Javascript Menu by Deluxe-Menu.com

All Saints Sunday 2017

For the one who had achieved theosis, they knew the only true joy on earth, and the only way to enter into a deeper relationship with God, was to escape from the prison that was their own false self. Theirs was the way of the cross, and a life of self-denial.

Hieromartyr Gorazd
Bishop Gorazd of Prague
Bishop Gorazd of Prague
Bishop Gorazd of Prague

Bishop of Bohemia & Moravia (+1942).

Bishop Gorazd of Prague, given name Matěj Pavlík (May 26, 1879 – September 4, 1942), was the hierarch of the revived Orthodox Church in Moravia, the Church of Czechoslovakia, after World War I. Archimandrite Gorazd was named Bishop of Moravia and Silesia on September 24, 1921, and consecrated bishop on the next day at the Cathedral of the Holy Archangel Michael in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, by Serbian Patriarch Dimitrije.

Over the next decade or so, Bp. Gorazd and his faithful followers organized parishes and built churches in Bohemia. In all they built eleven churches and two chapels. He had the essential service books translated and published in the Czech language, which was the language used in the church services. With Carpathian Ruthenia and Slovakia part of Czechoslovakia, he assisted many who had returned to their ancestral Orthodox faith.

With the conquest of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis in 1938, the church was placed under the Metropolitan in Berlin, Germany. Reinhard Heydrich, who was called The Hangman of Prague, was appointed as ruler of Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. On May 27, 1942, a group of Czech resistance fighters attacked and killed Heydrich. In making their escape, the group found refuge in the crypt of the Cathedral. When Bp. Gorazd found out a few days later, he recognized the serious burden this placed on the Czech Orthodox Church.
 
Before he left for the consecration to the episcopate of Fr. John (Gardner) in Berlin, he asked that the resistance fighters move elsewhere as soon as possible. However, on June 18, the Nazis found out the hiding places after a betrayal by two members of the resistance group, and all the members of the group were killed. Gorazd took full responsibility for protecting the patriots after the Schutzstaffel found them in the crypt of the cathedral. This act guaranteed his execution, thus his martyrdom, during the reprisals that followed.

Reprisals came quickly. The two priests and the senior lay church officials were arrested. Bp. Gorazd, wishing to help his fellow believers and the Czech Church itself, took the blame for the actions in the Cathedral on himself, even writing letters to the Nazi authorities. On June 27, 1942, he was arrested and tortured. On September 4, 1942, Bp. Gorazd, the Cathedral priests and the lay officials were executed by firing squad at Kobylisy Shooting Range. His body was disposed of at Strašnice Crematorium. The reprisals went much further as the Nazis conducted widespread roundups of Czechs, including the whole village of Lidice, then summarily killed the men and children, while they placed the women in concentration camps.

The Orthodox churches in Moravia and Bohemia were closed and the Church forbidden to operate. Metropolitan Seraphim courageously refused to issue any statement condemning Bishop Gorazd. It was not until the end of the war that the Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia would function again.

Share This:


Powered by Orthodox Web Solutions

Home | Back | Print | Top