Saint of the Day – Blessed Valeriu Traian Frentiu (1875-1952) Bishop of the Greek-Catholic Rite and Martyr – born on 25 April 1875 in Resita, Caras-Severin, Romania and died on 11 July 1952 in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania of starvation and mulnutrition. Patronage – Resita, Romania.
Valeriu Traian Frenţiu, the son of the priest Joachim Frenţiu and his wife Rozalia, attended the primary school of his hometown and the gymnasium. He studied theology in Budapest and was ordained priest on 28 September 1898. He received his doctorate in 1902 to the doctor of theology. From 1904 to 1912 he worked in the community as a pastor.
On 14 December 1912 he was appointed Bishop of Lugoj, he was consecrated on 14 January 1913. He devoted himself to the formation of priests and established a seminary in Lugoj. On 25 February 1922 he was appointed Bishop of Oradea Mare.
After the death of Archbishop Alexandru Nicolescu in 1941 he became Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Făgăraş and Alba Iulia. In 1947 he returned to his diocese of Oradea Mare.
On 28 October 1948, he was arrested and interned in the camp Dragoslavele and in February 1949 he was interned in solitary confinement in the monastery Căldăruşani.
In 1950 he was sent to Sighet Prison, where he died on 11 July 1952 as a result of starvation and malnutrition. He was buried without a coffin in a mass grave in the graveyard of the poor during the night. The Grave was levelled to be unobserved as a burial place and to avoid pilgrimages to the graves of the martyrs killed in Sighet. The images below show clearly how Blessed Valeriu became virtually half the size he was previously!
On 19 March 2019, Pope Francis approved the Beatification of Blessed Valeriu Frenţiu and six other Greek-Catholic bishops killed by the communist regime in Romania in the mid-20th century. Pope Francis personally presided at the ceremony at Liberty Field in Blaj, Romania on 2 June 2019.
On 5 June at his General Audience, Pope Francis reflected on these Martyred Bishops. He said:
“One of these new blesseds, Mgr. Iuliu Hossu, during his imprisonment wrote: ‘God sent us into this darkness of suffering to forgive and pray for the conversion of all,'” he said.
“Thinking of the terrible tortures to which they were subjected, these words are a testimony of mercy,” Pope Francis reflected.
Each of the seven bishops died after being held in prisons or labour camps in Romania between 1950 and 1970 under Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime, which harshly persecuted and imprisoned Romanian Catholics in both the Greek and Latin rites.
The Catholic community, both Greek and Latin, is alive and active,” Pope Francis said. “We have shown that unity does not take away legitimate diversity.”
Pope Francis celebrated Mass in both rites during his three-day visit to Romania with Masses in the Latin rite for the feast of Mary’s visitation in the Bucharest Cathedral and at Transylvania’s Marian pilgrimage shrine of Șumuleu-Ciuc, in addition to the Divine Liturgy in Blaj.
If you have the time please do watch this beautiful Divine Liturgy!
The Seven Romanian Greek-Catholic Bishops Hieromartyrs are:
–Blessed Ioan Balan
–Blessed Ioan Suciu
–Blessed Vasile Aftenie
–Blessed Valeriu Traian Frentiu
–Blessed Tito Livio Chinezu
–Blessed Alexandru Rusu
–Blessed Iuliu Hossu (Cardinal Bishop)
Bishops Iuliu Hossu, who had been imprisoned in 1954 and died in hospital in 1970, Vasile Aftenie, who died in prison 1950; Ioan Balan, imprisoned 1950-54, he died in a monastery in 1959, Valeriu Traian Frentiu, who died in prison 1952; Ioan Suciu, died in prison 1953, Tito Livio Chinezu, died in prison 1955 and Alexandru Rusu, who died in prison 1963. St Pope Paul VI had made Bishop Hossu a cardinal but at his request only revealed this elevation after his death.