Church of St. James the Greater (Prague)

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Church of St. James the Greater

The Church of St. James (Czech: Kostel svatého Jakuba Většího) in the Old Town of Prague, Czech Republic. The church is home to the Madonna Pietatis and the tomb of Count Vratislav of Mitrovice.[1]


The church was built in the 13th century for the Franciscans presbytery. It was built in the Gothic architecture style. The church was destroyed in a fure in 1689. The fire is believed to have been started by people working for Louis XIV of France. When it was rebuilt, it was rebuilt in the Baroque architecture style. The rebuilding included the addition of over 20 altars. Artists such as Jan Jiří Heinsch, Václav Vavřinec Reiner, and Petr Brandl created paintings for the altars. In 1702, an organ was installed.[2]

The church is the final resting place for Count Vratislav of Mitrovice. He was accidentally buried alive in the tomb. The tomb was created by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.[2] There is also a mummified forearm to the right of the tomb entrance, dating back over 400 years. The arm is the arm of a jewel thief who tried to steal from the high altar, which has a statue of the Virgin Mary. It is believed that when the thief tired to steal the jewels, Mary grabbed his arm and would not let go, therefore his arm was cut off by monks.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b Rick Steves (14 September 2010). Rick Steves' Best of Europe 2011. Avalon Travel Publishing. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-59880-871-1. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Turp, Craig (2012). DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Prague. London: DK Travel. ISBN 0756683998. 

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Coordinates: 50°05′17″N 14°25′29″E / 50.08806°N 14.42472°E / 50.08806; 14.42472