Priest Anton Srholec has died at age 86.

By BosNewsLife News Center

BRATISLAVA/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– Slovak Roman Catholic priest Anton Srholec, who was jailed for his faith and became “a symbol” of suffering of the country’s persecuted church under communism, has died, officials confirmed. He was 86.

His Slovak branch of the Salesians of Don Bosco order said Srholec died earlier Thursday morning, January 7, a year after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

“His life was a symbol of the struggle for faith, freedom and humanity,” added the Salesians of Don Bosco.

When the country was still part of Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia, Srholec wasn’t allowed to study theology by the atheist communist authorities. He spent 10 years in prisons, serving most of his time in the notorious uranium mines in Jachymov.

The Salesians of Don Bosco linked the persecution to his Christian activities such as his attempt to go abroad to study to be a priest. Yet he did not give up, the order explained. “While working as a laborer he secretly studied theology.”


Eventually in 1970 in Rome he was ordained a priest by Pope Paul VI.  “And when he returned to Czechoslovakia…in Bratislava he devoted himself to charity and “spiritual and cultural youth work” the Salesians of Don Bosco said.

After the Velvet Revolution that ended decades of Communist rule, he became active in the Slovakia’s Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and founded a charity for homeless people in Bratislava. He also became a prominent writer and chairman of the Confederation of Political Prisoners of Slovakia.

The priest, who received several awards, was remembered by several government leaders on Thursday, January 7.

Slovak President Andrej Kiska said Srholec made the country a “better and nicer” place while Prime Minister Robert Fico offered his condolences. Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.

(With reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).

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