the Kralice fortress. The printing house from Ivančice as well as the Brethren library was moved here and a unique work could continue, the final result of which was a Czech translation of a Bible, famous Kralice Bible (in the years 1579–1594).

For more than forty years the members of the Unity of Brethren could work here and print their books under the patronage of the Žerotíns. After the Battle of the White Mountain the printing was moved from security reasons to Náměšť castle. And in 1628 when also Karel of Žerotín, senior, had to leave the country, the printing was moved to Lešno in Poland.

Today, we can find valuable memories of this period in the Kralice Bible Memorial, there is also a memorial in the main square and the Church of St. Martin also reminds us of a famous Kralice Bible. The archaeological research in Kralice has still been on progress.