Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, Ljubljana, 23 August 2023

“Totalitarianisms may subjugate states and nations, but they cannot subjugate a single human heart believing, hoping and loving out of loyalty to God.” 

(Archbishop Stanislav Zore, sermon during the holy mass for victims of totalitarian regimes, 23 August 2023)

On Wednesday, 23 August 2023, the Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes was commemorated in Slovenia for the fifteenth time. A ceremony organised by the Study Centre for National Reconciliation (SCNR), with the participation of the Military Chaplaincy of the Slovenian Armed Forces, Archdiocese of Ljubljana and cathedral parish of St. Nicholas, Ljubljana, took place at several locations across Ljubljana.

At 5.45 pm, the director of SCNR, Dr Tomaž Ivešić, placed a wreath at the commemorative plaque in front of the American embassy. He was joined by a representative of the US Embassy in Slovenia, Mr Bobby Poulson-Houser. Dr. Ivešić and his deputy, Dr Matic Batič, then laid a wreath in front of the building at Beethovnova ulica 3, which contains communist-era prison cells. At both locations, the ambassador of Hungary in Slovenia, His Excellency Mr Andor Ferenc Dávid, and representatives of the Austrian embassy in Ljubljana, Ms Sonja Reiser-Weinzettl and Ms Edeltraud Messner, were also present for the ceremony.

In front of the American embassy (Dr Tomaž Ivešić and Mr Bobby Poulson-Houser).

Beethovnova ulica 3 (Dr. Ivešić and his deputy, Dr Matic Batič)

This was followed by placing wreaths at the monument to victims of all wars at Kongresni trg 2. The first wreath was laid by the ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Slovenia, His Excellency Dr Krzysztof Olendzki, and another wreath was placed by the SCNR director and deputy.

SCNR video: 

At 6.30, there was a mass in the Ljubljana cathedral, offered by the metropolitan archbishop of Ljubljana, Msgr. Stanislav Zore OFM. In his sermon, he highlighted that totalitarianisms are still not equally condemned by all, and he also spoke of the indestructibility of the truth, which sometimes barely survives – but does survive – and is liberating once it is allowed to thrive. Through the words of witnesses, he concluded that “totalitarianisms may subjugate states and nations, but they cannot subjugate a single human heart.” This was followed by an event prepared by the Military Chaplaincy of the Slovenian Armed Forces. The honourable speaker was Dr Matej Avbelj, a professor of European law and vice-rector at the New University. He regularly publishes scientific works on EU law, constitutional law, legal theory and the protection of human rights with leading Slovenian and foreign publishers. He is active in professional academic and civil-society initiatives in Slovenia and beyond.

Msgr. Stanislav Zore, Metropolitan Archbishop of Ljubljana

Sermon by Archbishop Stanislav Zore:

SCNR video – Sermon by Archbishop Stanislav Zore: 

Dr Matej Avbelj

SCNR video – Speech by Dr Matej Avbelj: 

With the holy mass, speeches and commemoration completed, we thanked all participants who had attended the events and finished the evening with the memory of victims who suffered under the violence of totalitarian regimes. Maintaining a bond and connection to them preserves our humanity, which is a foundation and condition for a life of peace, safety, tolerance and coexistence. This is also the only possible way to live together in the future.

All events