Memorial of Cardinal Josef Beran will be erected in Prague

14. 05. 2009
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, blessed yesterday, May 13, 2009 a foundation-stone of a memorial to his predecessor, Cardinal Josef Beran (1888-1969). The 40th anniversary of Beran's death falls on May 17.

Prague: The memorial of Cardinal Josef Beran will stand in front of the building of Prague major seminary, today seat of the Czech Bishops' Conference, the Archbishop's Seminary, the Catholic Theological Faculty (KTF), and several other institutions, in Prague 6 – Dejvice, Thakurova street 3. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, presided over the blessing. In his speech he underlined that Cardinal Beran, who lived several years under the Communist oppression, reminds us of important values that are being diminished in today's society: fidelity, truth, fairness, honesty and integrity.

Present at the blessing of the foundation-stone were, besides Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, Archbishop Karel Otcenasek, bishop-emeritus of Hradec Kralove, Prof Stanislav Hanzik, author of the memorial, representatives of the city hall and the local municipality, dean of the Prague Hussite Theological Faculty Prof Jan B. Lasek, and vicar general of the Archdiocese of Prague Father Michael Slavik.


The Prague seminary in Thakurova street was also a place of an ecumenical conference on Cardinal Josef Beran on the same day. Cardinal Vlk opened the event together with three deans of Prague theological faculties: Prof Ludvik Armbruster, from the KTF, Prof Martin Prudky, dean of the Evangelical Theological Faculty, and Prof Jan B. Lasek.


Cardinal Josef Beran was born on Dec 29, 1888 in Plzen. In 1907-1911 he studied theology in Rome and then he was ordained priest. From 1912 to 1928 he served in pastoral service and then taught pastoral theology in Prague and was rector of the Archbishop's Seminary. Since 1942 he was imprisoned in Theresienstadt and Dachau. Pope Pius XII appointed him archbishop of Prague on Nov 4, 1946.

After the Communist coup of 1948, Archbishop Beran refused to submit the Catholic Church to the regime and in 1949-1963 he was interned at several places. Having been appointed cardinal by Pope Paul VI on Feb 25, 1965 he was allowed to travel to Rome but forbidden to return by the regime. In Rome Cardinal Beran involved in the II Vatican Council and founded the Czech centre "Velehrad;" on May 17, 1969 he died and was buried in the papal crypt of St Peter's; he is the only Czech person with such honor. "He is an example for you all," said Pope Paul VI over his death bed. "He is one of the reasons why I pray for the country called Czechoslovakia." Beatification procedure of Cardinal Beran was opened in 1998.