The Mysterious Řeznovice Church of Sts. Peter and Paul

This weekend, I was able to visit several sites around Brno. The first was the church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Řeznovice that I had noticed passing by on a recce trip to the Templstejn area in the Jihlava valley south of Brno. I stopped at the church because it simply doesn’t look like a Czech church. Pulling up to the church this time, I was again struck by how different the church is to the average church in the region. Excitedly, I rushed up to the door only to be disappointed by the fact it was locked. Oh well, at least I could look around the outside of it I thought when a woman’s head popped around the back of the church and said “Je to otevrene” (It is open!). It seems the entrance was actually around the corner!

Once inside, I began an exploration of the church. Czech churches generally are fairly modern inside having been rebuilt at some point in the recent past and some work had taken place here – so no green men or that kind of thing peering at you unfortunately, but plenty of mystery. To be honest, I did not detect any unusual energies in the church but it was certainly intriguing. The visit was a little rushed as the woman was cleaning and preparing the church for a service it seemed. A man was vacuuming while the woman was preparing the seating. I was told the church would be closed when they were done and I asked for ‘5 minutes’. They smiled and said ‘no problem.’ The church must be visited a lot as when I signed the visitor’s book, we skimmed through the many entries from people from all around the world.

St. Peter and St. Paul – Reznovice

The church is really very different and is celebrated as the only example of a romanesque church in Moravia. There are a couple of other examples in and around Prague it seems. Part of the church was demolished in the 16th Century to add a new rectangular nave according to archeological investigations. The central part of the church consists of a square nave with a 5.16 meter long planar edge with three apses. The octagonal tower formation, topped by a pyramid, rises above this part of the church. Strangely, the floor is said to have been made 70 cm higher than it was originally and the church at one time was a two story structure!

From what I can discover – and I am sure I will get better information over time, the court of a nobleman was established there in the 12th Century and the Church was a part of the construction. No one though seems quite sure of its origins which are shrouded in the mystery of time but it may have been founded as early as the early 1100’s. The castle or court in Řeznovice was first mentioned in 1373 when it was owned by one Bohuslav of Víckov. It was destroyed during the Czech-Hungarian wars and in its place was built first a yard and then the rectory of the church.

It seems that a nearby hill fort known as Rokytná came to some sort of grief and the nobleman set up in Řeznovice instead and the church was a private chapel for the nobleman. When the nobleman’s line came to an end, the structures changed hands several times and in 1259 it belonged to the Oslavany monastery and later probably to the Templar comanderie in Jamolice and Templstejn. After 1312, it was acquired by the Lords of Lipá, who granted it as a fief. From 1538, it belonged to the Oslavany family, was abandoned in the 30-years war and 1784 became a parish.

In the 14th Century, a religious text was written into the northern apse and paintings added around the middle of the 16th century. Some of the paintings remain and these were rediscovered in 1947 when the church was reworked and are said to represent St. Andrew and John the Evangelist. Above them are half-figures of angels with inscription strips, and part of the mandorla belongs to a missing figure of Christ. In the lower part of the southern apse is a six-line inscription made on a stone. In one of the side altars that was demolished in 1791, it is said that evidence was found attesting to the consecration of the church on 26 October 1483 in honor of St. Peter, Paul and Andrew.

St. Andrew?


Top of the remaining fresco

Inside, there are figurative tombstones of Markéta Hadburková of Žarošice (+1584) and Kateřina, daughter of Petr Ried (+1584) and heraldic tombstones of Hrubý stonemason Petr Ried (+ 1575) and Ctibor Hostakovský of Arklebice (+ 1603). There is also an interesting stone bearing Kuman inscriptions (Kumans were a nomadic Turkic people) from the early 14th century. The inscription was not deciphered until 1952 by Prague orientalist dr. Pavel Poucha. It is a font similar to Uighur and mentions Marqusz – it is a name on the tombstone of a Kuman warrior who died in Hungarian service. There is also another stone bearing a Templar cross. Both of the latter certainly caught my attention and during later googling, threw up some interesting mysteries as follows.


Tombstone detail

At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the  nearby town of Ivančice was apparently burned down the troops of Duke Albrecht I of Habsburg. His auxiliary troops were largely composed of the Kumans, a Turkish nomadic ethnicity. The Kumans originated from an area that gradually extended from the Black Sea to the borders of present-day Mongolia. However, Tartar and Mongolian expansion eventually pushed them deeper into the center of Europe. Here a certain proportion of the Kuman population found a new home in the territory of Hungary, where it subsequently adopted Christianity and became part of the Hungarian nation. Dr. Poucha deciphered the inscription on the stone as “MARQUSZ”,  which corresponds to the Christian name Markus, or Mark. The stone may be a fragment of a tombstone of a Kuman that was buried there. However, why was the traditional script used?

The mysterious Kuman stone

But the mystery deepens as on the outskirts of Ivančice, there is said to be a small hill, still called Kumán. According to legend, it is a burial mound, built by the Kumans above the grave of their late chief. The story is reminiscent of the legend of the last resting place of the legendary Atilla the hun and a golden treasure of immense value. In the first half of the 20th century, amateur archaeological surveys were conducted here, but they did not support the theory as the base of the hill seems to be made of natural rock.

Interestingly, the name of the village is also translated in German to Regensberg and the church is also often associated with Regensburg, in Germany and with the Romanesque Chapel of All Saints there. Perhaps the link is that the builders of the Regensburg church came to build this one too? Some have remarked on the similarity of the Kuman stone to old Germanic runes and the stone has eight and a half identifiable characters. We can know that it is not a forgery as the famed Bohuslav Balbín in his Epitomae of 1677, speaks of a “church that is paved with tombstones of the Kumans.” While he doesn’t mention the exact location of the church, its location is given between Ivančice and Oslavany near Brno, and must surely be this church.  So, germanic runes or Kuman text? Who knows!

Next to the Kumán stone, is a stone marked with a Templar cross. The Templars first founded a Commandery in nearby Jamolice and later moved it to a more strategic headland watching over the Jihlava River – Templštejn. The ruins of the castle are also surrounded by many legends one of which tells of a secret underground passage from Templštejn to the church and in some legends, a castle near Brno many miles away. According to some sources, the grave of the last Templštejn Commander may be hidden by the church.

Templar Cross

The bell tower contains three bells once of which dates back to 1483 – though it is no longer rung as two newer bells were added in the 1950’s. Until 1793 there was a cemetery around the church . Next to the church is a Rococo cross from the 18th century.

The church can also be purchased as a paper model I discovered!

For me, exploring the land in an esoteric fashion often brings with it remarkable coincidences and events. These little magical happenings are often of great import to the person experiencing them but may seem less than magical to an outsider. In each of these blogs, I will finish by mentioning such instances and let you be the judge.

On this trip, I was accompanied by my rather bemused girlfriend who, while enjoying the history and the trip was always a bit suspicious of the underlying intent. Strange then that the first visit should be to a Czech church with a Hungarian mystery as my girlfriend is Hungarian and lives in Budapest! The second little bit of magic was the connection of this remarkable church to the Templars as we will see, the Templars were a major feature of the weekend trip.

Chapel Interior

Originally posted at


Rajhrad is quite well known in Brno as it lies just to the south of the city and it has a very nice old monastery that was neglected by the communists (used as a weapons warehouse) and is now slowly being restored. Part of the monastery is now used exactly as it was intended – as a Benedictine monastery next to the church of St. Peter and St. Paul. Another part houses a museum and library where, many years ago, I saw a copy of the Devil’s Bible, or Codex Gigas on display. Yet another part is still being renovated and preserved while some parts may even now be small homes.

Rajhrad translates to my poor Czech as ‘Paradise Castle’ and my Czech daughter agreed however, research suggests a better translation may be Eden’s Castle. The origins of the name though hold deeper mystery and perhaps comes from ‘rajati’ or ‘sacred dance’ and ‘hrad’ meaning sacrificial place originally. Thus, the name really speaks to Rajhrad’s pre-christian past. That pre-christian past goes a long way back to the stone age it seems but I am fascinated by its status as a Slavic settlement from around 500 or so. Other translations such as that by PJ Safarik suggests it meant a walled settlement at a place of cult. During the 800’s, Rajhrad was indeed a walled settlement of some importance in the Princedom of Great Moravia. That it was a place of worship in those days is obvious due to the find of a status of Svarog, the Slavic Sun god (now in the museum apparently) and archeological evidence of a small christian chapel.

After 863, christianity started to spread through the Slavic lands of the region by Sts. Constantine and Methodius, but the locals held on to their pagan traditions and gods for much longer it seems to me with only the aristocracy really being overtly christianized. As Great Moravia declined so did the settlement, which was always marshy leaving just a small monastery there and the local population moved to a nearby area that was drier and more secure while protecting the small monastery.

The founding of the monastery is up for debate as there are some fake documents dating to the 13th Century that complicate things. However, it was meant to be founded in 1045 by Duke Bretislav I and was therefore the first monastery in Moravia. Bretislav donated a swathe of local land as well on which the monks and locals could live.

The Tartar invasion of 1241-2 meant devastation for the monastery and it was again ruined in 1253 as a Hungarian-Kumar force swept the region (The Kumar’s also link with the Templar romanesque church in Reznovice – also a St, Peter and St. Paul!). More disasters followed in 1278 as a result of the battle of Marchfield and by the troops of Rudolph Hapsburg who marched through the region such that by 1281, the monastery was in ruins and lived in by Gerhard of Obrany who was forced to vacate by Vaclav II. From that point forward, it had a rather continuous existence and was even the burial place of one George James Ogilvy born in Angus, Scotland in 1605. He was in fact the commander of the forces at Å pilbirk Castle here in Brno (which is just above me as a write…). In 1645, he held his fortress against the Swedes for 16-weeks and for his bravery he was  promoted to colonel and gained the status of a free lord. His annual grant was 1,500 gold, which allowed him to buy a mill in ŽeleÅ¡ice with adjoining houses. He remained in Brno until his death on June 7, 1661 was buried in Rajhrad.

The current monastery though is the one that was rebuilt starting in 1691. The foundation stone was eventually laid in 1722. The only part that is really intact now is the church and it is a beautiful. It also has a real atmosphere…. Anyone interested in the current church can find a lot of information at this website. And just check out the occult symbolism in the image of Mary on the front of the church.


This last Sunday, I went off to the Morava valley in search of Veligrad – the old capital of the Slavic princedom of Great Moravia that appears to have existed between 800-1000 or thereabouts. The name is probably derived from the words Big or Great (Velky) and Castle (Hrad) and descriptions of the place – though few and far between – suggest the place had massive walls and was impregnable. The issue is that the Slavs didn’t write much down….

According to many archeologists, the most likely site is Stary Mesto next to Uherske Hradiste on the River Morava. In fact, the entire river valley seems to have been dominated by a number of settlements in that era. Prior to leaving on my trip, I had done quite a bit of research online. The first part of the trip was to just outside of Kyjov in search of a ‘mountain’ called Naklo. This is an alternate site for Velegrad that hasn’t much support but…. this area was a smoking set of mud volcanoes often with natural fires burning as hydrocarbons escaped. To the east was a desert that existed until 150 or so years ago and was said to be like the Sahara – dunes and all! To the west of it were iron works and iron mines. Combined with a story of dragons about a Naklo, this seemed to me to be an interesting area. It was but more on it in another post!

From there, we drove another 55km to Stare Mesto. 55km! So this area inhabited by Slavic tribes was actually rather large! On arrival, we first went to visit the ruins of a Slavic church on the hillside overlooking Uherske Hradiste. Notes in English helped me understand what we were seeing. A little bit of dowsing established that an energy line appeared to run East-West straight down the length of the church!

In some descriptions of the city of Veligrad, reference is made to three distinctive hills in the background and from here, these could clearly be seen. We then visited a cemetery in Stare Mesto where another building was to be viewed and close by to that a series of posters informed as to the city of Velegrad including reference to those walls!

There is also a museum but of course, at the moment, that is firmly closed.

We then drove a little further to Modra – a town close to the current Velehrad. Here, there is an open air museum showing how life in a Slavic settlement of that era might have looked. Surprisingly, it was open – perhaps unofficially – but we explored the place and I was struck by the standard of workmanship. It truly is worth a visit. I cannot image that the Slavs were clean people though…..

By the museum, I had also heard that another church had been unearthed and we quickly found this and the modern mock up of how that church may have looked.

The three hills could also be clearly seen in the distance.

Today’s Velehad and its basilica were built a tad later and the site has become a place of pilgrimage and for me, a place of Earth energies always worthy of a visit. Today, however, we made a quick drive past Modra to revisit the King’s Table…. a stone circle that was referenced in the 11th Century and certainly is older than that. In the neauty, peace and atmosphere of the King’s Table I spent some moments in quiet meditation remembering a special person who I know would have loved to have visited it… and perhaps she was there in spirit?

Of course, I had used this image for the cover of my book Chasing Dragons in Moravia which, together with Chasing the Shaman, form an account of how I got interested in connecting with the land and how magic is to be found in Moravia.

Vesna and a Slavic Spring

Vesna is the Slavic goddess of spring and she is currently busy making her presence felt with signs of her arrival all around. Yet, Morana, the winter goddess is proving more difficult to dispel this year it seems.

For the three winter moons, I meditated on and invoked Morana. I called her the snow queen for that is how I saw her. On the spring equinox, I too an efficgy I had made of Morana at the beginning of winter and burned and drowned her in the Slavic tradition. Now, for the 3 spring moons, I meditate and invoke Vesna.

While Morana was an ice cold bringer of withdrawal, sleep and death, Vesna is the warm bringer of renewal, rebirth and vitality. She constantly gives me a feeling of pushing out – the pushing out of life and energy. I cannot help but think of breathing when I think of these two polar goddesses – breathe in, breathe out. Vesna also brings a little eroticism lacking in Morana (for me anyway) – she is fertility and fecundity. She is the spark of potential that brings forth life. She is often depicted Venus-like, naked or clothed in the valleys and flora of the land. She is usually shown heavily breasted rather like the very ancient goddess forms found in Moravia. Not only is she potential but also she provides the succulence for life to get started. But she is also shown as a younger woman.

The 23,000 year old Moravian Venus figure found in Slovakia

Vesna and Živa are often said to be synonymous along with other Slavic goddesses but I have a sense that Živa is more representative of summer. She is to me life itself (indeed Živa means life) and represented by a more mature woman. It is tempting to see a trio of goddesses here – Vesna, Živa and Morana and Maiden, Mother and Crone. However, I do not find anything described like that in the literature. But, the funny thing about the Slavic pagan hierarchy is that it is not well described. The Slavs didn’t record anything and worshipped outdoors so much is word of mouth, myth, legend and plain stories.

Velehrad and the 7 Chakras

There is a story that, despite my best efforts, I cannot source yet it is all over the internet particularly as in articles about Earth energies in Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland. The myth or legend states that “many moons ago, Lord Shiva threw seven magic stones towards seven parts of the world, one of which landed in Krakow, in the Wawel Castle. The places that had been hit were instantly imbued with the God’s energy, and remain so to this day. The seven places, known as the world’s chakras, are: Delhi, Delphi, Jerusalem, Krakow, Mecca, Rome and Velehrad.”

Now I can’t be certain that this isn’t some invention made recently to promote Wawel Castle. What I can say is that dowsers and sensitives flock to the place to experience the energy, which is said to be very, very strong. Apparently, the place was even visited by famous theosophists. According to Wikipedia, “the origins of the tale have been traced to a newspaper story published in the mid-1930s. It reported that two mysterious gentlemen from India visited the Wawel Castle and were overly interested in an empty corner of the courtyard, which prompted guesswork. The story resurfaced in the 1980s.”

Velehrad is a small Czech town famous for its Basilica of Assumption of Mary, and Saints Cyril and Methodius. This is a place of significant pilgrimage and also healing energies. Saints Cyril and Methodius are two Greek brothers that led the conversion of the Slavs back in the late 800’s to christianity. I also note that it was in fact these two and five disciples – known as the seven saints (7 Chakras, 7 Saints…), who brought their form of christianity to Moravia. Again, according to wikipedia “in 862, the brothers began the work which would give them their historical importance. That year Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia requested that Emperor Michael III and the Patriarch Photius send missionaries to evangelize his Slavic subjects. His motives in doing so were probably more political than religious.”The capital city of Moravia was a place called Velegrad. The location of Velegrad is still uncertain but the area around Velehrad is a strong candidate.

But back to these seven stones…. apparently, the chakra located in Velehrad is the sixth chakra. It is said to characterized by the union of opposites, intuition, wisdom, clairvoyance, visualizing, fantasizing, concentration, determination, self-initiation, the power of projection, and understanding your purpose. The shadow side of the Sixth Chakra is confusion, depression, rejection of spirituality, and over-intellectuaIizing. At this point, I would point out that, for me anyway, shadow side appears manifest in the Czech social culture quite often as does the idea of determination. I would also see something interesting here in that personally my spiritual interest appears to be in reconciling the opposites – as best seen in the book The Mystical Hexagram. But I digress….

In the Basilica at Velehrad, the energies are palpable. For the pilgrims and the Church, it is a healing energy associated with Mary. For me, it is Earth energies and they are very strong. I found them either side of the main alter where they become incredibly strong. I too see these energies as being associated with a receptive energy (The Goddess). I strongly believe that the site is more ancient than the founding of the basilica in 1205 and its inauguration in 1228. Strangely enough, one of the founders of the basilica was Robert of England, who served as Bishop of Olomouc at the time.

The first time I visited Velehrad and the basilica, I was with a Czech friend who was raised in the area. He didn’t feel the energies but as we walked out of the church and around its side, I was busy explaining how earth energies was often associated with dragons. As we walked by the side of the basilica looking up, two dragons revealed themselves each overhead the area I had sensed the energy. Hidden in plain site said I. My friend was even more amazed when during a visit to the crypt and foundations of the original basilica beneath the current one, we came across an information board. Central on that was an article about how the recent archeological excavation had unearthed a very rare tile depicting a dragon.

I will be visiting the Velehrad area many more times in 2021 as soon as allowed. I believe there are many important things to discover in this area some of which I will write about shortly…. but it is not only the center of the Slavic Moravian kingdom but one, which we shall see, has an affinity for dragons and dragon slayers.

Morana and Spring Equinox

Way back at the start of winter, I engaged in an old Slavic tradition and collected materials from around my neighborhood to construct an effigy of Morana, Goddess of Winter. I used natural materials gathered from the forest and a couple of rubber bands to hold it together. Morana has sat in the room close to my desk since then.

Then yesterday, on the Spring Equinox, I continued that tradition. After meditating and invoking Morana over the three winter moons, it was time to say goodbye. I chose a beautiful spot in nature outside of Brno by Hrad Veveri to conduct this simple ritual that many Slavs would also have been conducting throughout history.

Fittingly, it had snowed overnight and the days was dull with snow flurries. Winter was still evident, yet spring was also with the rushing meltwaters in the stream, the birds singing and the odd crocus peeking through the snow.

In time honored fashion, I set Morana alight. As she burned I thought of the things I desired to rid myself of in life. To help Morana burn, these were also written down on papers attached to the effigy. Then, I tossed her out into the water. Spring has arrived. Winter is done.

It was interesting to conduct this little Slavic tradition that has been performed for centuries across the region. The act of burning away the dross or the unwanted and then tossing that into the waters of consciousness is a strong act of natural magic as well.

I now move on to meditation and invocation of the Goddess of Spring – Vesna – through the three Moons of Spring.