Remembering Josef Zvěřina


On May 3, 2023, we commemorated the 110th anniversary of the birth of the eminent Czech theologian Josef Zvěřina. His former friend, the notable theologian Oto Mádr, once wrote about him: Josef Zvěřina had a strong informal authority, he was a morally stable and at the same time non-fanatical man. A great culture of spirit and sharp intellect were combined with a warm heart and a willingness to help. Josef Zvěřina was ordained a priest on 11 July 1937 in Rome. He wrote his dissertation on the frescoes of Tavant, southern France. Along with 30 other Catholics, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 1950, remaining in prison for 13 years and 11 months. The totalitarian communist regime in former Czechoslovakia did not allow Zvěřina to continue his ministry as a priest. From his personal and shared experiences during the difficult times, a theology of agape was formed and matured in his head and heart. Oto Mádr wrote of Zvěřina's theology of agape as a legacy and an orienting contribution to the nascent Czech theology of the third millennium. The TAPE journal claimed Josef Zvěřina's legacy in its very first issue. We are happy to be able to spread the legacy of Josef Zvěřina's life and work further (you can see the specific places where we are commemorating Josef Zvěřina this year on the map).

Zuzana Svobodová