A small town of Libštát spreads out on both banks of a tiny river Oleška. It was already mentioned in 1322. Since 1525 it has already been called a small town. Today’s population is about 1,013 and it is a part of a microregion of Pojizeří. There has been a very strong Protestant tradition. In the period of persecution the Protestants met secretly in their homes and thus resisted the forced recatholization. After the proclamation of the Patent of Toleration by Joseph II in 1781 the majority of Protestants (117 families) professed the Helvetian (Reformed) Confession, several families chose the Lutheran Confession.
The construction of a house of prayer was not long in coming. It was simple, otherwise it would not have been allowed. It had to stand at the edge of the village, it was not allowed to have a tower or decorative windows. It was built in a Neo-Classicist style and is beautiful in its simplicity. It has served since 1787 until now. On the original wooden doors we can read a biblical text: “Behold! Judge Standeth before the Door!“ and the year 1786 – when the construction of the church started.
Soon, the congregation house next to the church was built; this was in 1789. The cemetery was founded in 1856; and it is owned by the congregation until now but it is maintained by the municipality. The former local minister Slavomil Daněk, who left in 1921 for Prague to the newly established Hus Theological Faculty, is buried here. He became a distinguished Professor of the Old Testament.
The families of the Augsburg Confession belonged to the closest Lutheran congregation located in Křížlice. Believers gathered in families, sometimes they also used a house of prayer of the Helvetian Confession. Only in 1838 they were allowed to build their own house of prayer in the hill above a small river Oleška. Their church was consecrated in 1842, later a wooden belfry for three bells (donated from Dresden) was added and a cemetery was founded.
After the establishment of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) in 1918, both congregations joined into one and now the Divine service is given only in a house of prayer which was originally built for believers of the Helvetian Confession. The former Lutheran house of prayer slowly dilapidates and the cemetery does not fulfil its purpose, either. There is however effort to keep and preserve it. The house of prayer with a belfry and with the cemetery is now a protected site and in 2001 it was declared a cultural monument.
Preaching station in Spálov, a small village near Železný Brod also belongs to the congregation in Libštát. In 1888 the Protestants of the Augsburg Confession built here a chapel which served to the 80th of the last century; but later it was devastated and it should have been demolished. However after 1989 it was rescued by the local enthusiasts and cottagers (painter Vladimír Veselý founded a music and art festival “Indian Summer of Spálov“ which became a famous cultural event over the years and which is also supported by a town of Semily). Since 1995 the Divine service has been given in the chapel again.
Let us also remember a protected tree near Spálov chapel – 200 years old lime.