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Czechs wants to bring remains of Cardinal Beran from Vatican

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Prague, Nov 24 (CTK) – Czech Ambassador to Vatican Pavel Vosalik asked Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolini in September for a permission to lift up the remains of Czech Cardinal and Prague Archbishop Josef Beran and bring them home, server quotes him as saying.

Vosalik said he believes his request may be successful.

Beran was exiled to Rome, where he died in 1969, and was buried as the only Czech in the St Peter’s Basilica.

“In his last will, Cardinal Josef Beran wished to be buried in Prague or in his native town of Plzen. Cardinal Dominik Duka yearns to fulfil his intention. Negotiations are currently under way with the relevant Vatican congregation,” Stanislav Zema, spokesman for the Prague Archbishopric, told CTK on Friday.

A symbolic reconciliation of the wrong done to him by the StB Communist secret police, which marred the Feast of Corpus Christi he served in the cathedral on June 19, 1949, would be achieved by depositing his remains in the St Vitus Cathedral.

“We need to have this in writing though. The grave is in one of the most sacred places of the basilica, underground, where the grave of St Peter is also situated,” Vosalik said.

Beran’s body rests in the proximity of one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, who is regarded as the church’s first pope.

The remains would likely be placed in the tomb of archbishops in the St Vitus cathedral in 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia.

Historian Jaroslav Sebek, from the Historical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, said the initiative to return Beran’s remains to the Czech Republic was a good thing, writes.

Beran was buried in the Vatican as a result of the political situation in Czechoslovakia then, during the first year following the Soviet-led occupation of the country.

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

After the coup of 1948, Beran refused to give in to the Communist regime. The StB 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 Communists banned him from performing the role of the archbishop. In February 1963, he was nominated a 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.

In Rome, Beran worked within the Second Vatican Council, where he delivered a principal speech on the freedom of conscience. When he died in 1969, Czechoslovak Communists did not allow his remains to be transported to his homeland.

At the pope’s request, his remans were deposited in the crypt of St Peter’s Basilica.

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