iDNES: Moravian Slovakia is Pleased - The Spectacular Celebration at Velehrad is Filling the Hotels Already

18. 2. 2013

In four months and a few days already, one of the historically greatest events will take place in Moravian Slovakia. Therefore, the whole region is getting ready for the celebration of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius now already.

"It will be majestic," says Stanislav Gregůrek, the mayor of Velehrad. It is his village that will become the main meeting place for thousands of believers. And this time, they will come from all over the world, including the main church representatives from the Vatican. That is why it is clear that on 4th and 5th July, i.e. during the Cyrillo-Methodian feast, there will not be any free spots in hotels, guest houses and hostels at Velehrad and the closest vicinity. Everything is full now already. "We are fully booked. We have already had to refuse a lot of people," said Lada Straková from the U Velehradu hotel. There are no free rooms in the Stojanov pilgrims' house either. "Places have been booked a long time in advance," said Jindřiška Borková.

Thousands of pilgrims will come

Also builders are rushed by the upcoming celebrations. They are finishing their work on the Velehrad basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary but it is not finalized yet. A few weeks ago, the experts finished restoration works in the interior of the monument. For the first time after almost four years believers and visitors could see the basilica without the scaffolding. And, after long years, the same chance will be given to pilgrims at the Cyrillo-Methodian National pilgrimage. Only one detail remains now to have the works in the inner space finished, the restored organ.

"This week, we are beginning to transport them here. It will take about two weeks," said Věra Homoláčová, coordinator of the long-term project of the restoration of Velehrad. Reconstructions of the western facade of the basilica - that is the place above the main entrance - are in the plan as well. Due to the research done by preservationists the works were delayed by four months and they will begin again only when the weather allows it. The scaffolding will disappear by the end of May but builders will move it only a little bit further, to the longitudinal wall opposite to the new pillar wall which divides the premises of the basilica from the road. "However, we are not at all able to assess if we can finish the reconstruction of this part of the facade before the celebrations. If not, we will dismantle the scaffolding," Homoláčová said.

There is also a European pilgrims' path leading to Velehrad

Preparations are going on even at the townhall. The village takes care of transportation and parking. "We solve this every year but this time much more space will be needed," explained Gregůrek. Like last year, the space for parking will be located at the Staré Město bypass. However, for example new traffic signs will be needed, which will be able to provide better guidance to visitors from abroad.

Thousands of pilgrims are getting ready to travel to Velehrad. Some of them will make use of the sixty kilometers long pilgrims' path leading via the Zlín Region, which is newly included among prestigious European pilgrims' paths. Among them, there are, for example, the well-known Way of Saint James to Santiago de Compostela or pilgrims' paths to Rome, which are the oldest in Europe. In the Zlín Region it leads from Svaty Hostýn via Štípa and Napajedla to Velehrad.

This year, thanks to the anniversary of Cyril and Methodius, other people are getting ready for a pilgrimage to Velehrad from much more distant places. In April already, pilgrims will set out from Istanbul to Belgrade and from there in the second stage to Velehrad. They will walk altogether 1,600 kilometers on foot. "Those interested have been already registering and they are from all over the country," stated Jana Pálková, who organizes the event.

Apart from Velehrad, the missionaries will be commemorated at other places as well. For example, in Uherské Hradište at Sady heights where, according to archaeologists, Methodius taught his disciples. The Museum of Moravian Slovakia will prepare a computer game, through which - thanks to animation - people will get familiarized with the life at that place at that time.

Authoress: Jana Fuksová

The article was taken from, 17th February 2013


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  • Here are our roots.

    (Blessed John Paul II, 22nd April 1990, Velehrad)

    They wanted to become part of those nations and to share their destiny in everything. Here, in this place, at Velehrad, in Moravia, we can feel the historical legacy of the kingdom in a peculiar way – we can feel even those who became its keepers and guardians.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

  • For us, people of the present age, their apostolate contains even the elocution of the ecumenical appeal, i.e. to build unity again, in a peaceful reconciliation, which later after their deaths was heavily damaged, and in the first place the unity between the East and the West.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

  • Their work is also a very important contribution to the growth of the common Christian roots of Europe, which by their firmness and viability create one of the main contact points, which must be respected by every serious attempt at reunification of our continent in a new and topical way.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

  • The story of both brothers, Cyril and Methodius, is a distinct example of unity.

    Saints Cyril and Methodius contributed, to a great extent, to the building of Europe, not only regarding its Christian religious community but also concerning its civil and cultural unity.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

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