Written by Charito Yeh

Prague is the capital city of Czechoslovakia which is located at the very center of Europe; and its neighbouring countries are Germany, Poland, Russia and Austria. The history of the Infant of Prague started in the 17th century when the statue was brought into Bohemia (now Czech Republic) by a Spanish Lady and was given to the Carmelites at the Church of the Virgin Mary the Victorious in Mala Strana, a small town in Prague, as a spiritual treasure. However, the history of the statuette that has made this church famous began in Spain.

In the Beginning: Spain 1550

St. Teresa of Alvila
St. Teresa of Avila.

The popularity of the Child Jesus grew in the Baroque period (Spain) which may have been caused by the visions of St. Teresa of Avila, the reformer of the Carmelite Order who used to bring a statuette of the Infant Jesus with her all the time when founding convents.

The reverence for the Incarnation emphasizing the human side of Jesus Christ who had become a mere child, was very much alive in Spain at the time.

CLICK to see BIGGER imageA number of sculptures of the Holy Child were made in Spain and these were made of wax, ivory and bronze and were dressed in garments reflecting the aristocratic fashion of that period. It is unknown to this date which of those early sculptures that got to Prague was the exact origin of the Jesus of Prague.

It was speculated that the statue came from a monastery in Bohemia which was then obtained by Dona Isabella Manrique of Spain. On the other hand, it was also said that the statuette is the work of an unknown artist of Spain and in 1550's it was owned by Manrique de Lara family.

When Dona Isabella's daughter, Duchess Maria Maxmiliana (Marie) Manrique de Lara, married the Czech nobleman Vratislav of Pernstejn in 1556, she received this rare family treasure as a wedding gift and brought the Infant Jesus statue to her new residence in Prague.



This noble lady in turn presented the Holy Infant to her daughter, Lady Polyxena of Lobkovice when she got married in 1587. When Polyxena's husband died in 1623, she resolved to spend the remainder of her days in works of piety and charity.

She was particularly generous to the Carmelite priests and brothers of Prague. In 1623, Lady Polyxena presented her beloved statue to the Descalced Carmelites at the church of our Lady Victorious with these prophetic words: "I hereby give you what I prize most highly in this world. As long as you venerate this image you will not be in want."

the globe held by the infantThis statue then became known as the Infant Jesus of Prague which stands nineteen inches high.

It is clothed in a royal mantle and has a beautiful jeweled crown on its head. Its right hand raised in blessing, its left holds a globe signifying sovereignty.

Click to see BIG City of Mala Strana (Brunosmi)

Mala Strana is situated at the foothills of Prague Castle which belongs to the most enchanting and interesting Prague districts and in its charming environment, the Church of our Lady Victorious stands with its facade facing Karmelitska Street. The city was founded in 1257 by King Premysl Otakar II as Prague's second town where Baroque architecture prevails.

It has an eminent place among the numerous churches of Mala Strana, not only for its architecturic structures and artistic decoration, but mainly because it is here that the famous statuette of the Graceful Infant Jesus of Prague is held and venerated. The church was built in the year 1611-1613.



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