Church of SS Cyril and Methodius, Karlín

In the year 863, the Orthodox missionary brothers Cyril and Methodius began translating the Bible into the language known as Old Church Slavonic, using a specially-formulated script from which was derived the later ‘Cyrillic’ alphabet. Their work enabled them to spread the faith throughout the Slavic-speaking lands, starting with Moravia, part of today’s Czech Republic.

Exactly a thousand years later, on 18 October 1863, this neo-Romanesque basilica was consecrated in the name of the two saints in the Prague suburb of Karlín. One of the largest churches in the country, it was designed by the Austrian Karl Rösner and the Prague architect Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann, with decoration by some of the leading artists of the day including Josef Mánes, and Josef Matyáš Trenkwald who was responsible for the magnificent painted ceilings.

For many years this was the sole church dedicated to the saints. In 1935, however, the eighteenth-century church of St Charles Borromeo in central Prague was reconsecrated as the Cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius. It was that building, not this, which sheltered the ill-fated assassins of Reinhard Heydrich.