St. Vitus Treasures Now in Brilliant Display at Prague Castle

The New York Times

The soft illumination at the Chapel of the Holy Cross at Prague Castle has taken on a golden hue lately. Its source: the lighted display cases, which currently hold the Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral, the largest church treasury in the Czech Republic and one of the most extensive in Europe. Items from the collection are on view permanently.

The treasury grew significantly during the time of Charles IV, who collected relics, according to Dr. Frantisek Kadlec, director of tourism for Prague Castle. One of these is the Coronation Cross from the 14th century. This gold reliquary decorated with cameos and precious stones is said to hold a variety of relics from Jesus’ crucifixion. There are reliquary busts of the Czech saints Adalbert, Wenceslas and Vitus, from the end of the 15th century, and Baroque pieces, like a glass Monstrance from 1845, the newest piece on display. The oldest piece on display is a 10th-century relic of St. Vitus, originally owned by St. Wenceslas.

A similar exhibition was shown from 1961 until 1989, when it was taken down for security reasons. After a lengthy restoration of the chapel to make it secure enough to store the valuable pieces, objects from the treasury went on display again in December.

“This is a collection of precious and interesting objects documenting the mastership of craftsman over several centuries; it would be a great pity not to have this treasure seen by the public,” Dr. Kadlec said.