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English Section

Poland remembers Solidarity priest killed by communists

14.09.2020 09:30
A number of commemorative events have been held and more are planned to mark the 73rd anniversary of the birth of Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Polish Roman Catholic priest who died at the hands of communist secret police in the 1980s and is widely venerated as a martyr.
Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984)
Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984)[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Popiełuszko, a staunch supporter of Poland’s Solidarity freedom movement, was brutally murdered in 1984 at the age of 37.

Crowds of worshipers attended ceremonies at the weekend in his family village of Okopy and the nearby town of Suchowola where he attended school in the northeast of the country.

Popiełuszko strongly supported Poland’s Solidarity trade union in the 1980s, serving as chaplain to workers at a Warsaw steel mill in 1980 and 1981.

During martial law, he celebrated monthly "Masses for the Homeland" that attracted tens of thousands of people.

In his homilies, he condemned violations of human rights and called for freedom and dignity of working people.

On October 19, 1984, he was abducted, tortured and murdered by communist secret police officers. He has since been recognised as a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church and was beatified on June 6, 2010.

Popiełuszko’s grave in Warsaw has drawn millions of pilgrims from Poland and beyond.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said last year that Popiełuszko was a key figure in modern Polish history and that his death was a defining moment on his country’s road to freedom from communist oppression.


Source: IAR