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Czech Orthodox 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 in 1987. 

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.

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