By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of Hungarian Father Péter Oros, who was killed at the height of the Cold War by Soviets in Ukraine.
During a meeting Aug. 5 with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, the pope also signed decrees advancing the sainthood causes of four other men and one woman.
According to the dicastery’s website, Father Oros was born in Biri, present-day Hungary, in 1917 and was ordained a priest for the Ruthenian Eparchy of Mukachevo in 1942.
Some records indicate a Byzantine bishop born in the same year with a similar name. Although the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints states Father Oros was an Eastern-rite Catholic priest, it was not unusual at the time for an auxiliary bishop to be named clandestinely.
After the annexation of the Transcarpathian territory in present-day Ukraine, the suppression of Eastern Catholic churches forced Father Oros into hiding. After a warrant for his arrest was issued in 1953, he was shot and killed by a police officer at a train station in Siltse, Ukraine, while attempting to flee.
The other decrees approved by Pope Francis recognized:
- The heroic virtues of Father Jesús Antonio Gómez Gómez, a Colombian priest born in 1895 who died in 1971.
- The heroic virtues of Capuchin Father Umile da Genova, founder of Sorriso Francescano, a charitable foundation for young people in need, and the Little Handmaids of the Child Jesus. He was born in 1898 and died in 1969.
- The heroic virtues of Spanish Father Juan Sánchez Hernández, founder of the Secular Institute of the Servants of Christ the Priest. He was born in 1902 and died in 1975.
- The heroic virtues of Redemptorist Father Vittorio Coelho de Almeida, a Brazilian priest who was born in 1899 and died in 1987.
- The heroic virtues of Ursuline Sister Maria Celina Kannanaikal, who was born in Kundannoor, India, in 1931 and died in 1957.