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Friday, November 12, 2010

Jesus Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Cieszyn

Jesus Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Cieszyn
I traveled to the Czech Republic to attend the Synodical Convention of the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAV). The church is on the boarder of Poland, literally separated by a little river. Rev. Brent Smith and Dr. Robert Rosin also are here. More on the SECAV's convention later. During a break, Pastor Marek Rican of the SECAV took me across the boarder to see the Jesus Church in Cieszyn, Poland.

The story of Lutheranism in Silesia (parts of Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia) is that of Lutheranism under the cross. The Lutheran Reformation reached Silesia by the mid-1520s. Kasper Schwenkfeld helped introduce the Reformation to Silesia, but soon the Reformation teaching was lost -- even to the point of rejecting the doctrine of Justification. Others taught Lutheranism faithfully in Silesia. In 1540, Waclaw III Adam accepted the teachings of Luther. His entire Duchy was Lutheran. Until the 30 years war Silesia was a Lutheran territory. Waclaw III Adam's son forsook his father's Lutheran confession and became Roman Catholic. The Lutherans had their churches taken away in 1654. For 55 year Lutherans worshiped secretly in the forests.

Commemoration of the Lutherans who had to worship in the forests
Pastor Jerzy Trzanowski (1592-1637) has been called the "Martin Luther" to the Slavic people, taught, preached and produced a Lutheran hymnal that was used for 300 years.

Jerzy Trzanowski (1592-1637)

Pastor Marek Rican talks about Jerzy Trzanowski

In 1709, the foundation for Jesus Church was laid in Cieszyn. The church was completed in 1750.

Chancel Area
Because there were so many Lutherans in the area, the church was designed to hold about 6,000 people at a time.

The pulpit is in the center of the church
The baptism font is shaped like a chalice

Plaque to Pastor Karol Kulisz (1873-1940)
Pastor Karol Kulisz started the diakonical work of the Silesian Lutheran church. He died in a concentration camp in 1940. Today, there is a strong tradition of diakonial work due to Pastor Kulisz.

The Silesian Lutheran Church has faced many hardships. It is conservative in that it holds to the Scriptures and has resisted higher criticism. In the late 1958s, the Silesian Lutheran Church ordained its first female clergyman; however, generally speaking there are very few female pastors. The recent decisions of the ELCA and the LWF have caused these churches to move in a more historic position.

1 comment:

  1. See also (Tercentenary of jesus Church in Teschen)