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Police detain two suspects of setting Czech church on fire

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Ostrava, North Moravia, Aug 3 (CTK) – The Czech police have detained two people suspected of having set a wooden church from the 16th century on fire in the Guty neighbourhood in Trinec, north Moravia, local police chief Tomas Kuzel told reporters today.

They are suspected of arson and endangering the public safety.

The police have not accused them yet, Kuzel said without elaborating.

The valuable church burnt down in the night of Wednesday. The flames virtually destroyed the whole building. Only a cross raised close to the church tower was almost unharmed.

No one was injured in the fire. The damage has been estimated at dozens of millions of crowns.

The possibility to build a true replica of the church was being discussed immediately after the fire.

Pavel Siuda, spokesman for the Ostrava-Opava diocese, told CTK today that the diocese had started taking steps to enable “a scientific reconstruction” of the destroyed church in Guty.

Trinec is considering holding a charity concert and launching a public fund-raising campaign, its mayor Vera Palkovska said.

The City Council is to debate the fund-raising for the church at its extraordinary meeting on Monday, she told CTK.

Siuda said the diocese had started collecting the necessary documentation for a possible construction.

He estimated the costs of the construction of the replica at some 22 million crowns, similar to the Saint Catherine Church in Ostrava-Hrabova, also a heritage site which burned down in 2002. However, this sum would not include the interior equipment, Siuda added.

The diocese has welcomed the activity of the town that will organise a fund-raising campaign and this is why it will not organise any, Siuda said.

He also said an open-air mass would take place at the site of the burnt-down church before noon on Sunday. The parish must yet decide where the parishioners will meet next time.

Judging by the year cut in the portal, the church may have been founded in 1563, but it may be even older. It was reconstructed for 4.3 million crowns between 2012 and 2014.

($1=22.099 crowns)

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