It is always a good idea to draw attention to anniversaries both great and small. Their meaning is not lost; it is still as valid today as it was several hundred years ago. Anniversaries are to be commemorated.
This time we offer you three and all of them are to a greater or lesser extent connected with the existence of our church, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren.
The Battle of the White Mountain took place on Sunday, November 8, 1620. It is therefore exactly 400 years ago, and this year the date of November 8 also fell on a Sunday. The anniversary events, which were planned long in advance, had to be severely reduced due to the covid-19 pandemic, but their importance was not diminished! What does the battle itself and the post-White Mountain period, the Thirty Years’ War and the “Dark Ages”, mean to Czechs? Up to half a million people went into exile during the violent re-Catholicization of that time. It is a deep scar that members of the Protestant churches, as well as of the Catholic Church, are aware of, and during the annual “celebration” their representatives try to find common ground. And I think it has been going well in recent years.
The second anniversary follows the first. 350 years ago, Jan Amos Komenský, Bishop of the Unity of Brethren, pedagogue and philosopher, “teacher of nations”, died. He too had been forced to leave our country for good in this “dark age”.
The third anniversary concerns our present, the 1950s, the time of communist Czechoslovakia. Among more than two hundred executed by the regime, there was only one woman, the erudite lawyer Milada Horáková, a member of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. In June this year we marked 70 years since her murder.
Dear friends, the meaning of Christmas does not change, the coronavirus does not alter it. It can only add to its meaning. Let us hold on to hope in times both of good and evil!
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ (Ps 126: 1-2, NRSV)