Great news: those condemned in the 1952 trial have been rehabilitated by the Bulgarian parliament


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

They were all innocent


   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.


Daniel Gillier aa