This is the website of the Library of the Metropolitan Chapter of Prague

Besides the catalog of this library we discuss here other aspects dealing with the current state of the library, its structure, gradual growth and the problems it faces. Included are also some historical texts dealing mostly with the Saint Vitus cathedral of Prague and the Metropolitan Chapter. Separate attention is devoted also to some liturgical topics dealing with activities of the Liturgy Institute founded by the Prague Metropolitan Chapter.

The Library of the Prague Metropolitan Chapter belongs among the oldest historical libraries in the Czech Republic. It is not a usual library with given service hours but a collection of historical books intended for expert study of qualified researchers.

The oldest part of the library is the historical archive. It is a collection of important documents dealing with the Saint Vitus Chapter and Cathedral. The oldest original parchment document is from the year 1177 but there are duplicates of even older documents. Many of the documents originated from the activity of the administrators of Prague archdiocese who during the period of sedesvacancy from 1421 to 1561 were elected by the metropolitan chapter to administer the workings of the Prague archdiocese in its representation. Sometimes there were two administrators acting at the same time.

Together with archived documents the Chapter had also been collecting books – manuscripts at first, then incunabulae and printed works. These writings served for personal study by members of the Chapter. It is known that immediately after founding of the diocese of Prague (973) a cathedral school started its work which already in the 11th century attained a European level and attracted students from neighboring countries. Chapter members have acquired books for this school also. Already at that time and also later the additions to the library came mostly from gifts and legacies of the Chapter members. Some of them had owned a book collection very large by the standards of their time.