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Blaj, Romania, Jun 2, 2019 / 04:06 am (CNA).- Declaring their beatification Sunday in Romania, Pope Francis said seven martyred Greek-Catholic bishops gave their lives for fidelity to the Church and in defense of the right to freedom of religion.
“The new blesseds endured suffering and gave their lives to oppose an illiberal ideological system that oppressed the fundamental rights of the human person,” Pope Francis said June 2, during a Greek-Catholic Divine Liturgy in the “Field of Freedom,” in Blaj, Romania.
Pastors - Martyrs - Faith - People - Legacy
“These pastors, martyrs for the faith,” he emphasized, “re-appropriated and handed down to the Romanian people a precious legacy that we can sum up in two words: freedom and mercy.”
"With great courage and interior fortitude, they accepted harsh imprisonment and every kind of mistreatment, in order not to deny their fidelity to their beloved Church,” the pope said, adding that “in the face of fierce opposition from the regime, they demonstrated an exemplary faith and love for their people.”
Valeriu - Traian - Frentiu - Vasile - Aftenie
Blessed Valeriu Traian Frentiu, Vasile Aftenie, Ioan Suciu, Tito Livio Chinezu, Ioan Balan, Alexandru Rusu, and Iuliu Hossu were killed “in hatred of the faith” between 1950 and 1970, during the Soviet occupation of Romania and the rule of Nicolae Ceausescu.
This was a tragic period for the Catholic community in Romania, which was “put to a harsh test by a dictatorial and atheistic regime,” Francis said, noting that not only these seven blesseds, but “all the Bishops and faithful of the Greek-Catholic Church and those of the Latin rite Catholic Church were persecuted and imprisoned.”
Bl - Iuliu - Hossu - God - Darkness
He quoted Bl. Iuliu Hossu, who once said during his imprisonment: “God has sent us into this darkness of suffering in order to offer forgiveness and to pray for the conversion of all.”
Today, Catholics make up less than 6% of the population of Romania, which is majority Orthodox....
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