Peter Gojdic was born in Presov in present-day Slovakia. After his ordination as a Greek-Catholic priest, he entered a Basilian monastery and took the name Paul. Before taking his final vows, however, he was forced to leave the monastery to accept an appointment as apostolic administrator in Presov. In 1927 he was consecrated as bishop. In presenting him with a gold pectoral cross, Pope Pius XI said, prophetically, “This cross is only a faint symbol of the crosses that God will send you.”
During the Nazi occupation Bishop Gojdic was outspoken in defense of the Jews. But with the end of the war German occupation gave way to that of the Soviets, followed by the imposition of Communist rule. In 1950 the Greek-Catholic Church was suppressed and Bishop Gojdic, by now entrusted with jurisdiction over all Greek-Catholics in Czechoslovakia, was charged with “hating and betraying the people.” Following a show trial, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He endured his punishment without protest, celebrating Mass in secret whenever possible and resisting all pressure to renounce his faith. His health deteriorated, and after suffering terrible pain he was found to have terminal cancer. He died in prison on July 17, 1960.
Bishop Gojdic was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001. Six years later, in Israel, he was declared Righteous Among the Nations.
“I am certain that at the end truth will triumph over lies, and love will overcome hatred.”
—Blessed Paul Peter Gojdi