Bohumín

The town is located in the South Silesia (the Těšín Princedom in the past), on the right embankment of the river Odra. After the Těšín area split up, it became a part of Czechoslovakia, in 1938–1939 it was Polish and later, till the end of World War II, it was a part Germany. In fact, there is a two town: (Old) Bohumín and Šunychl (Schönichl) developing wildly after Ferdinand’s North Railway was opened in 1847. In 1924, Šunychl and its neighbouring villages got the town status and changed the name to New Bohumín. Later, in 1973, it united with (Old) Bohumín, the name of which it kept. A third of the population in both the places was German, displaced after World War II. Nowadays, Bohumín has the population of about 22,700 people.

The Protestant congregation of Bohumín originated from the movement of the Silesian German and Polish people in the late 19th century. The Augsburg congregation started being active in Orlová in 1887 and a year later a branch Lutheran congregation was established there. In 1888, the local Protestants founded a preaching station of the Orlová congregation which had 181 participants at that time. To serve their worship, they borrowed a room at the local school from the management of the Northern Railway. However, the railway school was moved to another place soon and they had to look for another meeting room.

Since the town council refused their demand for using a school room for their religious purposes, they rented a part of Moritz Saffier’s pub but soon started to consider buiding their own church. Their worship took place first Sundays of the month and also on Good Friday, i.e. thirteen times a year.

With an intervention of Dr. Theodor Haas, a Moravian-Silesian Protestant superintendent and rector, and supported by associations as well as individuals, a Protestant church started to be built. After the plot was provided by Count Heinrich Larisch-Mönnich, the foundation stone of the new church (nowadays Štefánikova Str.) was laid on the 12th of August, 1900. It was a one nave, Neo-Gothic, red-brick church with a tower, built on the Latin cross shaped plan, constructed by the local builder Josef Berg who constructed it according to the Brno architect Julius Leischnig’s project. The total cost amounted to about 60,000 crowns. A part of money was donated by the municipal board, local enterpreneurs and believers as well as by the faithful ones from the Netherlands and Germany, most money was given by Gustav Adolf’s Association. The church was consecrated in 1901 and supplied with bells on the 15th of October, 1913. This ceremony was attended by the Old Catholics from Bohumín who also started useing the church for their services.

After Czechoslovakia was founded, the branch congregation and their mother congregation joined the Silesian Evangelical Church. In 1922 it became independent and built a rectory next to the church (nowadays Masarykova Str.) four years later. As written in the memorial book of Bohumín from 1925, the Protestant parish office in New Bohumín looked after approximately 1,000 parishioners at that time, two thirds of them being German and almost one third Polish.

During World War II, the congregation nearly disappeared. The church was given to the German Evangelical Church and confiscated after the war. The Silesian Evangelical Church did not get it back until the beginning of the 1970s when, in 1974, it was reconstructed to get its today’s look. The rectory, though, was repaired a long time after it, in 1991.

Czech Protestants within the Orlová congregation gained independence after Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918, and in 1924 their congregation was established and joined the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren.

Already from 1923, Czech Protestant worship was taking place in Bohumín once a month, in the art room of the Czech school. In 1933, the preaching station of the congregation in Orlová was founded. Except for the war period during which the Orlová congregation was actually dissolved, the preaching station has worked up to now, having their meetings in the church belonging to the Silesian Evangelical Church which they borrowed from them. No worship is served in these days.

The first Old Catholic worship was served in 1904 by the rector Erhart from Mährisch Schönberg / Šumperk. 72 people, mostly of German nationality, converted. Later, the branch congregation of the Old Catholic congregation in Friedland an der Mohra / Frýdlant nad Moravicí (nowadays Břidličná) was founded. The congregation was sometimes called Olmütz – Friedland – Oderberg / Olomouc – Břidličná – Bohumín. Service in Bohumín was given 6–8 times a year in the Protestant church. The Old Catholic branch congregation was dissolved in connection with the displacement of the Germans after World War II.