Loading
Belarus’ Cardinal Swiatek, gulag survivor, dies
Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek
Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek

.- Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, the former Archbishop of Minsk who survived nearly a decade in the Soviet Gulag, died on July 21 at the age of 96. He witnessed the persecution of the Catholic faith and its revival in Belarus.

The Catholic Church in Belarus gave thanks to God for the gift of the cardinal as a pastor.

“God summoned his faithful servant, a witness of faith and a symbolic figure of the Catholic Church of our time, who lived a long, difficult and even miserable life,” Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk said in an announcement on the Church in Belarus’ website.

The cardinal was born in 1914 in a part of the Russian Empire which is now in Estonia. With his entire family, he was deported in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. His family settled in Poland in 1922. In 1932 he entered a seminary in the city of Pinsk and he was ordained just before World War II.

He was imprisoned by the invading Soviets but escaped when Hitler attacked in 1941, Polish Radio reports.

After the Soviets returned, the future cardinal was deported to Siberia in 1945. He spent nine years of hard labor in the brutal Gulag system until his release in 1954.

He returned to Pinsk, now part of the Belarusian Socialist Soviet Republic, where repression of the Catholic Church would remain strong until the late 1980s.

When freedom of worship began to return, then-Fr. Swiatek helped organize the restoration of the cathedral in Pinsk. He also became active in working with nascent Polish associations.

Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop in 1989, and then the Archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev in 1991.

In 1994 he was made a cardinal as a result of his work on the revival of the Church in Eastern Europe. Though he retired in 2006, he remained active and respected.

Cardinal Swiatek suffered from poor health towards the end of his life and underwent several operations which Archbishop Kondrusiewicz characterized as a “new Golgotha.”

“From my heart I thank all those who were close to the cardinal in the difficult moments of his life and prayed for his intentions,” Archbishop Kondrusiewicz continued.

“I appeal to all of you, dear pastors, nuns and faithful people to pray for the eternal peace of our beloved pastor, that he be happy in heaven, living in the light of God's glory.

Funeral Masses for the cardinal will be held in the Archdiocese of Minsk and in Pinsk from July 23 to 25.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
23

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »

Saint
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: