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Cardinal Duka celebrates mass on Havel’s fifth death anniversary

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Prague, Dec 18 (CTK) – The late Czech dissident and first post-communist president Vaclav Havel devoted his life to saving and restoring Czech freedom, Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka said during a requiem mass he celebrated in St Vitus Cathedral on Havel’s fifth death anniversary yesterday.
Havel (1936-2011) strived for the Czech nation’s sovereignty, the rule of rationality, tolerance and respect for other people. He did not know hatred or envy, Duka told the crowd of believers including Havel’s family and politicians.
The national anthem was played at the close of the divine service.
“Love and truth will prevail over lie and hatred…These are the words he [Havel] cited from the mission of Jesus, St Paul, SS Cyril and Methodius, St Wenceslas, and, if you want, also of Master John Huss and George of Podebrady,” Duka said.
These words also figure on the presidential standard the first Czechoslovak President, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, hoisted at Prague Castle, Duka said.
Cyril and Methodius were the ninth-century Byzantine missionaries who introduced Christianity in Great Moravia.
St Wenceslas, the 10th-century duke of the Czech Premyslid dynasty, is the saint patron of Bohemia.
John Huss was a Czech medieval priest, thinker and church reformer who suffered a martyr’s death on a stake.
George of Podebrady, the King of Bohemia in the latter half of the 15th century, is known for his toleration of various Christian streams and for his promotion of peace among states.
“We would not be Vaclav Havel’s successors if we hated and blackened our opponents,” Duka said.
He said Havel opened the door to freedom and dignity for Czechs, and won worldwide respect for the Czech nation after its long years of decline.
During the mass, the participants prayed for the nations subdued by totalitarian and Islamist regimes.
In live transmission on Czech Television, Havel was commemorated by Angelika Pintirova, a nun who cared for him until his last days in his countryside house in Hradecek, east Bohemia.
She said Havel was a very open man who approached all people equally, ministers, the Dalai Lama and cardinals in the same way as the east Bohemian Romanies or cinema usherettes.
Havel always remained authentic. He never pretended anything, in spite of being surrounded by cameras, Pintirova said.

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