He started his career as an assistant preacher in Louny and, following a two-year military service, he took the job of a pastor in Hošťálková, a village in Moravian Wallachia, in 1964. After fifteen years, he left to become the pastor of the Prague-Libeň congregation, where he stayed until 1991.
In 1987, he was elected Deputy Synodal Senior, and when the Synodal Senior at the time was elected as member of the “National Understanding Government”, Mr Smetana became Head of the ECCB. In 1991, he was elected Synodal Senior and remained in this position for two electoral periods, until 2003. Between 1995 and 2000, he was also President of the Ecumenical Council of Churches of the Czech Republic. In 2002, Václav Havel decorated him with the T. G. Masaryk Medal.
With his wife Zdena, they brought up three daughters – Ester, Magdalena and Pavla. They spent their well-deserved retirement years in Prague and also regularly travelled to visit their daughters Magdalena and Pavla, living with their husbands in Gruibingen, Germany, and on the Greek island of Corfu. They also enjoyed resting at their country house by the Seč dam.