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04.04.2013 10:22
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WWII Bishop Rožman's Remains to Be Returned to Slovenia

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WWII Ljubljana Bishop Gregorij Rozman
Photo Daniel Novakovic/STA
File photo.

Chicago, 4 April (STA) - The remains of the WWII Ljubljana Bishop Gregorij Rožman will be dug up on Sunday in Lemont near Chicago and transferred to Slovenia. The return to his homeland only become possible for the politically controversial bishop who fled to the US just before the end of WWII, after his 2009 judicial rehabilitation.

According to the Slovenian Bishops' Conference, Rožman's body will be taken from the Slovenian Franciscan monastery in Lemont after Sunday's farewell mass, which will be celebrated by Ljubljana Bishop Anton Jamnik, retired Cleveland Bishop Edvard Pevec and retired Chicago Bishop John Gorman.

The remains are to be transferred to Slovenia on 9 April and buried in the Slovenian bishops crypt at St Nicholas Cathedral in Ljubljana.

Rožman (1883-1959) still divides Slovenians as regards his role as bishop during WWII, when he is recorded to have shown loyalty to the Third Reich when it occupied Slovenian territory.

The bishop fled Ljubljana days before the end of the war in 1945 and was sentenced in absentia to 18 years in prison in a show trial before a military tribunal a year afterwards.

The transfer of Rožman's remains was proposed in 2001 by the then Slovenian President Milan Kučan as a sign of piety and a step towards national reconciliation.

However, the Vatican made the transfer conditional on a repeal of the 1946 conviction. The Supreme Court repealed the conviction in 2007, ordering a retrial, but the Ljubljana District Court then stopped all relevant procedures in 2009.

Rožman's body is being transferred in the year when the Ljubljana Archdiocese is marking its 550th anniversary, which the Slovenian Bishops' Conference deems an appropriate opportunity for the move.

04.04.2013 10:22

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