Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sedlec Bone Church

Have you seen the very calcerous Sedlec Bone Church in the Czech Republic, decorated with the bones of 40,000 people? I was fascinated when I first discovered it. Until the advent of the 'New Cemeteries' in the early 19th century, people used to be buried in churchyards and under the flagstones of churches - apparently the decomposing corpses could create quite a stink too! When a churchyard got too full, bodies would be removed and the bones either chucked into a charnel house, or sometimes, as in this case, made into fetching decorative arrangements. As I said in a previous post, the ancinet Romans were really puzzled at the early Christian habit of bringing corpses or bits of bodies into their holy spaces - as 'relics' - as the Romans would never have brought death inside the House of the God. You can see in the Sedlec church, the corpse-in-church habit taken to the extreme. What a morbid religion!


Erik said...

Being in Australia you probably already know about this incredible gravestone in Mount Macedon cemetery, but there's a link to it in case you don't...

Enjoying the blog!

Lou said...

Thanks Caroline - I like the bones

Caroline Tully. said...

Oh wow, that's fantastic. I have seen it once, in a book called "Cemeteries: our heritage' by Celestina Sagazio, it was from a different angle, but I've never seen it in the flesh... or should I say, in the stone... thanks for that.

Josephine said...

Hello Caroline,
I am loving your blog. I'll add you to my links when I next update if you like? The Bone Church reminds me of the Cemetery of the Capuchins David and I visited in Rome. Such a macabre, beautiful place to visit with even tiny baby monks made from the bones. Very gruesome to imagine the monks every night breaking up the bones! Our sense of awe at some of the grisly bone 'chandeliers' was only slightly dispelled by the very loud American who said in admiration, "Mighty fine bone work!"

Minxee said...

Hi there Caroline,

I visited this very church, about an hour south of Prague in Kutna Hora last year.

I'll send you some of my photos if you like.