Scouts bring Bethlehem light to Saint Vitus Cathedral
A divine service was held at the Saint Vitus Cathedral in Prague early in the morning after Scouts brought the Bethlehem light to it, Chaplain Jozef Sudor, who served the Mass, has told journalists.
After the end of the Mass, the worshippers can take the light to their homes.
Sudor said the light was to evoke the presence of Jesus Christ among people.
The flame will be burning in the church until the Christmas Eve.
“Lord Jesus came to the world as a light. With his conduct, he left us an example saying we should not only care for our own interests, but that we also should see the needs of others,” Sudor said.
Along with tens of people he prayed for the flame bringing joy and love to homes.
The Bethlehem light came to the Czech Republic from Vienna last week. This is the light that Austrian Scouts transported directly from Bethlehem in Palestine before Christmas.
The flame came to Prague on Saturday and the Scouts were than transporting the modern symbol of Christmas by a period tram across the capital.
“As Scouts, we carry the message that there are some impalpable things and that it is good to think of them at Christmas,” Barbora Trojak, the spokeswoman for Junak, the Czech Scouting organisation, said.
She said the light was voluntarily relayed by hundreds of Scouts who took the flame by train across the Czech Republic, staging local events or carrying it to pensioners’ homes.
Prague Scouts made the last major stop at the New Town Hall at the Marianske namesti square in the afternoon.
They passed the Bethlehem light to Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib when then lit up a candle in the Prague City Hall lobby.
“I am glad that I could follow up the tradition at the City Hall,” Hrib said.
He said this was also because Vit Simral, a Prague City Hall member in charge of educations, sports, science and support for business, was an active Scout.
Trojak said the with the event, the work for the Scouts did not end.
Members of Scouting teams will keep bringing the light to hospitals and to the people unable to fetch it themselves, she added.
In the Czech Republic, the Bethlehem light appeared for the first time in December 1989, following the collapse of the communist regime. It got to the country thanks to the Scouts living in exile who took it just under the Saint Wenceslas Statue in Prague in December 1989.
After the end of the Communist regime, the arrival of the Bethlehem light was one of the first major events at which Scouts could freely meet.
The tradition of the Bethlehem light emerged in Austria, where the light was transported from Bethlehem in 1986. It has been spread into 25 countries since then.