In the territory of the nation that is today called Slovakia, the Order of Saint Augustine was first present as long ago as the year 1274. This presence was continuous until the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, when Augustinian houses were closed, and some of the Augustinians killed.
The Order subsequently returned, and was once again reduced to nothing by the Second World War and the Communist government afterwards. In recent times, however, the Order returned there in 1990. A young Czechoslovakian layman had previously gone to Italy as a refugee, and there became an Augustinian and a priest. With the fall of Communism in 1990, he and an Italian Augustinian came to re-establish the Order among the Slovak people.
Since 1995 there has been an Augustinian community in the Slovak city of Košice, and the community is part of the Augustinian Province of Italy. The Augustinian community comprises the Italian Augustinian who arrived in 1990, and a number of Slovak-born Augustinian priests. One of these teaches patrology in the seminary at Košice, another is translating the works of St Augustine into the Slovak language, and a third assists a diocesan priest in a diocesan parish of 23,000 people. Augustinian activities include weekly meetings for young adults, monthly meetings for an Augustinian lay fraternity, and the spiritual direction of individuals. Every Easter there is a three-day pilgrimage for young adults.
The first Augustinian Priory (convent) was a rented building, but the construction of a new and permanent convent was provided by September 2010; it also contains a church and a residence for students preparing for entry to the Order of Saint Augustine (see image above). On 13th November 2011, the Feast of All the Saints of the Augustinian Order, the new Augustinian friary in Kosice, Slovakia was inaugurated. The building was made possible by the Italian Province; the construction of a nearby church was also financed by the Order.
The faith and commitment of Slovakian friars (a minimum of five) who presently are stationed in the community of Kosice, the participation of the archbishop and of all the priests of the diocese, numerous young people and families who collaborate with the community, are concrete signs make possible our looking to the future with hope. The seeds sown by Fathers Paolo Benedik OSA and Angelo Lemme OSA in 1990 are now a plant with deep roots and a great desire to grow: another sign of hope for the Order and for the local Church in Eastern Europe.
Photos (at right)
Picture 1: Easter pilgrimage at Košice. Picture 2: Sacramental reconciliation in the field.Picture 3: The new Priory and Church at Košice
Photo Gallery For the Augnet gallery on the Augustinian history of Slovakia today, click here.
Augustinian website Slovakia. http://www.aug.skAugustiniani. Facebook in the Slovak language. https://www.facebook.com/Augustini%C3%A1ni-51482239009Video Krátky zos3h pre vás, ktorý viac(menej) uvidíte už 28.augusta! pozrite program na www.aug.sk alebo nižšie na plagáte (Video clip: 5 minutes) https://www.facebook.com/51482239009/videos/vb.51482239009/10153167857654010/?type=2&theaterAN4871