Ludmila Javorová (born 1932, Brno) is a Czech Roman Catholic woman who worked in the underground church during the time of communist rule in Czechoslovakia and served as a vicar general of a clandestine bishop. She is known for her claim to be a secretly ordained priest.


She was born into a Catholic family, and expressed a wish to become a nun, but that was not possible in the time of communism. She started to work in civilian professions and to support Church activities in her free time.

According to statements made in 1995 and later, Javorová was secretly ordained in 1970, by the underground bishop Felix Maria Davídek, who was a friend of her family, during the early years of occupation of the country after the Prague Spring. She had served him as his secretary and deputy, after his return from prison in 1964, and "gradually took over important tasks in organising the clandestine Church structure Koinótés. Davídek named her his vicar general and later ordained her as a priest."[1]

The ordination of women was a highly controversial theme within Davídek's group and played a role in its splitting in the early 1970s.[2] Davídek himself concealed Javorová's ordination from many of his co-workers. Davídek demanded written promises of "absolute silence on the matter" from people participating in his secret ordinations.

Historians Fiala and Hanuš conclude[3] that these ordained women (there were about five, Javorová being the only publicly known) found very few specific sacerdotal tasks in the Davídek's group, and that their ordinations can therefore be considered as a "symbolical act and a precedent" rather than as a useful help for the underground church.

After the end of communist rule in Czechoslovakia in 1989, Javorová seemingly tried for some time to conceal her status from the wide public[4], saying that "the time is not ripe to talk about that".[5] But about 1995 she changed her mind and decided to speak.[6] She helped to prepare a book interview about her experiences, authored by Miriam Therese Winter.

Javorová now lives in Brno.

Status in the Roman Catholic Church

Ludmila Javorová remains an active member of the Roman Catholic Church. She is currently a speaker of the Liturgical Commission of her local parish.

Overview of the Roman Catholic teachings about priesthood of women

For more detailed information see Ordination of women

That an ordination ceremony performed on a woman would be invalid as well as illicit is found in the writings of Thomas Aquinas and many others, and is still taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Pope John Paul II wrote "Priestly ordination, which hands on the office entrusted by Christ to his Apostles of teaching, sanctifying and governing the faithful, has in the Catholic Church from the beginning always been reserved to men alone" in his Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. This is reflected in the current Code of Canon Law.


  • Miriam Winter: Out of the Depths (a biography of Ludmila Javorová) 2001. ISBN 0824518896
  • Fiala, Petr and Hanuš, Jiří: Skrytá církev, Felix M. Davídek a společenství Koinótés, CDK Brno 1999 (ISBN 80-85959-39-9)

Notes and references

  1. Fiala/Hanuš, Skrytá církev..., p. 102; in Czech: "postupně přebírá důležité úkoly při vytváření skryté církevní struktury Koinótés. Davídek ji jmenoval svou generální vikářkou a posléze jí udělil kněžské svěcení."
  2. Fiala/Hanuš, Skrytá církev..., pp. 95-102, 105-110.
  3. Fiala/Hanuš, Skrytá církev..., p. 104.
  4., retrieved March 23, 2006
  5. Bollag, Burton (April 12, 1992). "Vatican Rejects Secret Priests Ordained in Czechoslovakia". New York Times. , also December 8, 1991
  6., retrieved March 23, 2006

See also

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