2 Arrested in Murder of Priest in Russia

Father Jan Hermanovsky to Be Buried in Slovakia

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MOSCOW, JAN. 26, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The murder of a priest in his parish is a «crime without scruples,» says the president of the Russian Catholic episcopate.

The murder in Brjansk last Thursday of Father Jan Hermanovsky «demonstrates to us once again how much need today’s society has for evangelical values to be proclaimed,» said Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, head of the episcopate.

The 70-year-old priest of Slovak origin was killed by two robbers who entered his residence. Russian police have arrested two 20-year-olds in the case.

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, who heads the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow and who knew the victim personally, remembers him as «a man of God.»

«He always stood out especially because of his commitment to Christian unity and his singular dedication to the poor and marginalized,» the archbishop told the Fides agency.

Father Hermanovsky himself «distributed food among the homeless in the station of his city,» so that «the thieves would not have found much to steal in his residence, given that all that he had, he gave to the needy,» the prelate stated.

Father Hermanovsky arrived in Italy in 1968. He studied at the Lateran University, was ordained a priest in 1974 in Rome, and worked in several parishes before being incardinated in the Diocese of Florence in 1978.

He returned to his homeland in 1995 and went to work in the Russian Federation in 1998. At first he worked in the parish of Oriol in Moscow and, in December 2001, he was sent to the city of Brjansk, to re-establish the former parish.

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz presided at Father Hermanovsky’s funeral Tuesday in the Catholic cathedral of Moscow. On Thursday, he will preside at the priest’s burial in Slovakia.

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