Slovaquia

Slovakia had a common history with the Czech Republic until January 1, 1993, when, shortly after the Velvet Revolution, Czechoslovakia split in two: the Czech Republic (capital Prague) and Slovakia (capital Bratislava).

The majority of Slovaks identify themselves as Catholics or of Catholic heritage (68.9%), 6.93% Lutherans, 4.1% Greek-Catholics, 2% Calvinists, and 0.9% Orthodox. 13% declare themselves non-denominational.

In the 20th century

After the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, Bratislava became part of the Eastern Bloc.

A clandestine priest and bishop (since 1951), Pavel Hnilica fled Slovakia to study and work in Rome. He wasn’t allowed to return to his country, but always remained in contact with his brother priests suffering persecution.

In 1968, after the failure of the Prague Spring, which tried to liberalize the regime, Bratislava was occupied by Warsaw Pact troops.

On March 24, 1984, Bishop Hnilica managed to go to Russia to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary under amazing circumstances, in union with Pope Saint John Paul II and all the bishops of the world.

In 1988, opponents of the regime awaited the fall of Communism by organizing a candlelight event in Bratislava (Slovakia).

The Czechs and Slovaks became aware of their power when a simple railroad gatekeeper named Augustin Navratil, a father of eight, circulated a petition for religious freedom that gathered 200,000 signatures in 1988 and 1989, even though signing that petition carried serious consequences, such as losing one’s job, police persecution, exclusion from the university, etc.

For the anniversary of the first evangelization of Bohemia by Saints Cyril and Methodius, the Catholic population staged public protests against the harsh persecution of the Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia by shouting the slogan "a bishop for each diocese, a priest for each parish!" showing for the first time since 1968 that they were no longer afraid of the repressive regime.

On November 16, 1989, students in Bratislava (Slovakia) organized a peaceful protest. The next day, a similar protest took place in Prague (Czech Republic) but riot police suppressed it, sparking a series of demonstrations from November 19th to late December that turned into an anti-communist demonstration. During the Velvet Revolution, hardly any blood was shed. Eventually Czech Republic and Slovakia became two democracies.

A few shrines:

In Košice, Saint Elizabeth’s Cathedral, dedicated to St Elizabeth of Hungary, is one of the easternmost Gothic cathedrals in Europe.

Trnava is a city which, because of its many churches, is sometimes called "the Rome of Slovakia."

A rare and interesting tourist attraction of Eastern Slovakia (near Košice) is the large number of wooden rural churches.