Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Beatification of Mons. Vladimir Ghika, Priest and Martyr in Romania

A reader from Romania, Viviana Dimcev, has sent us the following information about a Romanian priest, Mons. Vladimir Ghika, who will be beatified as a Martyr today, August 31. The Mass of Beatification will be celebrated in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, by Angelo Cardinal Amato, the prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

A descendent of a princely family, Vladimir Ghika was born on Christmas Day of 1873 to an Orthodox family. After studying in France and Rome, he became Catholic in 1902. (Today, Catholics of both Latin and Byzantine Rite together make up just over 5% of the population of Romania; most of them, however, are in Transylvania, which was not part of Romania in 1902.) After years of dedication to various charitable works, he was ordained a priest in 1923, with faculties to celebrate the liturgy in both the Roman and Byzantine Rites. He traveled all over the world in service to his countrymen and the Holy See; he was the founder of a hospital in Bucharest, and served as an envoy of Pius XI, who jokingly called him his "apostolic vagabond".  Despite continued service to his country in the trials of the Second World War, he was arrested by the Communist authorities in 1952; after 18 months of violent beatings, cold and starvation, he passed to eternal life on May 16, 1954. This day will be kept as his feast day.

A Romanian website to promote his cause has the following prayer to ask for his intercession:

Lord, Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, you sent your apostles and disciples into the whole world to bring the good news of your love to all peoples. At the Last Supper, just before your supreme self-offering for the Salvation of the world, you prayed to your Heavenly Father that your church might become One.
Look with kindness upon the people of Romania from whose midst you chose Vladimir Ghika, noble by birth and noble by vocation. He was your witness throughout the world, confirming his faith in you through his martyrdom, with the zeal of an apostle. May his example of faith and love shine ever more brightly amongst us.
During his earthly life, he accomplished great deeds of charity through your power and brought East and West together in harmony. We pray for the grace that through the merits and the sanctity of his martyrdom, he may be recognized as a saint and that through his intercession, in the near future, all Christians may be united. We ask this for your greater glory, you who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
Our reader also sent us a link to a video tour of a museum established by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest in his honor, in which various liturgical garments and other objects owned and used by Bl. Vladimir. Beate Vladimire, ora pro nobis!

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