Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Cardinal Swiatek, survivor of Stalin's gulags, dead at 96

Catholic World News - July 21, 2011

Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, the retired Archbishop of Minsk, Belarus, died in Pinsk on July 21 at the age of 96.

Born in 1914 in what is now Estonia, Kazimierz Swiatek was ordained to the priesthood in 1939. That same year he was accused of espionage, found guilty in Stalinist show trial, and sentenced to death. He escaped execution when German troops temporarily gained control of the territory, but in 1944, with the Soviet Union again controlling Belarus, he was deported to a prison camp in Siberia, where he endured 9 years at hard labor.

After the fall of the Soviet empire, when the Catholic Church emerged from decades of repression, Father Swiatek was named Archbishop of Minsk in 1991. Three years later, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II. He continued to lead the Minsk archdiocese until finally retiring in 2006 at the age of 91.

Cardinal Swiatek had been the 2nd-oldest living cardinal—surpassed in age only by Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, the former Archbishop of Ravenna, Italy, who is 97.

With the death of Cardinal Swiatek there are now 196 members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 114 are below the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a papal conclave.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach five million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our April expenses ($18,914 to go):
$35,000.00 $16,086.48
54% 46%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16
Russia's demographic recovery + US demographic decline = danger April 16
James Carroll strikes (at the Church) again April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - 15 hours ago
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - 15 hours ago