Holy Hostyn - the Pearl of Moravia

Svatı Hostın, Holy Hostın,

is the most frequently visited pilgrimage shrine in Moravia and after Velehrad the most memorable one. For three centuries now thousands of pilgrims have been converging on Hostın mountain (735 meter above sea level) with its sanctuary of Our Lady (a Basilica minor) to seek and find there a refuge from their troubles and needs.
Several archeological surveys of the location have shown traces of habitation from as far back as the Late Stone Age. The remnants of a fortification (with a circumference of more than 1.800 meters) of the La Tene culture of the Celts are conspicuous there. Recent research has vindicated the assumption that Hostın was the second Celtic oppidum in Moravia (the first being Staré Hradisko near Protivanov).
Above the main altar of the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady is located a life size statue of the Virgin Mary. The Child Jesus, whom she is holding in her embrace, is aiming bolts of lightening at the Tatars depicted beneath the statue. These cruel marauders, who were threatening Europe during the 13th century, invaded Moravia in 1241, murdering and plundering. The people sought refuge in the forests and mountains to save their lives and whatever property they could bring with them. According to legend, those who found refuge on Hostın were saved through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, when the encampment of the marauders was destroyed by fire caused by lightning. Another legend tells of a visit to Hostın by the Apostles of the Slavs, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, who are said to have destroyed a pagan place of worship there and erected a chapel in honor of Mary.
 Written records concerning Hostın come chiefly from the Jesuit Bohuslav Balbín. In the book, Sacri pulveres, of 1669 by George Crugerius, we read that the people saved from the Tatar invasion erected a statue of the Guardian Virgin Mary on Hostın mountain out of gratitude. Until the Thirty Years' War there was a small church on Hostın mountain which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. On the orders of the non-Catholic rulers of the domain the church was destroyed.
The present basilica has its origins in a magnificent edifice, which was built at the expense of Jan of Rottal and his heirs. Its cornerstone was laid in 1721. The completed edifice was solemnly consecrated by Bishop Ferdinand Julius Trojer of Olomouc on July 28, 1748. This church was destroyed several times and the entire mountain of Hostın was abandoned completely. By imperial decree of Joseph II in 1784 the sanctuary was declared superfluous and pilgrimages were prohibited. During the first half of the 19th century the faithful began a fund-raising campaign in order to restore the church, which, as a result, was consecrated anew in 1845.

The statue of the Virgin Mary of Holy Hostın

The original painting of the Guardian Virgin Mary was destroyed in 1620. A later painting, which was donated by the Rottal family, was transferred to the parish church in Bystøice pod Hostınem and replaced with the present statue of the Virgin Mary created by the sculptor Benedikt Edel of Brno.
The concept of the Victorious Virgin Mary is unique in the whole world. Czech expatriates scattered abroad find in the devotion to the Virgin Mary of Holy Hostın a religious and emotional bond with their motherland. The Victorious Guardian of Moravia is the guardian of us all.

The Holy Hostın Foundation

Towards the end of the 19th century the Society of Holy Hostın was established at the initiative of the archbishop of Olomouc, A. C. Stojan. Since 1895 its work has been taken up by the Holy Hostın Foundation, its first concern being the erecting of sleeping accommodations for the pilgrims.
At present the Foundation has over seven thousand members. Its principle objective is to preserve the Christian character of Holy Hostın for generations to come both as an important pilgrimage place and also a cultural monument. Together with the Jesuits who are in charge of the pastoral care at the sanctuary, the Foundation is responsible for the administration, maintenance and repair of the buildings, and secures funds for the further development of Holy Hostın. It offers all kind of services to the pilgrims, especially lodging and meals, publishes the periodical Listy Svatohostınské and supplies information to both pilgrims and tourists on its Website on the internet. Last, but not least, together with the Jesuits it organizes scores of educational and cultural courses at Hostın.
Visitors of the sanctuary also have the occasion to enjoy the beauty of the natural park surrounding Hostın mountain (e.g. Skalnı, Tesák, Rusava or Rajnochovice). Well- marked tourist paths are open to mountain cycling in summer and cross-country skiing in winter. Also of interest are the nearby provincial towns of Bystøice p.H. and Holešov. Even larger cities like Kromìøiž, Olomouc and Zlín with their numerous cultural monuments are easy to reach from Hostın.
Modest accommodations as well as high standard ones, with the possibility of full board, are offered at Hostın throughout the year along with lecture halls for schooling, retreats or family gatherings and celebrations of all kind. There is regular bus service from Bystøice p.H. Boarders may obtain a permit to enter the mountain road with their private cars. For further information, services, and/or booking, please contact us by telephone (+ 420 573 381 693) or on the internet.


Monasteries, Pilgrimages