Prague legends

The Secrets of Saint Jan

If you walk the Charles Bridge at dawn, there are many statues and it is also home to many legends and fascinating truths, merging until they are indistinguishable from each other.

The statue of one particular saint, Jan Nepomucky tells us following story..

Jan Nepomucky was a priest who served during the reign of King Václav IV (Wenceslas; not to be confused with St. Wenceslas) in the last half of the fourteenth century. He heard the confessions of many of the townspeople, including Václav's wife, Queen Sofia. Now, Václav was a peace-loving king, but also a very jealous man, and he suspected Sofia of straying from her marriage vows. Upon returning from a trip abroad, the king cornered Jan Nepomucky and asked what the queen had revealed during confession. The priest refused to tell, saying it was confidential. The angry Václav had Jan hauled into a dungeon and tortured.

Jan Nepomucky tried to strike a bargain: If the torture came to an end, he would tell one soul present in the dungeon what the queen had said. The king agreed, assuming Jan intended to tell him. But Jan asked that everyone present leave the room so he could whisper the secret to the king's dog. The enraged king ordered the torture to continue. Finally the priest died from his wounds, and at night was thrown from the Charles Bridge into the river.

Soon after Jan's murder, there was a great drought and the Vltava nearly dried up. About 500 meters downstream from the place the priest was tortured, five sparkling points of light appeared over the water. People began digging there, and unearthed the body of the priest.

People in his underground network of friends pray to St. Jan and attribute miracles to him. "One man claims that St. Jan helped him save his marriage," When the man found out about his wife's affair, "he went out running in the middle of the night and fell in front of the statue of St. Jan on his knees." In a flash, the man realized the reason his wife had strayed. "Through understanding her position, he understood he was partly guilty,"

Every week another story!


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