Kovánec (Kowantez)

Kovánec (Kowantez)

It is almost impossible to find Kovánec on the map. The village lies about 10 km westwards of Mladá Boleslav, 300 metres above sea level and there are only 125 inhabitants. The closest post office is in Skalsko. The first written report about the settlement is from the year 1546.

People in Kovánec and its surroundings supported the Hussites and they had knowledge of the Unity of Brethren. After the year 1620 counter-Reformation was as hard there as anywhere else, nevertheless, secret Protestants survived. They gave spiritual support to each other; moreover, they secretely managed to get and keep in touch with Czech exiles as far as from Zittau. After the declaration of the Toleration Patent in the year 1781 they espoused to the Augsburg confession and in the beginning they belonged to the congregation in far away Habřina.

In August 1785 the congregation finally went independent. The first services used to be in barns or in homes; but the desire for their own tabernacle was so strong that already in April 1786 there was a ceremonial service of laying the foundation stone and on the 3rd of September of the same year there was the first service in the new house of prayer. The simple oblong structure had a Baroque gable and the interior according to the toleration guidelines.The original rectory was built in the year 1792 and simultaneously the Protestant cemetery was founded there.

In the year 1875 Kovánec congregation was afflicted by a disaster – the house of prayer was stricken by a lightning and it was not possible to retrive it. The congregation, however, did not give up and decided to build a new church in a Neo-Romanesque style. In the front, a tetragonal tower was erected and happened to be consecrated sooner than the church, which was ceremonially opened on the 7th of September 1884. Inside there was a pulpit in the style of Second Rococo, created by carpenter M. Wittmayer. In the year 1869 a new rectory was built. Nearby there was a little barn for wood and hay, which used to be very important in the hard beginnings of toleration churches. Ministers often had to do some farming themselves so that they could earn their living. Such barns can still be found in some former toleration complexes.

In spite of the congregation’s devotion, the church slowly delapidated so its demolition was considered. Nevertheless, in the year 2000 the decision was made to keep it and nowadays the church in Kovánec serves its spiritual purpose again.