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1st International Day of Prayer, Amsterdam 1997

Excerpts from the conference by
His Excellency Eduard Kojnok
Bishop of the Diocese Roznava – Slovakia

The message of Amsterdam is the message of the coredeeming Mother, who shows us how through our sufferings which we unite with the sufferings of Christ, we are allowed to help in the salvation of our brothers and sisters. This suffering in union with Christy which is borne by the faithful for the conversion of unbeliev­ers, reveals itself in a startling way in times of atrocious persecution of Christians.
His Excellency, Bishop Eduard Kojnok, from Roznava, the poorest diocese in Slovakia, spoke from his own personal experience about the trying persecution inflicted by militant com­munism.
He touched the hearts of the faithful with his modesty and simplicity.

... Outwardly everything appeared to be in order. But as soon as someone showed that he was a believer, he was harassed and discriminated against, and would receive a low-level job. The children from such families were not accepted into the universities, and interrogations, derision and ridi­cule were the order of the day. Day after day religious orders were disbanded, and Church property was seized.
The atheistic ideology was implemented by means of persuasion, bribery, and scare tactics, as well as through the use of violent, brutal methods.

... For example, I was not allowed to leave my parish for more than two hours. If I had to go somewhere, I had to report it beforehand. Then the police waited for me and searched not only me, but even spare parts for my car.
In such situations, my greatest helper was the Mother of Sorrows, whose intercession we constantly implored. During the interrogations, we prayed to St. Michael the Archangel and thereupon would clearly notice nervousness and confusion in the police officers. We knew that Divine Power had intervened.

In the year 1989, the faithful especially experi­enced
the help of their patroness, Our Lady of Sorrows

Several thousand brave souls gathered in Bratislava in the city square to pray for the naming of Bishops to vacant seats and for the freedom of the Church. The police and armed troops surrounded them, set dogs on them, and trying to drive them away, used water hoses, struck them with the dull side of axes, and treated them very inhumanly. Yet the people gathered there prayed the rosary and called on Our Lady of Sorrows for help.

... Today the situ­ation has gotten a little better, but the fight against the Church continues, now in another way, hidden and without the use of violence, but planned and continu­ous. Without the powerful help that comes from above, even today we would hardly be able to bear the adversities.