Jerzy Popiełuszko
Jerzy Popieluszko.jpg
Jerzy Popiełuszko
Born September 14, 1947(1947-09-14)
Okopy near Suchowola
Died October 19, 1984 (aged 37)
Cause of death Murder
Nationality Polish
Occupation Priest
Religion Roman Catholic
Jerzy Popieluszko Funeral - 12


Jerzy Popieluszko Funeral - 37


Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko (Template:IPA-pol; b. September 14[1], 1947 in Okopy near Suchowola – October 19, 1984) was a Roman Catholic priest from Poland, associated with the Solidarity union. He was murdered by the agents of internal intelligence agency, the Służba Bezpieczeństwa, (eng: Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs).

Jerzy Popiełuszko was a charismatic priest who was first sent to strikers in the Warsaw Steelworks. Thereafter he was associated with workers and trade unionists from the Solidarity movement who opposed the Communist regime in Poland.

He was a staunch anti-communist, and in his sermons, interwove spiritual exhortations with political messages, criticizing the Communist system and motivating people to protest. During the period of martial law, the Catholic church was the only force that could voice protest comparatively openly, with the regular celebration of Mass presenting opportunities for public gatherings in churches.

Popiełuszko's sermons were routinely broadcast by Radio Free Europe, and thus became famous throughout Poland for their uncompromising stance against the regime. The Służba Bezpieczeństwa tried to silence or intimidate him. When those techniques did not work, they fabricated evidence against him; he was arrested in 1983, but soon released on intervention of the clergy and pardoned by an amnesty.

A car accident was set up to kill Jerzy Popiełuszko on October 13, 1984, but he escaped it. The alternative plan was to kidnap him, and it was carried out on October 19, 1984. The priest was beaten and murdered by three Security Police officers. Then, his body was dumped into the Vistula Water Reservoir near Włocławek from where it was recovered on October 30, 1984.[2]

News of the political murder caused an uproar throughout Poland, and the murderers and one of their superiors were convicted of the crime. More than 250,000 people attended his funeral, including Lech Wałęsa on November 3, 1984. Despite the murder and its repercussions, the Communist regime remained in power until 1989. In 1997, the Roman Catholic Church started the process of his beatification; as of 2008 he has Servant of God status.

On December 19 2009, it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI had approved the decree of beatification of Father Popiełuszko.[3]


Noted Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik wrote his Bassoon Concerto (1985) in memory of Popiełuszko, and the work is very specifically inspired by Popiełuszko's work and death.[4]

A track entitled "Homily to Popiełuszko" is featured on the B-side to the album Flajelata (1986) by Muslimgauze. The entire B-side of that album is dedicated to all dissidents from the Soviet Union.

A monument of Fr. Popiełuszko in the shape of a symbolic gravestone in the shape of a cross was erected by Chicago's Polish community in the garden of memory next to St. Hyacinth Basilica.

A monument of Fr. Popiełuszko in the form of a bust bearing his likeness with a chain wrapped about his neck was erected on the property of Saint Hedwig Catholic Church in Trenton, New Jersey.

There is also a monument to Fr. Popieluszko in the form of a bust bearing his likeness in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Ronald Harwood's documentary drama The Deliberate Death of a Polish Priest was premiered at the Almeida Theatre in 1985 October——an early example of a theatre transcript of a trial, in this case the trial of Popiełuszko's murderers.

A movie "Popiełuszko", documenting the life and death of Popiełuszko was released in Poland in February 2009.

Recipient of the Order of the White Eagle (posthumous, 2009) [5].

See also


  1. "Jerzy Popiełuszko" in Encyklopedia PWN (in Polish)
  2. [1]
  3. Pope decrees beatification of Poland's 'Solidarity chaplain'
  4. "Boosey and Hawkes program note for Andrzej Panufnik's Bassoon Concerto".
  5. Order Orła Białego dla Księdza Jerzego Popiełuszki,, 19.10.2009 (in Polish)

External links

ca:Jerzy Popiełuszko cs:Jerzy Popiełuszko da:Jerzy Popiełuszkoeo:Jerzy Popiełuszkono:Jerzy Popiełuszkoro:Jerzy Popiełuszko ru:Попелушко, Ежи fi:Jerzy Popiełuszko sv:Jerzy Popiełuszko

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