Similarly to the Olšany chapel of St. Roch, the New Town council purchased land and adapted it to a cemetery for the plague victims from the New Town in 1680. The holy field was consecrated by Jan Vácslav Olomúcký. As a consequence of the next plague epidemic in 1713–1714, the New Town Primate, Jan František Krusius of Krausenberk, decided to build the Church of Ascension of the Holy Cross which was consecrated on October 29, 1720 by Reverend Josef Benedikt Schönpflug of Gamsenberk. Based on the increasing numbers of funerals, the New Town council had a Funeral Brotherhood of Mater Dolorosa established and a Marian chapel built afterwards. In the evening of May 6, 1757, following the battle of Štěrboholy, the Prussians arrived and in accordance with their Lutheran creed, they irreversibly ruined the venue and stole whatever they could... they put on the chasubles and then defecated in the church. (Fr. Ekert)
The Funeral Brotherhood and the cemetery were discontinued in 1787, the church became a parish church and the parish was established. Masses were held in the church until 1842, when its parish function was taken over by the St. Roch church, and the Holy Cross was finally deconsecrated. The Chapel of Mater Dolorosa was demolished in 1890; the Čajkovského Street runs over its place nowadays. The former church building was then used as a warehouse, the rectory was inhabited by the poor and the former cemetery was used as a vegetable garden. In 1962, one wing of the rectory and the vestry were pulled down due to their poor condition. The only realistic chance of rescue came in the early 1970’s. In their concept of Žižkov remodeling (razing), the architects included the building as part of the future city facilities. The project was entrusted to Ing. arch. Jaroslav Koreček whose design was later amended by architect Ivo Bílý. The reconstruction finally started in 1977 and took 7 years to finish. The nave was converted to a concert hall, and the Baroque base received an annex with the Atrium exhibition hall. There is a square patio in the centre, and a shell-shaped fountain by Jindra Viková, Peter Orieško and Pavel Baňka in the spot previously occupied by a timbered well. The author of the Sitting Girl in front of the entrance is Jan Bartoš and the stained glass in the exhibition hall was created by Eliška Rožátová.