Krabčice (Krabschitz)

Krabčice (Krabschitz)

In a fertile region of the Elbe river, at the northern foothill of the mountain Říp there is a village of Krabčice (268 metres above sea level, less than 900 inhabitants). The mountain Říp inseparably belongs to the village: isolated, lonely, 460 metres high basalt hill with St. George’s Romanesque rotunda on its top is a national cultural monument. No wonder: Říp has been emblazoned in legends since a long time ago. It has been a silent witness to the joyful as well as mournful events over the centuries, it was glorified by poets, it was an inspiration for painters. One of the foundation stones of the National theatre was taken from here, soil from memorable battle-fields was put here.

But let’s return to Krabčice: a history of the village is closely linked to the fate of the Czech Protestants. In the period before the Battle of the White Mountain the whole Říp region was predominantly Protestant. During the counter-
-Reformation after the year 1620 Krabčice remained the most important village of the Czech Brethren.After the Proclamation of the Toleration Patent in 1781 a Reformed congregation was formed in Krabčice and believers of the Augsburg Confession settled in a neighbouring Libkovice where they built a church (it was the first Protestant church with a tower and bell in Bohemia) in 1855.

The original traditional toleration house of prayer was built in Krabčice in 1790. A rectory and a school belonged to it. In the course of time believers were not satisfied with their small house of prayer and they decided to construct a bigger church. From far away visible church (it is also called Podřipská Cathedral) was built in 1885 in a Neo-Classicist style. It has 40 metres high tower and four bells. Preachers from Slovakia originally served in the congregation in Krabčice.

The greatest spiritual development of the congregation came in 1870s under the influence of a minister Václav Šubert and Jan Karafiát who served as a vicar in Roudnice nad Labem. Their work was not limited to their own congregations only but it was truly a missionary work in the “Northern diaspora“, for example in Louny, Trnovany near Teplice or in Krásné Březno near Ústí nad Labem. In all these places the Protestant congregations were gradually being established.

Another important act of Václav Šubert was the foundation of a church educational institute for girls in Krabčice in 1869. Today it serves as a House for Seniors which is in the care of the Diaconia of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB).

Although the congregation in Krabčice was gradually getting smaller (the tragedy was a forced collectivization of agriculture in the 1950s), nowadays it is a live congregation and it tries to take care of the buildings which they are in charge of. There is a close relation between the House for Seniors and the congregation. Worth mentioning is also the ecumenical open meeting of the Christians with an impressive title ”A Prayer for Home“ which is organized by the Ecumenical Council of Churches always on the 28th October.