Sunday, July 28, 2013

Post card from Czech Republic: Sto. Nino de Praha

Sto. Nino de Praga

Religious places and icons never fail to fascinate me whenever I travel. It's probably the Roman Catholic tradition in my own country that makes me appreciate Christian icons, considering that these are much more elaborate in Europe.
Even if I'm not Roman Catholic -- I am Born Again Christian since I was about five -- I still have my appreciation for all things Catholic, particularly the churches and the church art.

And so when I visited Prague, I made sure that I get to see the famed Santo Nino de Praha (Infant Jesus of Prague), which I've been hearing of even from way back home.

What's with this Santo Nino, when we practically have every kind of the icon in the Philippines including the revered Santo Nino de Cebu?

Here are the reasons why a visitor in Prague from any country should see this:
1. The Carmelite Church of the Our Lady Victorious, which houses the Santo Nino de Praga, is just within the complex that contains the Prague Castle. While at it, why not drop by the church?

FACADE of The Carmelite Church of the Our Lady Victorious.
 2. The entrance to the church is FREE.
3. Going to Prague is some sort of a pilgrimage, and the Santo Nino de Praga is the destination the faithful come over for miracles, especially for pregnant women.
4. If this is not yet enough, well, the statue has had sanctions or blessings from three popes, the most recent was from Pope Benedict XVI.
5. If you are a lover of art, there are a number of details here that would indeed warrant your visit.
     5.1. The statue itself, made of coated wax and wood with silver erector, showcases the art of the Middle Ages, as it is dressed like the royalty of the 15th century. Not to be missed is the elaborate crown and orb.
     5.2. The shrine itself which contains the Santo Nino is very elaborate.
     5.3. Other portions of the church have very elaborately woodwork.
6. The statue is historic, as it passed on from the hands of St. Teresa of Avila (so history books say), a Spanish noblewoman named Maria Manrique de Lara, down to the latter's daughter, Princess Polyxena von Lobkowicz.

Tip sheet:
- The church where the Santo Nino rests is located along Mala Strana, not very far from the Prague Castle.
- entrance is FREE.
- I've got no information as to where to buy authentic Santo Nino statues. If ever you find any, the statue makes for a good wedding gift. The Santo Nino is also believed to influence weather.