Wednesday, July 28, 2010 will remain an
historic day for the Catholic Church in Bulgaria and for our
religious family of the Assumption.
In fact, the Parliament
of the Republic of Bulgaria approved a decree correcting and
completing the Law on the political and civic rehabilitation
of persons who were victims of repression. Initiative for
this measure can be credited to the deputy Lacezar Toshev,
an Orthodox believer, carried out within the framework of
the parliamentary commission responsible for human rights,
for religious confessions, and for the grievances and
petitions of citizens
This decree officially
rehabilitates those condemned "by the Third
Correctional Chamber of the Supreme Court in trial N° 452 of 1952
targeting the members of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria" as
well as those condemned in the two trials in 1949 targeting the
members of the Union of Evangelical Churches. Following his
beatification in March 1998, Most Rev. Evgueni Bossilkov was
rehabilitated by Bulgarian justice in May 1999.
In 2002, following the beatification of the three blessed martyrs
Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov and Josaphat Chichkov, similar measures
were undertaken for their official rehabilitation, but without
success. Eight years later, the new initiative, this time at the
level of the Parliament, led not only to the rehabilitation of the
blessed martyrs, but of all 40 who were condemned (including 11
Assumptionists) in the framework of the trial against members of the
Catholic Church in Bulgaria.
So, the condemned, "accused of having
founded, directed or aided, after the coup d’état of September 9,
1944, an organization whose goal was to overthrow, disrupt, or
weaken popular democratic power established in the People's Republic
of Bulgaria by a coup d'état,, a revolt, or demonstration, by acts
of terrorism, by crimes constituting a danger for the whole of
society and by military intervention from abroad," saw their
memory cleansed 58 years after their condemnation.
This rehabilitation came, to be sure, at a time when all the
Bulgarian priests, men and women religious involved in this trial
are no longer in this world; undoubtedly, it has only relative value
for those who now know what true justice is having encountered the
just and merciful Judge. Nevertheless, we cannot but rejoice to see
justice restored here below.
In conclusion, it should be noted that, by a happy coincidence,
which Providence alone holds the key to, the joy of this
rehabilitation adds to that of two jubilees: that of 150 years of
the union with Rome of Bulgarians of the Byzantine rite which is at
the origin of the Apostolic Exarchate of Sofia and that of the
bicentennial of the birth of Fr. Emmanuel d’Alzon whose spiritual
sons paid a heavy tribute during the infamous trial of 1952.