Kazimierz Świątek

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His Eminence Kazimierz Świątek
Cardinal Kazimierz Świątek
Cardinal Kazimierz Świątek
Religion Christian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Office Cardinal
Date of birth October 21, 1914(1914-10-21)
Place of birth Walk, Russian Empire, now Valga, Estonia.
Date of death July 21, 2011(2011-07-21) (aged 96)
Place of death Pinsk, Belarus
Began 1994
Ended 2011 (death)
Other posts Archbishop Minsk-Mohilev, Apostolic Administrator of Pinsk
Titles/honors Fidei terris Award
Known for Surviving a Soviet death sentence and the Gulag

Kazimierz Świątek (Belarusian: Kazimir Sviontek; born October 21, 1914[1] – died July 21, 2011[2]) was a Roman Catholic Cardinal in Belarus. He was sentenced to death by the Soviet Union, but escaped after two months. He was later spent nine years hard labor by the Gulag and survived.[1]

Early life[change | edit source]

Świątek was born at Valga in the Apostolic Administration of Estonia on October 21, 1914.[1] He graduated from the Major Seminary in Pinsk, Belarus. Świątek was ordained as a priest on April 8, 1939[3] He was sent to work in Pruzhany.

Death sentence[change | edit source]

In Pruzhany in 1939, Świątek was accused of spying. He was found guilty in Stalinist show trial, and sentenced to death. A show trial is a highly public trial where the sentence has been decided before the trial starts. When German troops gained control of the territory, Świątek was able to escape from prison and avoid his execution.[4]

Siberian labor camp[change | edit source]

Świątek was arrested by the KGB on December 18, 1944. He Minsk until July 21, 1945. Świątek was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in the Gulag concentration camps. He spent two years in Mariinsk, Siberia, and seven years north of the polar circle in Vorkuta and Inta. He release on June 16, 1954. Świątek returned to Pinsk and his pastoral work in the cathedral parish.[1]

Leadership in the church[change | edit source]

On April 13, 1991, Pope John Paul II appointed the 77 year old Świątek the first archbishop of the new archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev. He was also appointed the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Pinsk.

On November 26, 1994, Pope John Paul II named Świątek Cardinal. On February 11, 1999, Cardinal Świątek was elected the first president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Belarus. On the 14th of June 2006 Pope Benedict XVI accepted Świątek's resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Minsk.[3][4][5]

Other websites[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]