Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolences to the Archbishop of Bratislava and the president of the Episcopal Conference of Slovakia, Stanislav Zvolensky, for the death last Saturday of Cardinal Jan Chryzostom Korec, at the age of 91.
The Pope remembers the archbishop emeritus of Nitra, describing him as a “fearless witness of the Gospel and a tireless defender of the Christian faith and the rights of the person.”
The cardinal, who was imprisoned for several years and prevented from freely exercising his episcopal mission, “did not let himself be intimidated, always giving a luminous example of strength and trust in divine providence, as well as faithfulness to the See of Peter,” Francis writes.
“I thank the Lord for having given His Church this eminent priestly and episcopal figure, and raise fervent prayers to God that He might welcome in His eternal joy, after so much suffering, this good and faithful servant.”
The Pope concludes by offering his apostolic blessing to the archbishop, the Slovakian episcopate, the presbytery, religious communities and all the faithful of the diocese of Nitra, whom the cardinal loved and served, as a sign of Christian faith and hope in the Resurrected Lord.
Jan Chryzostom Korec was born Jan. 22, 1924 and secretly ordained a Jesuit priest on Oct. 1, 1950. He was ordained a bishop the following year, on Aug. 24, 1951. He was arrested in 1960 and served eight years in a prison camp.
In 1991, he was made a cardinal. And in 1998, he preasched the annual Lenten retreat at the Vatican.
Cardinal Korec’s death left the College of Cardinals with 218 members, 118 of whom are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave.
The cardinal authored his memoirs, called in English “The Night of the Barbarians”: http://www.bolchazy.com/The-Night-of-the-Barbarians-Memoirs-of-the-Communist-Persecution-of-the-Slovak-Cardinal-P3323.aspx