Kazimierz Świątek

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His Eminence Kazimierz Świątek
Cardinal Kazimierz Świątek
Cardinal Kazimierz Świątek
DenominationRoman Catholic
Date of birth(1914-10-21)October 21, 1914
Place of birthWalk, Russian Empire, now Valga, Estonia.
Date of deathJuly 21, 2011(2011-07-21) (aged 96)
Place of deathPinsk, Belarus
Ended2011 (death)
Other postsArchbishop Minsk-Mohilev, Apostolic Administrator of Pinsk
Titles/honorsFidei terris Award
Known forSurviving 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 later spent nine years in hard labor in the Gulag and survived.[1]

Early life[change | change 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 | change source]

In Pruzhany in 1939, Świątek was accused of spying. He was found guilty in a 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 | change source]

Świątek was arrested by the KGB on December 18, 1944. He was in 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 was released on June 16, 1954. He returned to Pinsk and his pastoral work in the cathedral parish.[1]

Leadership in the church[change | change 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 | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Swiatek, Kazimierz". catholicnewsagency.com. CNA. Archived from the original on 2012-01-09. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  2. "Belarusian cardinal who survived Gulag, death sentence, dies at 96". The Washington Post. Minsk, Belarus. Associated Press. 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-07-21.[permanent dead link][permanent dead link]
  3. 3.0 3.1 "His Eminence Cardinal Kazimierz Świątek". catholic.by. Conference of the Catholic Bishops in Belarus. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Cardinal Swiatek, survivor of Stalin's gulags, dead at 96". catholicculture.org. Trinity Communications. 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  5. "History of Christianity in Belarus". catholic.by. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Belarus. Archived from the original on 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2011-07-21.