University Pastoral Center Bratislava
Name of collection
- University Pastoral Center in Bratislava
Provenance and cultural activities
Bratislava used to be the centre of the underground religious movements of various churches. It was also the most prominent centre of the Catholic youth movement. From 1968 onwards, several choirs (Kufríkovci, Ursusáci, Céčko, Kapucíni) emerged there. In these, Catholic young people used to meet officially but they also functioned as a haven of illegal activities. They acted “in public”, most often during masses, but also in the underground. Church communities were under the surveillance of the National Security. From 1981 onwards, Department Four of Division II of the National Security was responsible for counterintelligence activities and monitored the activities of the following institutions: Roman Catholic Archiepiscopal Office in Trnava, General Episcopal Office of the Slovak Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Bratislava, Faculty of Roman Catholic Theology in Bratislava, Slovak Evangelical Faculty of Theology in Bratislava, Central Charity for Slovakia in Bratislava, Regional Committee of the Christian Peace Conference in Bratislava, Church Council of the Methodist Evangelical Church in Bratislava, Slovak Centre of the Brotherly Union of Baptists in Bratislava, Slovak Association of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bratislava, Christian Choirs – Central Committee for Slovakia in Bratislava, Brethren Church in Slovakia in Bratislava, editors of Catholic periodicals in Bratislava, Association of the Ordinaries of Slovakia, Pacem in Terris Association of Catholic Clergy, St. Adalbert Association. The National Security used to summon the leaders of these associations for interrogation.
These choirs used to sing openly during the holy masses, which only some of the priests allowed, and they used to meet in the underground only on private occasions. Several activities of theirs were simply required by church practices, e.g. to innovate the liturgical hymns and circulate the new songs by photocopies. Young people distributed cassettes to the older believers secretly. Juraj Lexmann used to distribute them through the participants at organ courses and through singers and conductors active in various places all over Slovakia (Piešťany 1983, Dolný Smokovec 1984...).
The Kapucíni choir spread the ideas of ecumenism which was unknown in the 1980s, at a time of socialist ideologies and widespread atheism. Thanks to them, several Slovaks came to the French village of Taizé after 1989 and showed interest in these ecumenic developments. Other choirs, like Ursusáci, Kufríkovci, Južania, and Košičania, also represented enemies of the ideologists of the socialist regime because of their spiritual activities.The activities of these choirs, conductors and composers were in stark contrast to the communist atheistic ideology of the time and played an important role in shaping a new middle class in the society with Christian views and values. The results of a Christian upbringing of children and young people manifested themselves in the Slovak society in the first generation after 1989 and, mainly, in the second generation in the new millennium when the communist upbringing brought about problems like the loss of the authority of teachers or the aggressiveness and criminality of the youth. It had a political significance because of its active participation in the Velvet Revolution of 1989, enforcement of democratic ideas and solving political problems in a non-violent way.
Description of content
- In the University Pastoral Center archive and in the Slovak National Museum - Music Museum, there are samizdat songs, used by singers, illegally recorded cassettes and Liturgical song book I., II. the compiler Juraj Lexmann and other materials from this activity.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 100-499
- music recordings: 10-99
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Bratislava Staré Grunty, Slovakia
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Creator(s) of content
- parts are closed to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Kajanová, Yvetta
Drobný, Juraj. Pokus o antológiu slovenského gospelu. Bratislava: Lúč, 2000.
Lexmann, Juraj. "Spomienky na Igora Vajdu." In Studia Aloisiana, 15-22. Bratislava: Trnavská univerzita, 2002.
Kajanová, Yvetta. Gospel Music na Slovensku. CoolArt, 2009, p. 120-130, 216-217.
Drobný, Juraj , interview by Kajanová, Yvetta , June 04, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection