St. Mary’s Cathedral in Frydek-Mistek
The Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary dominates the entire city and is clearly visible from Lysa hora and Radhošť. The church is proof that Frydek was one of the most important pilgrimage centres in Silesia.
According to legend, the church on the hill called Vápenko (Lime) was built because workers in the seventeenth century, during excavation of a pit for burning lime, dug up a stone statue of the Virgin Mary. Although they brought it into the church, the next day it was back on the hill. After this removal had been repeated several times, the faithful decided that the statue should remain on the hill and a temple was built on the site instead.
After the ‘chrám na Svatém Kopečku’ (the temple on the Holy Hill) burnt down, a procession of pilgrims streamed here from as far away as the Hana area, around Olomouc. So, in the mid-eighteenth century, a baroque church was built on this site in Frydek-Mistek which is still standing today.
The church was of great importance for worshippers from Silesia and gradually became famous as far away as Hungary. In the mid-eighteenth century the Polish King Augustus III made a pilgrimage here. There were so many processions streaming into Frydek that Maria Theresa (the Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) had to issue a ban on pilgrimages that lasted overnight. Many believers however, ignored the command from the Empress and continued their pilgrimage.
Underneath the church are the catacombs in which monks are buried. According to legend, the catacombs are connected by a secret passage to the Frýdek chateau.
At the end of the twentieth century, the church was promoted by Pope John Paul II to be a Minor Basilica, a designation of especially important churches. The church is encircled by ‘The Way of the Cross’ and its surroundings have been renovated so that visitors may sit and relax on one of the many benches.