Václav Havel – death of a statesman

Front page of 'Dnes' – Monday 19th December 2011

Yesterday, Sunday 18th December, was a very significant day in the life of the Anglican Church here in the Czech Republic when we held our first ever service in Brno. However, just as I and five members of the Prague congregation were leaving Coffee Hour following our Sunday morning Eucharist in Prague in order to catch the train to Brno, news reached us of the death of Václav Havel, leading dissident during the communist era, first President of post-communist Czechoslovakia and, following the Velvet Divorce, President of the Czech Republic 1993 -2003.

I returned home from Brno, just after midnight last night, to find the death of Václav Havel as the leading news story on the BBC News website – the first time in over three years of living here in Prague that I can remember a news . . . → Read More: Václav Havel – death of a statesman

The New Atheism and the BBC

Charles Bridge, Prague © Ricky Yates

As I’ve written previously on this blog, ever since moving to the Czech Republic in September 2008, I have happily lived without having a television. Even in my latter years of living in the UK, I only tended to watch television in order to keep up-to-date with the News, together with enjoying the occasional major sporting event if it still was on terrestrial television. I refuse point blank to pay for satellite or cable TV, particularly as most of it is controlled by Rupert Murdoch. And we all now know quite clearly what journalists and others in his organisation do!

Therefore now, in order to keep abreast of what is happening in the world, I have become a very regular visitor to the BBC News website. I find its coverage to be fairly comprehensive, regularly updated and . . . → Read More: The New Atheism and the BBC

Silvestr – New Year’s Eve

In the bleak mid-winter….. © Ricky Yates

Today is 31st December – New Year’s Eve. In Czech it is known as Silvestr as we discovered last year when the car park attendant at our local Billa supermarket wished us ‘hezky Silvestr’ as we gave him our ticket at the barrier. Sybille immediately knew what he meant as today is Silvester in German. And the reason for the name? In the Roman Catholic Church, today is the feast day of St. Sylvester/Pope Sylvester I who died on 31st December 335.

This post is really just a quick update on the things I’ve written about in my three previous December blog posts.

Weather

Not only did winter, with considerable snowfall, come early to Prague this year – it hasn’t gone away! We had a white Christmas with snow already on the ground and more fine powdery snow falling as we . . . → Read More: Silvestr – New Year’s Eve

‘On the Feast of Stephen’

The Czech Radio recording truck outside St. Clement's Church © Ricky Yates

‘Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen’. So goes the opening lines of the well-known Christmas carol, the words being the work of the nineteenth century hymnwriter John Mason Neale. The carol is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia (907-935), who is known in Czech as Svatý Václav, the patron saint of the Czech Republic.

Out of the blue, on Thursday 4th November, I got a phone call from Canon Stephen Shipley, Senior Producer for BBC Radio Religion & Ethics, saying he wanted to record a service, to be broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 26th December 2010 – the Feast of Stephen. His idea was that the service should focus on the twin themes of St. Stephen and St Wenceslas. And because there is a . . . → Read More: ‘On the Feast of Stephen’