Kunratice Crystal Church near Cvikov connects sacred space with glass art





The Glass Garden is just a few steps from the Kunratice Crystal Church near Cvikov Photo: Markéta Kachlikova, Radio Prague International

A few steps from the church, Jiří Pačinek started the construction of a new glass factory. Today, more than three hundred glass objects from his workshop are inside the church, which has stood here since 1833. And not only in the church. There is also a colored glass garden. Glassworks owner Jiří Pačinek and manager David Sobotka revealed how it all started.




Rudolf Repka |  Photo: Martin Davidek, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

“The reason we suddenly showed up to church was because, as glassmakers who were only a few steps from the church, we were watching the church all the time, locked, abandoned and dilapidated. It was at the beginning of the Covid period, when We literally fought a battle for survival, so we had the idea that it would not be time for a nice stage at this bad time, and we So we approached the pastor, Father Rudolf Repka, who welcomes our crazy art glass ideas and enriches them with a bit of spirituality. I always say, Rudolf, I have a certain heretical idea. And he said, “Heretics, come with she.”




Vases by Bořek Šípek in the Church of the Exaltation of St. Of the Crosses Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková, Radio Prague International

The idea came at the time of covid




Jiří Pačinek Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková, Radio Prague International

“I flew all over the world to present our company and Czech glass. Thanks to covidid we got stuck so there was no work, so we stopped and thought with Mr. Sobotka what to do next. I said I had an idea that we could develop and that was the one with the church,” revealed Jiří Pačinek.




Organ in the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Photo: Markéta Kachlikova, Radio Prague International

“So I called the pastor, and we agreed to meet here. It was at the turn of March and April, two years ago. I was waiting for the pastor in the clerk, etc., because you have these rigid ideas, or at least I And suddenly a small car came and a strange gentleman dressed in camouflage and in Canada came out He came over, shook my hand and said, Hello, I am the Father Rudolf. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say a fateful meeting with Rudolf. He became our family. My parents know him, they admire him. added David Sobotka.




Decorative glass objects in the Church of the Exaltation of St. of the Crosses Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková, Radio Prague International

I want to create a glass statue of Jesus




Chandelier commemorating the Crown of Thorns Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková, Radio Prague International

The first object to appear in the church was a large chandelier that looked like a crown of thorns, shows David Sobotka.

“The Crystal Church was first shown on the Night of Churches. Nearly 1,000 people gathered that day and Rudolf shone completely. We went to ask him if he would like to see the chandelier of Jiří Pačinek in the glass factory, who we would like to settle here. And they said: “Well, gentlemen, are you asking me again? He must be hanging there. For it is the crown of thorns of Jesus Christ.”




Glass cross in a church alcove Photo: Zdenka Kuchyňová, Radio Prague International

The chandelier was the first, adds Jiří Pačinek.

“I also created an angel. It is now in storage because there is an exhibition of Bořek Šípek. There are glass crosses in these high arches. We want to do custom things that will stay here. I plan to make life-size Jesus with glass.” This is my masterpiece, this is my masterpiece. I don’t have art school, I’m just a trained boy who likes glass, and I’m trying to do something cool with this stuff I like people.”

When you enter the church, you will be surprised for a moment. The church is interestingly lit and with it also glass buildings. Instead of the altar canteen, there is the Tree of Life, explained David Sobotka. Glassmakers originally called the flower anemone.




Tree of Life Photo: Zdenka Kuchyňová, Radio Prague International

“When I installed the anemone in front of the presbytery, there was still such a red church carpet. And then when I asked: ‘Majesty, please, the carpet is not very good for me here it is so old. if we take it away? Father Rudolf said: No, on the contrary. But that cannot happen. And he said to me: Jiří Pačinek’s tree of life will stand in the place holiest.”




Glass nativity scene Photo: Marketa Kachlikova, Radio Prague International

Glassmakers made the glass reliquary of St. Zdislavy




Reliquary of St. Zdislavy |  Photo: Marketa Kachlikova, Radio Prague International

On the altar is a remarkable glass monstrance. It is in fact the reliquary of Saint Zdislava. It was an official gift from the Czech bishops to Pope Francis. David Sobotka told how two glassmakers and a pastor met here. And as it was appropriate to bring a gift to the pope’s audience, they decided to make the glass monstrances as a reliquary. This was done by Jiří Pačinek.

“They always come with tea somewhere, and then I have to. But the monstrance succeeded. We have a reliquary in three versions. Pope Francis has number 1. The second is with us and the third is at the parish or the church in Cvikov. He has Pastor Ruda.”

“I will add that the third original is so itinerant. Rudolf called me and said he had a request from the parishioners of Moravia. He was from Vlčnov in Moravia, so if they couldn’t ‘borrow’ Zdislav and pray to her So Zdislava was already in Moravia, now in Adamov, Saint Zdislava is the patroness of the Liberec region, the patroness of the poor, the sick and families. She died at the age of 35. She was very young. recalled David Sobotka.




Pope Francis with the reliquary of St. Zdislavy |  Photo: Holy See

He added that he still remembers the audience.

“On Wednesday, November 10, 2021, we dressed up, as we say in Czech, and walked through St. Peter’s Square to a special Vatican gate, which is only for diplomatic visits, visits of State, etc. Suddenly we They found themselves in St. Paul’s Hall, which is designed for six thousand five hundred pilgrims.The Swiss Guard came, opened the door and signaled to our Czech group to come stand up. and he stood there, put his hand on my forehead, and blessed me. I’m not a Christian, but I love the Pope that he touches bad things.”




Detail of a reliquary, one of the three cameos Photo: Tomáš Mařas, Czech Radio

There are a lot of Pačinky in the glassware




Pacinek glass |  Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková, Radio Prague International

As I left the church, I saw a small glass flame on each pillar. As Jiří Pačinek pointed out, they are in no way attributed and none have ever been lost.

Jiří Pačinek is one of the most important glassmakers of contemporary art at the international level. He studied with the greatest masters of Czech glass. A few years ago he founded his own studio, Pačinek Glass. First in his house, he then bought a dilapidated building in Neratovice, a few steps from the church. In 2015, a small village glass factory appeared in full beauty in the village.




Pacinek glass |  Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková, Radio Prague International

“I knew the building. It was such a ruin then, so I asked the local mayor if it could be bought. It’s higher from the water, so there’s no risk of flooding. There is a natural gas pipe close to the ground, so it is ideal. We agreed with the village and I bought it. Then my brother and I repaired and built. We all got involved. In the meantime, I hired more glassmakers. And we’ve been here for eight years.”




Pacinek glass |  Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková, Radio Prague International

How did you manage to build a brand behind your name?

“It just happened. Everyone calls me Páča, it’s a nickname and that’s how Pačinek Glass was born. I have a brother, a son, a wife and a sister-in-law here, who accompany him here. So there are a lot of Pačinky.




Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková, Radio Prague International

When selling overseas, is the hook in the name a problem? Do you sell as Pačinek or Pacinek?

“They are different, but it’s Pačinek.”

And you can look into the kingdom of Pačinky and visit the gallery when visiting the foundry.


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