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Leading Polish anti-Communist prelate dies

January 03, 2013

A Polish prelate who defied Communist authorities by overseeing the construction of hundreds of churches has died at the age of 94.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1942, Archbishop Ignacy Tokarczuk was consecrated bishop of Przemysl in 1966, which he governed until his retirement in 1993.

“While Ignacy Tokarczuk was bishop of Przemysl, more than 400 churches and chapels were built in the diocese, despite the lack of building permits from the Communist authorities,” said his successor, Archbishop Józef Michalik. Typically, a Catholic layman would secure a permit to build a structure such as a barn, and during the night the structure would be transformed into a church.

“He will be remembered for his uncompromising stance in defense of the institution of the Catholic Church despite frequent harassment by the security service of the Polish People's Republic,” added Archbishop Michalik.


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  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Jan. 04, 2013 8:09 PM ET USA

    To consider that Bishop Tokarczuk carried out his ministry of building up the Church - literally constructing more than 400 in one diocese - in the face of an atheistic hostile communist governement while under constant surveillance and harassment is a tremendous witness to the power of faith. It causes me to wonder why so many Churches, maybe in the hundreds or thousands in the U.S., where religious expression is "protected" by law, are closing? Maybe this too is a matter of faith?

  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Jan. 04, 2013 4:10 AM ET USA

    May he rest in peace in the presence of God! He and others like him are the true heroes of the 20th century, men and women who risked their lives by defying atheistic Communism, which sought to make the State the god of people's lives. How many Ukrainians, Poles, and others were murdered....disappearing virtually overnight, and were never thought of or mentioned again. They fought and won their battle. Our fight against the same ideology is yet to come! May we do as well as they did!