Church commemorates St. Gorazd's death under Nazis
Czech News Agency
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 8:49 PM
Prague, Sept 4 (CTK) - The Czech Orthodox Church today held two events
commemorating the 65th anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Gorazd, who
was tortured to death by Gestapo on September 4, 1942 and declared saint
Bishop Gorazd was in charge of the St Cyril and Methodius church in
Prague, in whose crypt he provided hiding to Czech parachutists after their
successful attempt to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, Nazi Reichsprotector
of Bohemia and Moravia, in May 1942.
The parachutists died in a Nazi raid of the church a few weeks after
Heydrich's death. Gorazd put all the blame for the parachutists on himself
and was executed.
The Orthodox Church was banned by the German occupiers. Many orthodox
church-goers were sent to forced labour and concentration camps, their
property was confiscated and many of their clergymen were executed.
The present number of believers and followers of the Orthodox Church
in the ten million Czech Republic is estimated at more than 100,000, 70,000
of whom are Slovak citizens and 30,000 Czech citizens.
The church also serves foreign church-goers, mainly Russians, Ukrainians,
Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks, Romanians and other nationalities living in
the Czech Republic.