Province of Slovenia
1852 – 1919 – 1926 – 1992
The Province of Slovenia dates back to 1852. That year, the Bishop of Maribor b. Anton Martin Slomsek invited and welcomed the first Lazarists into his diocese, entrusting them to lead popular missions and to preach at retreats.
Bishop Slomsek personally led a procession of thirty priests and a large number of the faithful from the city of Celje to a hill, east of the city, to the church of St. Joseph, on September 26, 1852. In a liturgical celebration, the church and a house were given to the Lazarists as their base and residence.
The house in Celje can be regarded as the mother house for these four provinces today: Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. At that time, all these countries were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
After World War I, in 1919, a vice province of Yugoslavia was created. At that time, the Lazarists had houses in Celje, Ljubljana, Maribor and Beograd and, soon after, in Macedonia.
Rev. Janez Francisek Gnidovec, a Lazarist, was named Bishop of Skopje on Nov. 30, 1924 and died Feb. 3, 1939. The process for his beatification is in progress. A number of confreres came to help him in the pastoral work and in education in his diocese.
In 1920, the Mission Mass Association (Misijonska mašna zveza) donated some property with a house and a farm to the Lazarist fathers, entrusting them to promote World Missions, with an eye on China. They started with a magazine, Catholic Missions (Katoliški misijoni), today known as Mission’s Horizon (Misijonska obzorja) to inform and awaken an awareness in people of their catholic mission to spread the Good News. Soon the Mission in China was named Baraga’s Mission (Baragov misijon) in honor of a Slovenian missionary in the Great Lakes Region and first bishop of Marquette, USA. The process for his beatification is in progress.
In 1926, the Vice Province became the Province of Yugoslavia and, in 1992, it was renamed the Province of Slovenia, since Slovenia had become an independent country two years earlier.
After the Second World War all the property and houses of the Lazarists were seized by the Communist regime and nationalized and, thus, their very existence was shattered and the work of the province destroyed. A number of confreres fled the country. Those remaining were imprisoned because they were members of a religious congregation and because of their work in the past, and were thus accused as enemies of the people. The province went into a kind of limbo and remained as such until 1957 when the first seminarians (minor seminary) entered the order. The first of these seminarians was ordained in 1963.
Today the confreres of the Province of Slovenia are engaged in “ad clery disciplinam” – teachers at the faculty of theology, popular missions, retreats, Marian Youth, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (Vincencijeva zveza dobrote), with the handicapped and sick (Prijatelj), pastoral work in parishes (in Slovenia, Croatia), pastoral work in diaspora (Serbia and Macedonia) and among emigrants (Argentina and Canada) and in missions (Madagascar, Siberia, Bolivia).
Tel.:(01) 230-2464, Fax: (01) 230-2474