In an article entitled, "The Gulag Archipelago in Romania: The Story No One Has Told Before," the noted Vatican expert from L'Espresso, Sandro Magister, will release tomorrow an exclusive testimony of an Eastern Catholic priest who spent sixteen years in communist prisons "at the limits of the imagination."
The testimony was delivered at the presentation of the book, "Faith and Martyrdom: The Eastern Catholic Churches in Twentieth Century Europe,” which took place at the Vatican on Tuesday, March 23.
According to Magister, the account of Greek Catholic priest Tertulian Ioan Langa’s imprisonment "is both spiritual and very concrete - part Solzhenitsyn, part ancient martyrology. It unfolds between the mystery of iniquity, pressed to the limits of the imagination, and the mystery of grace, with the ‘Holy Providence’ that works through the hands of the unsuspecting jailers."
"At a time when the word 'martyrdom' is much abused, being applied as well to the 'shahid' Islamists who blow themselves up in order to commit massacres, this is a testimony that helps to recover the truth. It is absolutely not to be missed," Magister writes.
A portion of the testimony Magister will fully release tomorrow on his web page www.chiesa.espressonline.it/english says:
"I remember Holy Thursday of 1948. For two weeks, every day, they had beaten me with a rod on the soles of my feet, through my shoes: it seemed that lightning coursed through my spine and exploded in my brain. But they didn't ask me any questions. They were getting me ready, using the rod to soften me up for the interrogation. I was bound hand and foot and hung upside down, and my jailers stuffed into my mouth a sock that had already been long employed in the shoes and the mouths of other beneficiaries of socialist humanism."
"The sock had become the noise-reducer that prevented the sound from passing beyond the place of interrogation. But it was practically impossible to emit a single moan. Moreover, I had frozen psychologically: I was no longer capable of crying out or moving. My torturers interpreted this behavior as fanaticism on my part. And they continued with increasing fury, taking turns in torturing me. Night after night, day after day. They didn't ask me anything, because they weren't interested in answers, but in annihilating a person, something that was delayed in coming. And as the effort to annihilate my will and overshadow my mind was prolonged, so was the torture indefinitely prolonged. The battered shoes fell from my feet, piece by piece..."