Prague, May 17 (CTK) – The diocesan phase of the process of beatification of Czech Cardinal Josef Beran, which started in 1998, will be completed and the documents sent to the Vatican on his death anniversary on Thursday.

Beran (1888-1969), who spent many years in internment under the communist regime, became a symbol of suppression of people over their religion, and reminded the democratic world of the hard fate of Czechoslovakia.

Cardinal Josef Beran was Prague archbishop and Czech Catholic Primate from 1946 to 1969. He resisted the Nazi and the Communist regimes and encouraged movements promoting civic rights and freedom of religion.

The communists kept him in internment from 1949 to 1963. From 1965, he lived in involuntary exile in Rome, where he died and was buried in 1969.

Last month, Beran’s remains were transferred to the Czech Republic in accordance with his last wish, and buried in Prague’s St Vitus Cathedral.

The process of his beatification has been underway for 20 years, which, nevertheless, is nothing unusual, as similar processes may take dozens or even hundreds of years.

Beran was appointed cardinal in 1965. He attended the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church (1962-1965), where he demanded religious freedom for all faiths and promoted rehabilitation of John Huss, a Czech priest, thinker and church reformer who was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1415.

A well-known speech of Beran is that he gave on the Radio Vatican in January 1969 in the wake of the death of Czech student Jan Palach, who immolated himself to encourage people’s resistance against the Soviet occupation of the country.