Prague, Sept 26 (CTK) – The National St Wenceslas pilgrimage will start with the transfer of the Czech patron saint’s relics from Prague to Stara Boleslav on Tuesday evening, and it will continue on Wednesday by the annual divine service also to be attended by President Milos Zeman and other officials.
Bells will be ringing across the country during the ceremonial transfer of the relics to Stara Boleslav, Central Bohemia, by a procession from Brandys nad Labem, a nearby town north of Prague.
On Wednesday, the open-air divine service will start in Stara Boleslav’s square at 10:00.
It will be celebrated by Brno Bishop Vojtech Cikrle and the preacher will be Joachim Meisner, archbishop emeritus of Cologne and holder of the top Czech state award, Order of the White Lion.
The upcoming St Wenceslas pilgrimage takes place in the year of the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor from the Luxembourg dynasty.
At the divine service, Charles IV’s relation to St Wenceslas will be symbolised by the presence of the coronation sword, and an extract from Charles IV’s coronation mass will be heard at the close of the service, Prague Archbishop’s spokesman Ales Pistora said.
St Wenceslas’s skull will be on display in the crypt of the local basilica.
The divine service will be attended by Zeman, who has birthday on September 28, the St Wenceslas Day. He will turn 72.
“The president will attend this ceremony for the first time during his [presidential] mandate. He will pronounce a short greeting at the close of the mass,” his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said.
Other politicians to attend the event include Deputy PM Pavel Belobradek, head of the Christian Democratic Union (KDU-CSL).
Stara Boleslav is the oldest Czech pilgrimage site linked to both the St Wenceslas tradition and the Virgin Mary cult.
Thousands of believers gather there annually on the St Wenceslas Day.
St Wenceslas’s legacy will also be marked by people elsewhere in the Czech Republic.
St Wenceslas was a medieval prince from the Premyslids dynasty, ruler of Bohemia and promoter of Christianity in the Czech Lands. He was murdered by his opponents, including his brother Boleslav, in Stara Boleslav in 935.