Chapel V Lipkách

The branch church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, called the Chapel V Lipkách, is the most valuable historical monument of contemporary Rýmařov, whose significance far exceeds the regional level. This Catholic sanctuary is rightly considered the pearl of North Moravian Baroque.
The author of the project and the builder of the chapel was the Rýmařov master builder Friedrich Höβler, grandfather of the first known Rýmařov chronicler Jan Josef Langer (1729-1812). Already on 1st October 1710 he began construction on an unusually large elliptical floor plan. Three years later, in 1713, the builder completed the rough construction. 
The author of the frescoes in the chapel is Olomouc master painter Ferdinand Naboth. The subject of his work was an illustration of the verses of the prayer to the Virgin Mary Salve Regina (Hail Queen). He managed almost the entire draft, but the work worsened his health and he had to stop the work for good. Fortunately, just before his death, Naboth accepted as a journeyman the unknown Jan Kryštof Handke, who knew the Rýmařov environment well - he was born in 1694 in Janovice.
Handke's only fresco from 1715 is above the main entrance, its concept, different monumental composition and the difference in colour are fundamentally distinct from Naboth's works. The interior decoration consists of a set of four sculptural altars (St. John of Nepomuk, St. Anthony of Padua, Fourteen God's Helpers and the Virgin Mary) from the Olomouc workshop of sculptor David Johann Zürn. He is also the author of the monumental main altar with statues of the four national patrons (St. Prokop, St. Wenceslas, St. Vojtěch and St. Zikmund), there is also an altarpiece by J. K. Handke with the subject of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary from 1724.

A hermitage stood near the newly built church. The last Rýmařov hermit was Antonín Skolaut, who lived in the hermitage until 1772, when he died at the respectable age of 92. In the forecourt of the church, there were plague pits in the 17th and 18th centuries, where victims of plague epidemics from the surrounding villages were buried. Franz Brixel also states that there used to be the second town cemetery next to the chapel.

Fortunately, the chapel has avoided natural and devastating disasters over the decades. In 1883, lightning struck the bell tower of the church. As a result of the fire, the original thatched roof burned down, but fortunately the fire was extinguished before the valuable frescoes of Naboth and Handke could be damaged. At the beginning of the 20th century, a park (Karlsplatz) with flower beds was built in the area in front of the chapel. At the end of World War II, when Rýmařov was shelled by Soviet army artillery, several grenades exploded near the chapel. Traces of the explosions were still visible in the following years, but the statics were not damaged. František Vaňák, parish priest from Rýmařov, took great care of the chapel; he was able to find funds for the restoration of the frescoes. The restoration work on the fresco decoration was led by the academic painter from Kroměříž František Sysel in the years 1959–1961, but the restoration of the outer shell, floor and other parts of the building continued until 1974. Due to the weight of the vault and the expansion of the walls, the church had to be retracted from the outside with two steel ropes in later years . (A few years ago, the alliance coat of arms above the main portal and the entrance door were also restored.)

In 1990, František Vaňák celebrated one of his last Rýmařov masses in the chapel, as the Archbishop of Olomouc. Since 2013, this cultural monument has been opened not only to parishioners and pilgrims, but also to tourists and visitors to the town. Since 2011, under the leadership of the Town Museum, the spiritual space of Rýmařov chapel has become the venue for several cultural events, whether musical, such as a lute concert by Richard Závada, a concert of classical music performed by organist Jana Havlíčková and flautist Tomáš Pelikán, or regular performances by local choirs Vox montana, Variations, Bernardini, or exhibition events (Temple (Un)silence exhibition, Crosses of the Rýmařov region). The Roman Catholic parish of Rýmařov, in cooperation with the museum, also regularly organises the Night of Churches here. The chapel V Lipkách has thus become an important centre not only of the spiritual life of the village, but also a cultural centre.



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