Doc. Tomáš Novotný

* 1952  

  • “Because the consent to the ministry was tied to the counties, the Church asked all possible counties if they would have accepted me. They all refused me. Even the one in Košice rejected me. Only after further negotiations did Ostrava say I could come for a year trial period to see if I would be better off.”

  • “There were about three kinds of people in churches; there were the ones who said we needed to work with the authorities to avoid endangering the Church. Many of these religious churches were state security agents. Then there was a completely opposite group who considered it their Christian duty to fight against the communist regime. Then there was the middle group that I always counted on. I did not expressly consider it my task to fight against the state, but I was clear that if he wanted anything other than my faith commanded, I must unequivocally obey my Christian beliefs; an example is a government order that people under the age of 15 may not participate in church events. In this case, I insisted we must not listen.”

  • “My older sister studied mathematics and physics, but she quitted for counting did not seem like the real-life fulfilment for her. She went to the Prague Institute for Blind Children who also suffered from mental disabilities. I went there to help her and play with the children. I remember one night I was there with her, when I realized that pleasing one such child was far more valuable than traveling the world and get standing ovations. Until then, that was my clear goal. I've worked far more than my colleagues. I was at the top of the Prague musicians at least. That's when I decided I had to do something else. That I have to quit musical career. And since it was the time of harsh communism and there was a shortage of pastors, I decided to become a pastor.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    v Ostravě, 04.06.2019

    duration: 03:37:03
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    v Ostravě, 17.06.2019

    duration: 02:02:06
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I was obsessed with a musical career. Then I realized that serving people was more important than to travel around the world and receive standing ovations

Tomáš Novotný / Ostrava / June 2019
Tomáš Novotný / Ostrava / June 2019
photo: E.D.

Tomáš Novotný was born on 4 September 1952 in Prague. He grew up in an evangelical family in Vinohrady. He studied French horn, composition and conducting at the Prague Conservatory. At the end of his studies, he decided to give up his musical career and refused the prestigious position of a horn player in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. He enrolled at the Protestant Theological Faculty. At the beginning of the 1980s he started working as a pastor of the Methodist Church in Plzeň. After about two years, he lost state approval to perform clergy. He was eventually allowed to preach in Ostrava, where he moved, and worked there as a pastor until 1990. After the fall of communism, he taught biblical and religious studies, Hebrew and new religious movements at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ostrava. He also lectured at theological faculties in Prague. He returned to music as a choirmaster of the College Choir and also conducted conducting courses. With his Hebrew students, he founded the renowned Adash choir, which was successful all over the world; in Israel as well as in the United States.