The beginnings of the CCE congregation in Ratiboř are inseparably linked with the issue of the Toleration Patent by Emperor Joseph II in 1781.
However, the ideas of reform and renewal of the Church had been permeating the area since the Hussite movement. Secret Protestants used to meet here for their services. The most prominent personality of this period was the popular evangelical preacher Jan Maniš, who preached at secret meetings. He escaped persecutors for a long time, but was eventually arrested, imprisoned in Brno and deported to Hungary for forced residence, where he died.
After the Toleration Patent was issued on 13 October 1781, almost the entire local community subscribed to the faith of their fathers. The formation of the Evangelical congregation was confirmed on 11 February 1782. The congregation subscribed to the Lutheran confession.
The people initially met in a wooden chapel. Construction of the present stone and brick church was begun in 1842 and completed in 1861. In 2011, the congregation celebrated the 150th anniversary of the church's dedication. However, the ravages of time and adverse weather conditions, especially water, have taken their toll on this building over the years. The church has undergone several repairs and reconstructions, the largest of which took place in 2015. It was financially very demanding, but with the help of the citizens, not only the members of the congregation, Jerome's Unity, other institutions and with the significant contribution of the municipality of Ratiboř, the financial debt has been successfully repaid. Although the church, the dominant feature of the village, is the property of the Evangelical congregation and serves for worship purposes, it is also used by the general public. Concerts are regularly held here, the most popular of which are the Advent concerts and the concerts of the Bells of Good News.
Life in the choir
The adult members of the congregation meet regularly for Sunday worship, while the children have Sunday School at the same time. Bible classes and confirmation exercises are held during the week. The older generation meets for prayer times. There is also a choir that sings at funerals and other events. It is also worth mentioning that some of the girls participate in the unique and very successful musical ensemble Zvonky Dobré zprávy (Bells of Good News), which is based in neighbouring Kateřinice, but is led by parish priest J. Wiera Jelinek. Sister parish priest also teaches religion in the primary school. There are regular Advent evenings, ecumenical services, a World Day of Prayer, family services, a summer children's camp, and a summer handbell camp in cooperation with our friends in Pittsburgh. In the fall, we commemorate the folk preacher John Manish with lectures, occasional contests and parades.
Parishioners in Ratiboř
- Stepan Nikolaides (January to September 1782)
- Samuel Púchovský (1782-1784)
- Jan Lány st. (1785-1824)
- Jan Lány Jr. (1824-1878)
- Bohdan Kalenda (1878-1890)
- Čeněk Dvořák (1890-1926)
- Jan Kantorek (1930-1943)
- Miroslav Janeba (1944-1979)
- Jan Široký (1980-1991)
- Miroslav Hamari (1991-2001)
- Pavla Hudcová (2003-2009)
- Jarmiła Wiera Jelinek (since 2010)