.- This morning the Holy Father praised Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, Archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev, Belarus, for his testimony of courageous Christian faith while under persecution, and gave him the âFidei testisâ award, granted by the Paul IV Institute in Brescia, Italy, on the 25th anniversary of itâs founding.
The Pope said that this prize "is the most suitable for a Christian; and even more so for a pastor who is a cardinal, and one who gave faithful and brave testimony to Christ and His Gospel during the difficult years of the persecution of the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe."
Shortly after your priestly ordination, continued the Pope, "Providence called you to take up the 'via crucis' of persecution, united to the passion of the Christian people entrusted to you, personally carrying the cross of prison, unjust condemnation and work camps with their burden of fatigue, cold and hunger."
Recalling the cardinal's words "I could only survive with the faith," John Paul II said, "The Lord gave you a strong and courageous faith in order to overcome that long and harsh trial, after which you returned to the ecclesiastic community as an even more credible witness of the Gospel: 'Fidei testis'."
"With word and example," the Pope concluded, "you have announced to everybody, believers and non-believers alike, the truth of Christ, the light which illuminates every man."