Czech Basilica renovated
The EEA Grants have supported the renovation of the 850 year old Velehrad Basilica, which forms part of a large baroque monastery that is one of the most significant places of pilgrimage in the Czech Republic. The completion ceremony was held on 21 April 2010.
The renovation of the oldest and most valuable part of the Basilica of the Assumption of Mary and St. Cyrillus and Methodius in Velehrad, the transept and the presbytery, lasted 20 months and was finalised in March 2010. The renovation was carried out by the Zlín Region, where the basilica is situated, in cooperation with the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Pölten, Austria. The Velehrad monastery is undergoing a gradual reconstruction that will be finished by 2013.
On 21 April 2010 a ceremony was held to mark the completion of the renovation works of the Velehrad Basicilica. At the ceremony, Norway`s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Jens Eikaas highlighted the positive results of the many EEA Grants projects in the Czech Republic, especially within the field of cultural heritage preservation. Project Manager Vera Homolacova and Father Petr Pradka, the priest of the Velehrad Parish, presented the history of the monastery and the implementation of the project. Guests had the opportunity to visit and admire the interior of the basilica and its restored altar, frescos, statues and presbytery. A thanksgiving prayer and an organ concert were held, and a local school choir performed.
The renovation of the Velehrad Basilica has contributed significantly to the conservation of an important European cultural heritage monument. The Basilica is a place of pilgrimage, and Pope John Paul II visited the church in 1990. Its significance is also reflected by the fact that Czech Cardinal Tomas Špidlík, who spent his last years in Rome and died in April 2010, was buried at the monastery according to his own wish.