Pavel Smetana was born on 14th July, 1937 in Klokočov. He studied theology at the Comenius Evangelical Theological Faculty in Prague (1956-1961) and at New College in Edinburgh, Scotland (1969-1970). In 1964 he was ordained in Hošťálková. He served as a parish minister for 26 years. In 1987, he was elected Deputy Synodal Senior, and in 1991 followed Josef Hromádka as Synodal Senior. He served two terms, until 2003, at the head of the ECCB. From 1995 to 2000 he also chaired the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic.
As early as 1961, Pavel Smetana had worked in the Commission for Ecumenical Bible Translation. As Synodal Senior he devoted himself intensively to the issues of the day, to a reconsideration of the past, and to reconciliation within society. In 2002, President Václav Havel conferred on him the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.
In an interview for the church newspaper Český Bratr (The Czech Brother), in the summer of 2017, Pavel Smetana named pastoral care, ecumenism and bible study as the church's most important tasks for today.