Czech Republic

Christian ARTworks: Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (Diocese of Hradec Králové)

Holy Spirit Cathedral in the Diocese of Hradec Králové. (Photo:

This month, our ‘Christian Heritage month by month’ column presents the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, the only surviving medieval Gothic church in the area of the Diocese of Hradec Králové, in the Czech Republic. Click here for more info

The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is the principal church of the Diocese of Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic. The Cathedral was probably founded by Queen Elizabeth Rejčka in 1308, however, the interior of the Cathedral reflected the influence of the second wife of Wenceslaus IV, Sophia of Bavaria. Throughout its history, the Cathedral was burnt down several times but was constantly renovated. Nowadays, it is the only surviving medieval Gothic church in this area.

The Cathedral also features characteristic brick architecture, a rarity among Gothic cathedrals in Czech lands. The uniqueness here is the contrast between red brick and white sandstone used on portals, windows, and cornices of the temple. The Cathedral also has three naves, a long choir, a 15th-century tin baptistery, a Baroque altarpiece showing St. Anthony painted by Petr Brandl, and a late Gothic altar in the South aisle.

The ceiling of the Cathedral is decorated with painted coats of arms of the diocesan bishops, archbishops, and Pope John Paul II. The rich church decoration and the diversity of its styles are a testimony of the intersection between cultural influences and local devotion throughout centuries of Christian history in Europe.