Rainbows and Rosa Coeli

What to do on Boxing Day? Take a trip to Dolní Kounice to see the Convent ruins of Rosa Coeli and feel the energies there? Yes! It wouldn’t be open I knew but we could still take a peek so off we went to the Jihlava valley south of Brno to visit the Rosa Ceoli Convent.

 

 

It was a beautiful but very cold day when we arrived. The Convent was closed and won’t be open it seems until April which was not unexpected but a tad disappointing. The Convent ruins are remarkably intact and you can pretty much walk around the outside of it – which is what we did – detecting some energies in one direction that will be investigated further another day. The convent stands under the castle and by the shore of the Jihlava river and an old mill.

 

Coat of Arms – Rosa Coeli

 

Entrance Rosa Coeli

 

 

I have extracted some information about the convent and had it google translated at the bottom of the post.

With the Convent being closed, we walked through the village and towards the white chapel of St. Anthony on the hill top over the other side of the river that had caught my attention last time. As we reached the marked footpath to the top of the hill, the first station of the cross emerged in somebodies back yard!

After a while, the climb became quite steep and windy with gusts of a cold wind howling across the hill. Periodically, there was another station of the cross to examine.

 

Reaching the top, there are stunning views of the town, the river valley and Rosa Coeli below.

 

The church as expected, was locked but it is a rather recent building it seems dating from around 1750. The original wooden chapel dates back just another 100 years according to information on the site. It is only opened for the annual pilgrimage in June. I suspect an older presence on that hill but so far, cannot find any documented evidence of it.

The hilltop is a beautiful peaceful place high above the hub hub of the town below and I can well imagine that it has been a place of meditation and worship for many centuries. The wind truly whipped around us with intermittent rain and sleet even though the skies were blue in some areas. I had a feeling that the afternoon was one for rainbows and we kept looking to see if we could see any – facing away from the sun. However, it wasn’t until we had descended and walked back to the car that we were rewarded with a magnificent vision of a full double rainbow over the hilltop chapel. Somehow, I had expected this – seeing it in my mind on the hilltop – and, I took it as a sign that the afternoon was well spent.

 

 

 

Chapel of St. Anthony – taken from site website and translated by Google

Chapel of st. Antonín as a wooden building was built in 1654. One hundred years later it was replaced by a brick building, because it was not enough for a large number of pilgrims. The cost of the construction was paid by Prince Charles Maxmilián of Dietrichstein. The chapel was built by the Brno architect František Antonín Grimm, who lived between 1710 and 1784. This Baroque builder and architect designed, for example, the Zábrdovice chateau and the chateau in Napajedla. He is buried with his father in the Capuchin tomb in Brno. According to his project, a chateau in Kupařovice was also built. He was the court builder of the princes of Dietrichstein at the time. The chapel building has a large domed dome and three entrances – the main and two side.

As stated in the Deed of Foundation of 30 April 1654, its construction was initiated by the Lower-Bohemian citizens in honor of the patrons of St. Antonín Padovánského and st. Florian… “to intercede for the people who suffer from various fires and floods every year”. The surrounding villages Pravlov, Němčičky, Kupařovice, Malešovice, Odrovice and others from the Kounice princely estate contributed to the construction.

Chapels – individual stops of the Stations of the Cross – were built sometime in the early 19th century. In 1899, cast-iron sculptures, each weighing fifty kilograms, were taken from Blansko to individual stops. Originally there were pictures of the old Stations of the Cross from the church by the river, which was demolished after the flood in 1862. The old paintings from the stop went unknown where.

In 1948 the chapel, damaged by war events, was repaired. Another overhaul began in 2013. Work began with cutting trees and since July, the main work on the roof. The reconstruction of the chapel continued in 2015 with the reconstruction of the facade.

The traditional pilgrimage to St. Anthony takes place every year in June. The chapel is owned by the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Rosa Coeli Convent History taken from site website and translated by Google
In 1181 Vilém of Kounice invited Gotšalka, abbot in the Želiv Monastery, who had considerable experience in building monasteries. They advised on the construction of the future monastery in Kounice and together they probably chose a place for future construction. They were chosen in such a way that it would remain hidden from the sight of those coming from the South Moravian plain and hidden in the river’s bend to the south by a hill where a huge castle was later built.

Two years later the monastery was built. It was most likely only the wooden buildings of the convent and the oratory, which were taken as temporary. Stone buildings usually started much later. To this day, extensive remains of a Romanesque stone church have been preserved in the peripheral masonry of the western and northern cloisters.

In October 1183 it was occupied by nuns from the Louňovice monastery in Bohemia. The data are historically substantiated, so they are the first real evidence of the existence of Dolní Kounice. Although it is not mentioned anywhere in the name of Rosa coeli and this name appears in the 15th century, it is clear that the monastery was consecrated to the Virgin Mary from the beginning. The Church also calls the Virgin Mary “Rose of Heaven” – in Latin Rosa coeli.

Monastery around 1400
In the 14th century the monastery complex was significantly rebuilt. The Romanesque basilica was replaced by a much larger Gothic church, with a new cloister in the north. It is a preserved ruin with exposed masonry, on which it is possible to follow the progress of construction relatively well and thus determine its relative chronology.

After the death of the Provost Count John VI. from Althan in 1517 Martin Göschel joined. This ambitious priest converted to the Lutheran faith in 1521 and even took one of the Kounice nuns as his wife, believing that the time was good enough for him to achieve his great goals. According to his model, the other nuns were supposed to lead a life of allegation. All of this resulted in the suspension of the Bishop of Olomouc and King Louis of Jagiellon issued an expulsion order, but Göschel ignored it and remained in the monastery until 1526. All of this resulted in the growing anger of the subjects of the monastery. Meanwhile, Ferdinand I of Habsburg, who many believed to be tolerant of non-Catholic churches and who would more easily break through with him, joined the Czech throne. So did Göschel, who, after retiring to the Baptists in Mikulov, was called by Ferdinand to Prague. Göschel came here, but the ruler had him imprisoned, interrogated by the suffering and only his intercession was saved by the intercession of some nobility, who had not been burned alive, but was handed over to the intercession by the Olomouc bishop Stanislav Pavlovský. He had Göschla imprisoned again and finally Göschel dies in prison.

Meanwhile, the other eleven nuns chose John as the new provost, but the scandalous life he had led in the monastery led the surrounding population to assault the monastery. The nuns ran across the kingdom and the temple was partly devastated and dishonored. After the nuns escaped, the whole property was taken over by the Moravian provinces and they finally handed over the dominion to Emperor Ferdinand I of Habsburg, because it was actually a royal monastery. Ferdinand first temporarily stopped the estate to Queen Mary – widow of Louis Jagelon, then put into life for use by Trident Bishop Bernard and finally after the previous pledge on 3 October 1537 inherited the entire estate of the Vice-Chancellor of the Czech Kingdom, Mr. George Žabek of Limberk.

Monastery 1720
After several important aristocratic families, the estate passed in 1622 to the Dietrichstein family. Ferdinand of Dietrichstein sold the monastery grounds to the Strahov Monastery in 1698. Strahov decided to repair and roof the Kounice monastery. Among other modifications, the vault of the lower cloister of the wing cloister next to the church, a new wooden – thatched roof of the church, and a new monastery residential building were restored. However, on July 4, 1703, a huge fire broke out in the town, and from Růžová Street through a manor and sheepfold, where 600 sheep were burnt, it was transferred to a reconstructed monastery. The roof above the monastery temple, chapel, cloister and bedrooms for priests fell victim to this fire. The reconstruction of the monastery continued for another fifteen years, only the monastery temple remained unsheltered.

Despite gradual repairs, reports about the monastery in Kounice are mostly bleak. The building is ravaged by troops passing through the monastery building in their open parts due to rain and snow. From 1804 the monastery began to perish quickly and after discussion and with the approval of Strahov it was sold to Prince John of Dietrichstein and thus again attached to the Kounice estate. Since those years, the monastery has been exposed to climatic influences and people who used monastic buildings as a stone quarry. The manor officials handed out dozens of wagons of building stone, along with stone and bricks were also exported without any choice whole pieces of vault ribs, vault bolts and other carved stone elements, part of the monastery building. This situation lasted until approximately 1890, when the new owner of the manor,

Only after 1927 the devastation of the monastery was stopped and gradually the ruins began to be repaired and maintained. It was in this year that the chateau and the monastery passed into the ownership of the originally count administrator Emil Tomec. He transferred the church ruins to the administration of the newly formed “Committee for the Conservation of Monuments in Dolní Kounice”, which made this precious monument generally accessible, as the company provided guiding activities there. Thanks to the “Committee”, one year later, some works were not carried out, requiring no significant financial costs, as the funds were not available at the beginning. Thanks to all the works, the monument has been satisfactorily fixed for many years. The problem of ownership was problematic. After the extinction of the feudal estate, the castle and monastery buildings were acquired by the above-mentioned Count Emil Tomec. Jaromir Košťál. The building had been in their possession for almost the entire existence of the “Committee”, which of course could have invested little money and so concentrated on the monastery temple. After the Second World War, the so-called Auschwitz Discussion was established in 1952, which also became a member of the Regional History Circle of Auschwitz, the successor of the original Committee for the Conservation of Monuments.

Monastery today
In 1974 the monastery became the property of the Regional Institute of State Monument Care and Nature Protection in Brno, as a state monument of the 1st category. During this period the convent’s residential building was used to accommodate several families. The District National Committee Brno-venkov invested about 1, 6 million Kcs in repairs. In particular, the crown masonry was reinforced and grouted and roofs repaired. These works took place at the end of the 1980s and then led to a new ceremonial opening and opening of the monument to the public in 1990. In the new social system that occurred in the state after 1989, the restitution claim of the monument fell back to the Košťál family. The family donated it to the Episcopal Consistory in Brno. In cooperation with the Municipal Office in Dolní Kounice, it currently operates the monastery.

The history of the monastery according to the promotional material of the Town of Dolní Kounice, text by Miloš Dempír
The ruins of the Rosa Coeli Monastery are located in the Jihlava River Valley directly below the castle hill. The monastery is one of the most important Central European religious buildings of the High Gothic. Together with the castle forms a harmonious whole, unprecedented in our country. The massive masonry of the monastery church and the adjacent buildings will attract every visitor with his remarkable monumentality.

The beginnings of the monastery date back to the second half of the 12th century. At that time, the Lords of Kounice built a large dominion in South Moravia. Of these, Vilem said of Pulín participated in the power struggles between the Czech Prince Soběslav II. and the Austrian Duke Henry II. Jasomirgotem. When invading the Austrian country in 1175 troops Sobeslav II. She also plundered church buildings, for which Soběslav and his closest aides were put to the curse by the Pope. In an effort to get rid of the curse, William of Pulin went to Rome to the Pope and begged for forgiveness. The Pope gave him the task of building a monastery on his farms.

The construction of the monastery in Dolní Kounice began in 1181. Inexperienced Vilém asked the abbot Gotšalka from Želiv for help. The monastery was named Rosa coeli – Heavenly Rose and is the oldest female monastery in Moravia. Its founding is described in detail in his chronicle by the abbot of the monastery in Milevsko Jarloch.

The oldest form of the monastery cannot be reconstructed credibly today. From the preserved remains of the Romanesque masonry contained in the north and west wing of today’s cloister, it is possible to conclude that the church was most probably brick, but the other buildings were probably only wooden.

In 1185, Kounice was plundered by the army of the Czech prince Bedřich. The fire, which destroyed the whole village, but avoided the monastery. Then the economic development of the monastic estate slowly begins. In addition to the basic property that the monastery acquired from its founding by Vilém of Pulín, other villages were gradually added and the boundaries of the estate gradually expanded. The importance of the monastery increased even further in 1268, when Pope Clement IV took it under his patronage. In 1284, after the Knotice branch of Drnholec died out, the monastery in Dolní Kounice became a royal monastery. He was taken under his protection by the Czech King Wenceslas II, who also granted the local provost for Kounice the right of a weekly market. At that time the monastery was already on a high economic level that it could afford to build a solid Gothic castle for its protection on the hill above Kounice. After the construction of the castle, sometime before 1330, a spectacular costly reconstruction of the monastery buildings began. Due to the continuous construction activity, the monastery became indebted and the reconstruction was completed until 1370–1380. According to some opinions, the building stretched until after 1400. Of the original Romanesque buildings of the monastery, only small fragments have been preserved, most of it was built as a new building. The work was carried out in two phases. After the completion of the space, now known as the Chapter Hall, and the western walls of the present cloister, the plan was apparently changed. According to the new project, a church with a sacristy, a cloister and other parts of the monastic dwelling were built, but they have not been preserved. Due to the continuous construction activity, the monastery became indebted and the reconstruction was completed until 1370–1380. According to some opinions, the building stretched until after 1400. Of the original Romanesque buildings of the monastery, only small fragments have been preserved, most of it was built as a new building. The work was carried out in two phases. After the completion of the space, now known as the Chapter Hall, and the western walls of the present cloister, the plan was apparently changed. According to the new project, a church with a sacristy, a cloister and other parts of the monastic dwelling were built, but they have not been preserved. Due to the continuous construction activity, the monastery became indebted and the reconstruction was completed until 1370–1380. According to some opinions, the building stretched until after 1400. Of the original Romanesque buildings of the monastery, only small fragments have been preserved, most of it was built as a new building. The work was carried out in two phases. After the completion of the space, now known as the Chapter Hall, and the western walls of the present cloister, the plan was apparently changed. According to the new project, a church with a sacristy, a cloister and other parts of the monastic dwelling were built, but these have not been preserved. most of it was built as a new building. The work was carried out in two phases. After the completion of the space, now known as the Chapter Hall, and the western walls of the present cloister, the plan was apparently changed. According to the new project, a church with a sacristy, a cloister and other parts of the monastic dwelling were built, but these have not been preserved. most of it was built as a new building. The work was carried out in two phases. After the completion of the space, now known as the Chapter Hall, and the western walls of the present cloister, the plan was apparently changed. According to the new project, a church with a sacristy, a cloister and other parts of the monastic dwelling were built, but they have not been preserved.

After the reconstruction, the monastery gradually repaid all its debts and began to consolidate its power again. This period of prosperity was interrupted only by the Hussite wars. In 1423 the monastery was plundered and set on fire by the Hussite troops. After the fire, the vault was exposed over the temple, which collapsed due to weather conditions. The nave was then covered only by a beamed ceiling and the original vault was never restored. In 1434 the monastery had to be repaired because it could afford to buy more villages.

At the beginning of the 16th century, after the arrival of the new provost Martin Göschl, a great decline of the monastery occurred. Provost Göschl, who also had the rank of holy bishop of Olomouc, transferred to Lutheran religion and married one of the local nuns. As a result, the bishop of Olomouc suspended him, King Louis ordered him to be expelled, but Göschl remained in the monastery and demanded that the monastic estate be entered into his hands. Bishop Stanislav Pavlovský found that the life of nuns in the monastery in Dolní Kounice was “vicious and extremely offensive.” In 1526 Göschl fled to Mikulov to the Baptists, but then underwent torture in Prague and eventually died in the Olomouc prison. The remaining 11 nuns chose a new provost, priest John, but their persistent vicious life forced the surrounding population to assault the monastery. The nuns then ran across the kingdom and the temple was partly devastated and dishonored. In 1527, the Moravian Lands took over the abandoned monastery with the entire estate, which was then handed over to the Czech King Ferdinand I of Habsburg. Ferdinand first stopped the estate and in 1537 sold Jiří Žabek of Limberk. Jiří Žabka chose Dolní Kounice as his headquarters. He had the former monastic castle rebuilt costly and repaired the monastic temple in which he established a family tomb. However, under other owners of the estate, the monastery was gradually released. Jiří Žabka chose Dolní Kounice as his headquarters. He had the former monastic castle rebuilt costly and repaired the monastic temple in which he established a family tomb. However, under other owners of the estate, the monastery was gradually released. Jiří Žabka chose Dolní Kounice as his headquarters. He had the former monastic castle rebuilt costly and repaired the monastic temple in which he established a family tomb. However, under other owners of the estate, the monastery was gradually released.

Premonstratensians from the Strahov Monastery tried to restore the abandoned monastery. In 1698, after several years of complicated negotiations, the building was purchased from the then owner of the estate Ferdinand of Dietrichstein. Already in the following year they adapted the former chapter hall to the chapel and built a new baroque convent building towards the river. In the following years the cloister was renovated and the church was repaired. On the ground floor of the cloister, two collapsed vaulted fields were restored from bricks to mimic the original architecture. It is therefore one of the oldest manifestations of monument care in the Czech Republic. In 1703 the newly roofed church was consecrated again. That year, however, Dolní Kounice was engulfed in a huge fire that destroyed the restored monastery. After that, only the convent building was repaired, the church was left in ruins and ceremonies were held only in the chapel. Poor economic conditions did not allow for extensive repairs to the monastery, and so masses in the monastery chapel were eventually banned. Strahov Premonstratensians surrendered further attempts to restore and in 1808 sold the monastery and the church back to the Lower House. Since then, the buildings have finally turned into ruins.

It was not until 1895 that Count Josef Herberstein had the most urgent repairs carried out, with a temporary corridor and a chapter hall being fitted with a makeshift roof. Since 1926, the conservation and restoration work has been carried out in the monastery on the initiative of the Committee for the Conservation of Monuments in Dolní Kounice.

He is currently the owner of the monastery of the Roman Catholic bishopric in Brno. Historic buildings are used by the town of Dolní Kounice, which made the building accessible to the public. In recent years, the romantic environment of the restored monastery has become a venue for numerous cultural events and exhibitions.

The extensive complex of monastery buildings is partially surrounded by a medieval stone wall. The area is entered by a Gothic pointed gate through a former farmyard. The actual part of the monastery consists of the convent church of Our Lady preserved in the peripheral masonry, a cloister with a paradise court and an adjacent chapter hall. Residential buildings dominate these buildings towards the river, dominated by the Baroque building of the former convent.

The most massive building of the monastery is the church standing on the ground plan of the cross. From the outside, the church is supported by a system of supporting pillars. The main entrance to the church is located in the west facade of the longitudinal nave. Due to the vault of the choir from the inside it is shifted off the axis of the church. With its concept and sculptural design, the entrance portal is one of the unique works of this type in our country. The pointed arch of the portal is richly profiled in its slanted lining, its tympanum rests on consoles in the form of human heads carrying a tracery leaflet. On it is the relief of Christ blessing the right and left holding the book of life. The bottom trills of the tracery leaf are filled by the head of a man and a woman. The pointed arch of the portal is rounded off by an elevated triangular gable, into which the panel tracery of a triple leaf is embedded. The whole portal ends with a stone bouquet. A view of the nave of the church opens behind the entrance portal. Around halfway along the longitudinal axis, the nave is interrupted by a transverse ship. This is followed by a deep presbyterium closed by a triangular conclusion. In the entrance part of the temple is on the right side a small Gothic portal leading to the spiral staircase in the turret, which protrudes from the southern wall of the nave and is topped with a brick pyramid roof. Up the narrow stairs it is possible to ascend above the crowns of the monastery masonry, from where a magnificent view of the monastery complex and a view of the nearby castle and chateau opens. Although the interior of the church is now without vaults, it is not difficult to reconstruct the original appearance in the amount of preserved details. The ribs of the predominantly pear-shaped profile with embossed studs carried an unusually archaic six-part and seven-part vault. In the western part of the nave was originally a wooden choir, which was later replaced by a stone structure in the range of three vault fields. Access to the choir was from the first floor of the southern wing of the cloister or through the portal from the spindle staircase. The horizontal segmentation of the interior is characterized by a continuous window cornice, to which the vaults or their bundles terminated by fine spurs converge. Instead of the warheads, polygonal canopies with labels, crabs and scarves are used. Figural consoles of high-quality sculptural work together with other advanced stonework details clearly show that the construction works in Kounice not only familiarized with the morphology usual in the Charles IV Parler’s work, but also reaching its quality level. Access to the choir was from the first floor of the southern wing of the cloister or through the portal from the spindle staircase. The horizontal segmentation of the interior is characterized by a continuous window cornice, to which the vaults or their bundles terminated by a fine spur converge. Instead of the warheads, polygonal canopies with labels, crabs and scarves are used. Figural consoles of high-quality sculptural work together with other advanced stonework details clearly show that the construction works in Kounice not only familiarized with the morphology usual in the Charles IV Parler’s work, but also reaching its quality level. Access to the choir was from the first floor of the southern wing of the cloister or through the portal from the spindle staircase. The horizontal segmentation of the interior is characterized by a continuous window cornice, to which the vaults or their bundles terminated by fine spurs converge. Instead of the warheads, polygonal canopies with labels, crabs and scarves are used. Figural consoles of high-quality sculptural work together with other advanced stonework details clearly show that the construction works in Kounice not only familiarized with the morphology usual in the Charles IV Parler’s work, but also reaching its quality level. Instead of the warheads, polygonal canopies with labels, crabs and scarves are used. Figural consoles of high-quality sculptural work together with other advanced stonework details clearly show that the construction works in Kounice not only familiarized with the morphology usual in the Charles IV Parler’s work, but also reaching its quality level. Instead of warheads, polygonal canopies are used with labels, crabs and scarves. Figural consoles of high-quality sculptural work together with other advanced stonework details clearly show that the construction works in Kounice not only familiarized with the morphology usual in the Charles IV Parler’s work, but also reaching its quality level.

The portal in the south wall of the chancel enters the vestibule of the former sacristy. The sacristy consists of a spacious hall with a cross vault converging into the central beam pillar. However, the vault is not original, but was reconstructed from preserved architectural elements and accessories.

On the northern side of the nave, a cloister with a paradise courtyard adjoins the monastery church. The ground floor of the cloister is vaulted by twenty fields of cloister. The inner wall is reduced only to the pillars of the spiked windows, which are secured in the paradise yard by supporting pillars. The vaulted stone ribs of the pear profile intersect in circular bolts and converge at the pillars of the arcades to the slender cylindrical supports with polygonal feet, on the opposite walls they converge into spurs undercut. Two vaulted fields with brick ribs resemble Baroque adaptations of monastery buildings. The stud of the southwest field bears the inscription RESTAVRATVM A. MDCCCI VAS – restored in 1701 by Vit Abbot of Strahov. The first floor of the cloister is accessed by an additional extension of the staircase. The first floor was opened into the paradise court by rectangular gothic windows with a dividing central stone cross. Of the original vaults, only canopies have been preserved to this day.

On the ground floor of the eastern wing of the cloister there is an entrance to the chapter hall, vaulted by two fields of a ribbed vault. Pear ribs with a bevelled edge cross in circular studs and converge into brackets. There are reliefs of pelican and lamb on the studs; beneath the individually articulated console cover are four human masks with a wreath of oak leaves and a ram and lion head. These embossed bolts and figural consoles again remind us of the connection with the Parléř smelter. The Capitular Hall is the most consistently preserved area of ​​the entire complex.

In the monastery, especially on the ground floor of the cloister, some architectural elements and other parts of its former equipment found during the security work of the ruin are collected. Some fragments come from other places in Dolní Kounice, especially from the castle and chateau. Among the most important are the incomplete tombstone of an unknown Brno canon with an engraved drawing of a priest holding a chalice from 1349, a torso of a late Gothic figural tombstone of the Lower Provost George from around 1500 and a fragment of a marble Renaissance tombstone. period after 1588). Other monuments from the monastery in Dolní Louny are located in the Moravian Museum and the Moravian Gallery in Brno.

 

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