Apor, Vilmos, Bl.

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Martyr, bishop of Györ in northwest Hungary; b. Segesvar, Hungary (now Romania), Feb. 29, 1892; d. Györ. April 2, 1945. By birth, Apor was a baron, the sixth child of a noble family. He received his early education from the Jesuits and began his theological studies at their college in Innsbruck, Austria (1910), where he earned a doctorate. After his ordination (Aug. 24, 1915), he was incardinated in the diocese of Nagyvárad, becoming a parish priest in Gyula. He served as a military chaplain during World War I, then returned to Hungary to assume the duties of prefect of Nagyvárad's seminary and curate in Gyula. He also founded a theological college. In 1941 Pope Pius XII appointed him bishop to the diocese of Györ because of his zeal for catechesis, his charity toward the poor, his ecumenical sensitivity, and his encouragement of fellow priests.

Apor condemned the racist laws introduced into Hungary (May 1939) in his writings and his sermons.

Through his efforts and those of others, such as Blessed Jósef mindszenty, the majority of the Jews in Budapest were spared from Nazi extermination camps. He was shot by Soviet soldiers on Good Friday 1945 while trying to protect about 100 women to whom he had given refuge in the episcopal residence; he died of his wounds on Easter Monday. He was originally buried in the Carmelite church, but is now enshrined in the cathedral of Györ. Apor was beatified in St. Peter's Square by John Paul II on Nov. 9, 1997.

Feast: July 13 (Györ), May 23 (Knights of Malta, for whom he was conventual chaplain).

Bibliography: l. balÁssy, Apor Vilmos, a vértanú püspök (Budapest 1989). s. cseh, Apor püspök vértanúhalála: ahogy a szemtanú átélte (Budapest 1997). e. hulesch, G[symbol omitted]óori nagypéntek 1945: a koronatanú így látta (Györ 1990). L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, 37 (1996): 6; 46 (1997): 12. e. szolnoky, Fellebbezés helyett: Apor Vilmos püspök élete és vértanúsága (Szeged, Hungary 1990).

[k. i. rabenstein]