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József Grősz (December 9, 1887 – October 3, 1961) was a Hungarian politician and prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. From 1943 until his death 18 years later, he served as the Archbishop of Kalocsa.[1] Despite initially being known for his willingness to co-operate with the Communist government of the time,[2] he was put on trial in 1951.[3] Sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, he was released in March 1956 during the period of de-Stalinization.[4]

His Excellency

József Grősz
Archbishop of Kalocsa
Statue of Grősz
Statue of Grősz
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
ArchdioceseArchdiocese of Kalocsa-Kecskemét
In office1943 — 1961
OrdinationJuly 15, 1911
Consecrationby Jusztinián György Serédi
Personal details
Born(1887-12-09)9 December 1887
DiedOctober 3, 1961(1961-10-03) (aged 73)
Nationality Hungarian
Previous postBishop of Szombathely
Coadjutor Bishop of Győr


Grősz was born on December 9, 1887, in the Austro-Hungarian village of Halbturn. After studying in the local Catholic high school, which was run by a group of Benedictine monks, he studied theology at the Pázmáneum seminary. Grősz was ordained as a priest in the Diocese of Győr in 1911. From 1928 to 1936, he served as the coadjutor of the diocese. In 1936 he was appointed the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Szombathely, of which he became bishop three years later.[5]

Political activityEdit

During much of his career, Grősz sought to protect the Church by refusing to criticise the government of the time. Towards the end of World War II, under the national socialist government of the Arrow Cross Party, he gave a speech in which he announced that he in no way opposed the actions of the fascist régime. He later met with István Antal, the Minister of Propaganda, and discussed how the two could cooperate in order to combat the Communist threat.[6]

In August 1950, in his position as archbishop, he signed an agreement with the Hungarian state in order to settle the fate of 2,000 imprisoned nuns and monks. In this agreement, he committed the Church to supporting the construction of a socialist state and accepted the right of the government to interfere in Church affairs,[7] in return for a promise to allow unrestricted worship and a commitment to reopen eight Catholic schools.[8] As much of the Church continued to protest the violent oppression of religious activities,[5] Grősz was arrested in May 1951 and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on charges of conspiring with the United States and the Vatican to overthrow the government.[9] He was pardoned in 1956 alongside opposition politicians such as Zoltán Tildy, after supposedly promising to act as a "faithful son of the republic".[10]

Once released from prison, Grősz assumed the leadership of the Hungarian Bishops' Conference and, while serving in this position, was elected to the national council of the governing Popular People's Front.[11]

Grősz's convictions were annulled in 1990[12] and in 2000 a statue of him was erected in Kalocsa.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cheney, David (September 4, 2013). "Archbishop József Grősz". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved August 25, 2014.[self-published source]
  2. ^ Steven, Polgar (1984). "A summary of the situation of the Hungarian Catholic church". Religion, State and Society: The Keston Journal.
  3. ^ "Recalcitrant" Bishop. The Times (London, England), 30 June 1951
  4. ^ Eibner, John (1986). "Pressure for reform in the Hungarian Lutheran Church". Religion in Communist Lands. doi:10.1080/09637498608431281.
  5. ^ a b "Grősz József". National Széchényi Library (in Hungarian). November 29, 2000. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  6. ^ Herzy, Moshe (1995). Christianity and the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry. New York: NYU Press. pp. 71, 72, 162. ISBN 0814773206.
  7. ^ Eibner, John (March 11, 1989). "A new deal in Hungary". The Tablet. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  8. ^ The Relationship Between Church and State in the Hungarian People's Republic. Washington Legation of the Hungarian People's Republic. p. 44. OCLC 10306572.
  9. ^ Lederer, Lajos (May 13, 1956). "Hungary Frees Socialists in Gaitskell List: Part of Action to Widen 'Patriotic Front' Stresses in Party". The Observer.
  10. ^ "Hungary Releases Politicians: 'Pardon' for Archbishop". Manchester Guardian. British United Press. May 14, 1956.
  11. ^ "Archbishop 'elected' to Red front". Catholic Herald. November 8, 1957. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  12. ^ Jozsef Grosz,, (in Hungarian), retrieved 27 August 2014