The Church of Our Lady Victorious is the very first Baroque church built in the Czech Republic. It also features a handsome Baroque tower that has since faded to a dull green with a gold cross on the top. Aside from the church's architectural significance, it is famous for hosting one of the most renowned effigies in the world, the Infant Jesus of Prague. The Infant Jesus statue, a wax image of the Infant Jesus, is believed to have extraordinary healing powers. This fact alone makes the Church of Our Lady Victorious one of the most sacred and popular pilgrimage sites in Europe. It is also one of the top attractions during Prague tours and simply a beautiful cathedral to take in.
The impressive basilica was originally constructed for the Lutherans in the early seventeenth century. It was built by Giovanni Maria Filippi and originally called the Church of the Holy Trinity. The church was given to the Carmelites—a Roman Catholic Religious assembly—after a major battle in 1620. After the battle of "White Mountain" as it was named, the Carmelites rebuilt the Church of Our Lady Victorious. In the year of 1628, the Infant Jesus of Prague was donated to the church by a noblewoman named Polyxena of Lobkovic, an aristocrat from the Bohemia region who once owned the famous Lubkovic Palace.
The are no real words that do justice to the incredible and sacred importance of the Infant Jesus statue. While many effigies of the Baby Jesus are on display throughout the world only within the Christmas season, the Infant Jesus of Prague remains on exhibition every day of the year. It is the most often-visited statue on Prague tours, coming second to no other attraction for millions of believers. The small museum situated at the back of the Church of Our Lady Victorious is home to numerous elaborate dresses specially made for the Infant Jesus of Prague. There is even one that was embroidered by the venerable Maria Theresa. The statue is almost 20 inches high and made of wood with a wax surface. One hand is raised in a blessing while the other bears a cross.
There is a very long and absorbing history behind the miraculous Infant Jesus statue and the many hands it passed through before it was donated to the church. Originally, the Infant Jesus of Prague came from Spain where it is said to have miraculously appeared to a monk who then fashioned a likeness of it based on the presentation of the apparition. Another legend reveals the Infant Jesus statue belonged to St Theresa of Avila, the founder of the Carmelites, who then gave it to a friend's daughter heading off to Prague. Upon marrying a Bohemian noble, Duchess Maria Manrique de Lara received the Infant Jesus of Prague as a wedding gift from her mother. Upon the widowing of her daughter Polyxena of Lobkowicz, the statue was given over for the last time in 1628, this time to Carmelite monastery attached to the Church of Our Lady Victorious.
The church is open to the public throughout the year and offers extended hours from June to September. Sundays are the most special time to visit but the church is only open to visitors from either 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., depending on the season. Getting there is uncomplicated. Crossing Charles Bridge, head toward the Prague Castle and by St Nicholas Cathedral on Karmelinska Street and from there the Church of Our Lady Victorious will be most evident. The Church is also close to the Vltava River, Old Town Prague, and the Old Jewish Quarter.