Miroslav Matouš

* 1921  †︎ 2021

  • “My name is Miroslav Matouš. I was born on October 28, 1921. That day is a famous day in Czech history but unfortunately, it's not as much celebrated nowadays as it used to be. I was born in a village called Nevražice. My dad was the principal teacher. The most beautiful period of my childhood was when I was four to nine years old. I spent that time in Nové Smrkovice. In the winter of 1928/1929, it was terribly cold with temperatures reaching as low as minus fourty degrees Celsius. Later, we moved to Železnice near Jičín and eventually we ended up in Jičín itself. In Jičín, my dad concluded his educational work and later died. I studied grammar school there and graduated in 1940.”

  • “After I was forced to leave the Church by the Communists, I wasn't allowed to attend the services any longer. But I was still seeing the people from Přemysl's circle even when he wasn't there. Furthermore, I was still in touch with the priests Václav Mikulecký, Dana Wienerová, Jurka, with professors Trtík, Rutrle and Červený. So our personal ties remained intact. I stayed in touch with the living, informal Church all the time.”

  • “In that commencing religious struggle, I decided to seek out valuable people from our nation and to speak with them about matters of faith. This actually already began in 1948 after the death of Jan Masaryk. I went to see the brother of president Edvard Beneš. Initially, he didn't want to receive me but then he understood that I wasn't dangerous, that he could speak to me. So we had a conversation and he resolutely denied that Masaryk could have committed suicide. This was a sort of a precedent for all the ensuing talks I had. That was at a time when I still thought that I could write a dissertation about Masaryk. I saw brother František Urbánek, the president of the Brethren Church. He was a very special and valuable man. Later, when I was already a member of the Czechoslovak Church, I spoke with J. B. Foerster, Fr. Šrámek, P. Bezruč, Fr. Kožík, R. Nosková, P. Pitter, J. Glazarová and many others. I wanted to know their positions on important questions of faith.”

  • “I knew Emanuel Voňka who was running a veggie shop at the Peace Square. He later became an adherent of a religious group ideologically close to the Adventist Church. It was, however, an independent group that was convening secretly. The leader of that group, Šimon Kupčík, asked me if the group could meet in my congregation. I agreed and they met twice in my presence. It was a kind of a biblical hour, but it was without permission. When it later was revealed, there was a trial. Matouš wouldn't have been caught, but one simple soul, without being asked, said that they were convening in my congregation and that's how it was disclosed. So my brothers told me that they had something on me and that I should, for example, join the peace advocates. I didn't do that. So they decided they would terminate their cooperation with me. The preacher, Šimon Kupčík, got two years and I was fired. Brother Kupka later told me that I should be glad it didn't end up worse.”

  • “I'm glad you're asking about how I met Přemysl Pitter. It all started in Voňka's veggie. I used to meet Vojáčková – a doctor of philosophy there. We talked and talked and she used to call me 'brother Lucas', I have no idea why. Once she told me that, with regard to my views, I should definitely meet Přemysl Pitter. I didn't know who it was at the time. She revealed it to me and the next day I went to see him. When it came to meeting new and exciting people, I was very quick. I introduced myself to him and told him that I was a teacher of religion. I was calling him 'brother director' and he told me not to call him names and to just call him by his first name. He also offered me collaboration. Somehow, he must have understood, while I was speaking, who I was and what he could expect from me. That was an immense degree of trust. Already the next year, he made me the chief of the summer camp in Mýto near Rokycany. It was a recreational resort. I went there as the superintendent with my wife for three weeks and I had his complete trust.”

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    Praha, 09.03.2010

    duration: 02:05:08
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“God is always standing by me, nothing can shake me.”

Young Matouš
Young Matouš
photo: Archiv pražské diecéze CČSH

Miroslav Matouš was born on October 28, 1921, in Nevratice. His dad was a teacher, his mother originated in a baker’s family from Jičín. After he graduated from grammar school in Jičín in 1940, he briefly studied English at the Institute of Modern Languages in Prague. He had to interrupt his studies as he faced the threat of being taken away to the Third Reich for slave labor. With the help of his friends, he succeeded at deferring his conscription until 1944. Then he was assigned to Skřivany at Nový Bydžov, the construction site of a new armaments factory. At the end of the war, he cooperated with American soldiers as an interpreter in Ostroměř. After the liberation of Czechoslovakia, he enrolled at the Faculty of Philosophy of Charles University, where he studied philosophy, Czech linguistics and comparative religion science. However, he left the faculty voluntarily after February 1948. In the years 1949 - 1952, he was a teacher of the religion of the Czechoslovak Church in Škvorec, Prague-Břevnov and Prague-Vršovice. At the same time, he worked as the editor of the child section of the magazine ‘Czech Fight’. In 1952, he became a preacher with the Czechoslovak Church. He preached in the religious communities of Mělník, Prague-Hloubětín, Prague-Nusle, Prague-Michle and Prague-Žižkov. He was ordained a priest in 1957. In 1958, for political reasons, he was prohibited to practice and from then on, he had to make a living as a manual worker. For the entire period of the Communist rule over Czechoslovakia, he was actively seeking out outstanding personalities which he engaged in discussions about questions of faith and democracy. In this way, he got acquainted with Přemysl Pitter, whose close collaborator he became for two years. After almost ten years of manual labor, he became a preacher of the Unity of Brethren (Moravian Church) in Dobřív near Rokycany in 1967. He remained a preacher for the Moravian Church for the next twenty years. Miroslav Matouš has been an active author since his grammar school studies. He has written numerous poems and memoirs entitled Putování rosou a prachem (Wandering through Dew and Dust). He also wrote a biographical work about Přemysl Pitter entitled Zvláštní člověk Přemysl Pitter (The Extraordinary Man Přemysl Pitter) and about bishop of the Moravian Church ThDr. Adolf Ulrich entitled V uniformě a v taláru (In Uniform and in Preaching Robe). Furthermore, he authored the book of essays Přemítání nad labyrintem (Contemplating about the Maze). He stayed in vivid touch with the Czechoslovak Hussite Church till 1989. After 1990, he picked up on these contacts and after his moral rehabilitation he is actively involved in Czech literature and culture. Throughout his life, he had the steady support of his wife Jarmila. His compass for life was his faith in God. Miroslav Matouš died on 1st April 2021.