Knights of the Cross with the Red Star

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The eponymous symbol of the order

The Order of Knights of the Cross with the Red Star (Latin Ordo Militaris Crucigerorum cum Rubea stella -. OCr. , Tschech Rytířský řád křižovníků s červenou hvězdou.) Developed in the 13th century from a brotherhood that in the Czech capital Prague charitable activities pursued. This brotherhood was founded in 1233 by St. Agnes of Bohemia , a member of the royal family, at the church of St. Castulus ( sv. Haštal ). 1237 recognized Pope Gregory IX. the brotherhood as an order with its own rule. In 1252 the Lords of the Cross settled at the Judith Bridge (the predecessor of the Charles Bridge ), where a short time later a monastery and the hospital with the St. Francis Church were built ( location ). Because of the convent's location on an important trade route and river crossing, the knights of the order took on the protection, fortification and maintenance of the nearby bridge. The order quickly expanded beyond Bohemia . Branches were set up in Moravia , Silesia , Poland and Hungary .


The Kreuzherrenkloster in the old town of Prague, on the right the dome of the Kreuzherrenkirche
Wenzel Friedrich Hlava, provost of the Lords of the Cross with the red star

The main task of the brothers was nursing the sick and running their own hospitals . The Lords of the Cross also devoted themselves to pastoral care in parishes entrusted to them. The current statute of the order dates from 1675, it was only adjusted in the 1870s. By the end of the 13th century, women who worked in the hospitals were accepted into the community. The highest head of the order bore the title of master (later general and high master). Until the 18th century the order also had lay brothers, later only priests.


The native origin of the Cross contributed to an extraordinary upsurge of this order already under King Wenceslas I in. The order experienced the greatest expansion under Emperor Charles IV , when he administered around 60 hospitals, houses and parish churches in the Bohemian countries and Hungary. In the time before the Hussites , important comers and men were in addition to Prague: Mies , Brüx , Leitmeritz , Eger , Klattau , Aussig , Gurim , Písek , Prager Neustadt , Budweis , Schüttenhofen and Kulm an der Eger , and the provost office of St. Hypolit (Pöltenberg) near Znojmo . In 1301 the hospital in Trautenau (Aupa) was operated by the Cross Brothers , also known as Sword Brothers . With the exception of the Prague Convention, these branches were extinguished during the Hussite Wars.

Also important were those coming in Silesia , especially Breslau , Bunzlau , Schweidnitz and Liegnitz , which existed until the secularization in 1810. From 1735 to 1740 they built Lissa Castle near Breslau . In more recent times, the Knights of the Cross administered a large number of parishes, especially in western Bohemia ( Zettlitz , Karlsbad , Eger , Tachau , Elbogen, etc.) and also a parish in Vienna .

The order played an important role in the renewal of the Archdiocese of Prague in 1561, when the Grand Master of the Cross and Viennese Bishop Anton Brus von Müglitz was appointed head of the archdiocese. In this way, Emperor Ferdinand was able to endow the rebuilt archbishopric with possessions of the Lords of the Cross. The connection between the two functions of Archbishop and Grand Master of the Order lasted until 1668.


The Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star still exists today, but is no longer an order of knights . It is recognized by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life of the Roman Curia as an Institute of Consecrated Life .

In 1990 Grand Master Sirový began a new beginning with seven old friars after the fall of the communist rulers. A convent was set up in the building of the former secret police on Charles Bridge in Prague, where 20 clergy study. Josef Šedivý has been the Grand Master since 2011 .

The most important churches of the Kreuzherren today are the Kreuzherrenkirche in Prague on the Old Town Bridge Tower and the Karlskirche in Vienna .


  • Willy Lorenz : The Lords of the Cross with the red star. Königstein Institute for Church and Spiritual History of the Sudetenland eV, Königstein im Taunus 1964, ( publications of the Königstein Institute for Church and Spiritual History of the Sudetenland 2, ZDB -ID 2003387-4 ).
  • Václav Belohlávek (Ed.): Dějiny českých křižovníků s červenou hvězdou. 2. Volumes (1. Belohlávek: Pražský Convent. 2. Hradec: Vratislavský Convent. ). Nákladem Řádu českých křižovníků, Prague 1930.
  • Franz Jacksche: History of the knightly order of the Knights of the Cross with the red star. Rohlieck u. Sievers, Prague 1904.

See also

Web links

Commons : Kreuzherren with the Red Star  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Saint Agnes - princess and sister in the order | Radio Prague . In: Radio Praha . ( [accessed October 23, 2018]).
  2. ^ Julius Lippert: Contributions to the history of Bohemia, section III. In: local stories, history of the city of Trautenau . tape 1 . kk Hofdruckerei of Gottlieb Haase Söhne, Prague 1863. Pages 10 to 11
  3. Martin Pastrnak: “The Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star” , accessed on December 5, 2015