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blessed vasile aftenie
In 1917 he was drafted by the Army and was in Galicia and Italy at the front. After the end of the war in 1918, he studied Law at the Faculty in Bucharest, but then decided in 1919 to enroll at the Academy of Theology of Blaj, and was later sent to Rome at the Greek College of the Saint Athanasius.
He took a Doctorate in Philosophy and Theology in 1925 and then returned to Romania. On 1st January 1926 Aftenie was ordained Priest by Metropolitan Vasile Suciu. Soon afterward, Aftenie was named professor at the Blaj Theological Academy till 1934.
Aftenie was appointed Bishop by Pope Pius XII on 12th April 1940 and on 5th June 1940 he was consecrated titular Bishop of Ulpiana and Auxiliary Bishop in the Blaj Cathedral, and returned to Bucharest as Vicar Bishop at St. Basil's Church in Bucharest. After the death of Archbishop Nicolescu on 15th June 1941, he became Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Făgăraş and Alba Lulia.
In 1948, the new Communist Regime outlawed his Church, and the authorities' efforts to compromise him failed. Aftenie was arrested on 28th October 1948 on the Piața Romană just after leaving the St. Basil's Church, and taken, together with the other five Greek-Catholic Bishops, to Dragoslavele and then in February 1949 to Căldăruşani Monastery, which had been refashioned into a prison.
On 10th May 1949 he was taken to the Interior Ministry, held in isolation and tortured on the orders of General Alexandru Nicolschi, a Securitate member. Mutilated, crippled, mentally broken but steadfast in faith he was thrown into Văcăreşti prison, where he died on 10th May 1950.
It is also reported that he was shot by a Securitate officer. Because he was very tall and did not fit in the wooden box (used instead of the coffin) in which he was seated, his legs were cut and fitted.
Initially, authorities ordered the body to be burned, but Aftenie was buried in the Bellu Cemetery following a service held by a Roman Catholic Priest from the Bucharest Bărăția and he conducted the rites in secret several days after Aftenie was buried by night under the eyes of the Securitate Secret Police.
Another Priest brought a cross permitted by the Communist authorities to his grave with his initials and the year of his death.
On 2nd June 2019, Pope Francis himself would Beatify Aftenie and six other Greek-Catholic Martyr Bishops killed by the Communist regime in Romania in the mid-20th Century at Blaj's Liberty Field.
Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales
Saints of the Week
Monday 10th May:
Blessed Vasile Aftenie
Thursday 13th May:
The Ascension of The Lord
Tuesday 11th May:
Blessed John of Rochester
Friday 14th May:
Saint Matthias, Apostle
Wednesday 12th May:
Saint Ethelhard of Canterbury
Saturday 15th May:
Saint Isidore the Farmer
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