President pays tribute to Polish martyr priest

2019-10-19 11:05 update: 2019-10-27, 17:03
PAP/Radek Pietruszka
PAP/Radek Pietruszka
President Andrzej Duda laid a wreath on Friday at the grave of the beatified Polish priest Father Jerzy Popieluszko, murdered by Polish communist security agents on October 19, 1984.

Popieluszko was the chaplain of the legendary Solidarity Union which ultimately overthrew Poland's post-war-imposed communist regime.

"He supported workers in their faith that Poland will be free (...) and the underground Solidarity movement (...) and for this he gave his life," Duda said in a remembrance speech in front of the Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church in Warsaw where Popieluszko is buried.

Father Jerzy Popieluszko was born in the village of Okopy near Suchowola (eastern Poland) on September 14, 1947, as Alfons Popieluszko. He changed his Christian name in 1971. As a priest he was the spiritual leader of the 1980-formed anti-communist Solidarity Union, for which he was severely persecuted after the Polish communist government's December 1981 imposition of martial law in the country. In 1984, at the age of 35, he was kidnapped and killed by communist security police.

Popieluszko was known for his powerful sermons, in which he spoke about human rights, railed against injustice and tyranny as well as advocated for truth and freedom. The church of St. Stanislaw in Warsaw, where he used to preach and where he is buried, is often visited by Polish people and foreigners.

Father Jerzy Popieluszko has been recognised as a martyr by the Catholic Church and was beatified in 2010. (PAP)