Zámek Žďár

Matěj Josef Sychra

1776 – 1830

Priest, writer, and musician, Matěj Josef Sychra, lived here 35 years. After completing the Piarist High School in Prague, he studied theology at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University. Following ordination to priesthood he was first posted in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, in Sebranice, Bystrý, and Bělá. During his career, he gradually suffered various health problems that he had to deal with. Having survived typhoid, he fell and suffered a severe injury in the rib area, for which had to be subsequently operated. After his return from the hospital a mentally deranged man tried to throw him off a balcony. As a result of that fall, his knee was badly injured and he limbed for the rest of his life.

From 1808, he was posted to the Jimramov parish, where he authored his main linguistic, educational, and other works. In 1824, he moved to a parish in a house of the former monastery in Žďár nad Sázavou. At that time, the town was ridden by disputes between religious denominations. Moreover, the Pilgrimage Church of St. Jan Nepomuk at Zelená Hora was in a very bad condition, so that before Matěj Josef Sychra arrived, the town even planned its demolition. However, the enlightened Sychra devoted all his energy and finances to repairs of this Baroque heritage site. He is credited with the establishment of a cemetery inside the outer walls, which required restoration of worship masses. He organized collections of donations for the repairs of the church and bestowed his entire estate to the church. His endeavor was crowned with success – on 16.5.1829, the unique structure was re-consecrated. Less than a year later, the dedicated priest dies. He is buried in the cemetery that surrounds the church that he had helped revive.

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