Minsk, Belarus, Jul 22, 2011 / 01:24 am
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.