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Cardinal Beran’s remains to be moved from Rome to Prague in April

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Prague, Jan 9 (CTK) – Czech Cardinal Josef Beran’s remains will be transported to the Czech Republic from the Vatican in April and buried in St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle, the seat of kings and presidents, Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka told reporters on Tuesday.

Pope Francis gave consent to the transport of Beran’s remains last week in harmony with the late cardinal’s last will.

Beran was exiled to Rome, where he died in 1969. He was buried in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican because the Czechoslovak communist authorities did not approve the return of his body to his homeland. He is the only Czech buried in the crypt of St Peter’s Basilica.

In his last will, Beran asked to be buried in St Vitus Cathedral in Prague or in his native town of Plzen, west Bohemia.

The transport of his remains will be organised under strict security measures in cooperation with the armies of both countries and will be funded by the Czech Bishops’ Conference, Duka said.

The remains are to be placed in the tomb in the St Agnes of Bohemia Chapel of St Vitus Cathedral.

The process of Beran’s beatification began in 1998. Duka said it was not apparent how long this process might last.

Beran (1888-1969) became Prague’s archbishop in 1946 after he returned from the Dachau Nazi concentration camp, where he was imprisoned following the assassination of Deputy Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich in Prague.

After the Communist coup of 1948, Beran refused to give in to the new totalitarian regime. The StB secret police arrested him the following year and he was kept a prisoner in the Archbishop’s Palace in Prague for two years. Until 1963, he was interned in different places in Bohemia. Later, the communist authorities banned him from performing the role of the archbishop. In February 1963, he was nominated for cardinal by Pope Paul IV. He was given permission to leave the country and went to a ceremony in Rome, which, however, meant his expatriation as he was not allowed to return.

In Rome, Beran worked within the Second Vatican Council, where he delivered a principal speech on the freedom of conscience.

Due to his long-term internment, Beran became a symbol of persecution over religious belief and he reminded the democratic world of the hard fate of Czechoslovakia.

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