Written by Dominic Swire
So you´ve just moved to Prague and need a little spiritual uplifting. Where in God´s name can you find that? Fear not. Expats.cz is once again here to help answer some of your prayers.
On the face of it, the Czech Republic may not seem the best place to start looking for religious activity as it is one of the most secular states in Europe. This is partly a result of almost 50 years of religious suppression during communist rule, which is ironic considering the splendour of so many of its churches.
Nevertheless, if you know where to look, you will find a host of religious groups based in and around Prague. Despite the country´s secularity, statistically speaking, Christianity is the most popular religion in the Czech Republic, so let´s start there.
If you´re a Christian in search of services, Bible studies and a warm community, have a look at the Prague Fellowship, an independent Czech church officially founded in 1990. They meet at the Evangelical Methodist Church at Ječna 19 (at the back of the courtyard), Prague 2. The group forms the English-speaking community of the larger Czech organisation Křesťanské společenství and consists of people from many different backgrounds and denominations.
For Catholics, the Augustinian Parish of Saint Thomas features an English Speaking Catholic Community. Mass in English is held at the Church of Saint Thomas on Josefská 8 in Malá Strana Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. The Parish also offers classes and other religious services throughout the week.
If you want a Baptist church, have a look at the Baptist Union of the Czech Republic for some general information. There is also the International Baptist Church of Prague. Even if this is not what you´re looking for, that´s no reason to stop you putting your head round the door. Their website states they also welcome, “agnostics, unbelievers, seekers, the curious, sinners, doubters, strugglers, the spiritually wounded, the lonely, the broken hearted, the disillusioned.” That seems to cover just about everybody.
There is also the International Pentecostal Fellowship, a branch of the United Pentecostal Church International. They meet in Old Town Square just behind Týn Church. The church offers its own Bible school along with an assortment of ministries, including ladies´ meetings, men´s meetings and orphanage outreach programme. You can read more about the Christian faith in the Czech Republic at the Prague Christian Library at Baranova 32 in Prague 3.
The New Beginnings Christian Center also offers services in English, including a Sunday Service in English on Sunday morning and a Czech-English Sunday Service in the afternoon. Other classes and services in English are offered throughout the week. The Center is located at the Vysočanská Life Center, near the Vysočanská metro station in Prague 9.
Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries – The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) – offers services conducted both in English and Czech every Sunday from 1:30 – 3:30 PM.
Pick up any guide to the city and you´ll see Prague has been hugely influenced by Judaism. The Jewish Quarter (or, perhaps more accurately, the Tourist Quarter) remains hugely popular – and rightly so due to its wealth of history, culture and some beautiful synagogues. Likewise, there is a flourishing Jewish community here, too. For more information have a look at the Chabad Centre, Prague.
Muslims are also well catered for in the Czech Republic. The Islamic Foundation has two centres, one in Prague and one in Brno. The Prague branch is on Blatská 1491, Prague 9, and holds various meetings and courses on Islam.
Although a pint of beer and fried cheese might seem as far away as you can get from the Orient, religion from the Far East is very popular in the Czech Republic. The Karma Kagyu branch of Buddhism boasts 35 centres across the country. The Prague branch is at Hradesinska 52, Prague 10 and you can visit any day at 8pm to speak to teachers. They also offer lectures, a library and meditation sessions.
If you feel you need to meditate away from the city, perhaps you could visit the beautiful Samadhi Buddhist Meditation Center for a retreat. Based in the village of Tupadly, about 40km north of Prague near Melnik, the 30 acre site is surrounded by forest and offers an ideal place to relax the mind. They also offer a selection of Buddhist study programmes for foreign students. For more information on Buddhism in the Czech Republic, you can have a look at the websites of Buddhismus and Lotus Centre in Prague, although unfortunately the pages are so far only in Czech.
For those whose love of yoga transcends the physical, Prague also has an active Hindu association. Hinduismus organises many events but is mainly aimed at Czech speakers. The Bahai religion also has a branch at Lucemburská 33, Prague 3.
And finally, for the humanists, atheists and agnostics among you who uphold many of the principles supported by the world´s religions without necessarily being religious, don´t forget about the human rights organisation Amnesty International. They have a very active English group in Prague that meets at 6:30 every Wednesday evening at Palackého 9 round the corner from Vodičkova tram stop.
As always, this article can´t pretend to be exhaustive but we hope it has gone some way to helping you find what you´re looking for – if not in life, then at least in Prague.
AUGUSTINIAN PARISH OF SAINT THOMAS
THE BAPTIST UNION OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
INTERNATIONAL BAPTIST CHURCH OF PRAGUE
INTERNATIONAL PENTECOSTAL FELLOWSHIP
PRAGUE CHRISTIAN LIBRARY
NEW BEGINNINGS CHRISTIAN CENTER
CHRIST THE REDEEMER’S MINISTRIES
JEWISH CHABAD CENTRE
DIAMOND WAY BUDDHISM
SAMADHI BUDDHIST CENTER
LOTUS CENTER PRAGUE
BAHAI INTERNATIONAL SITE