The cross from Uzdol in the hands of Pope Francis


On Wednesday, April 18th, after the Audience on St. Peter's square, during their brief meeting with Pope Francis, husband and wife Slavko and Anica Jurić from Rama, handed him a wooden miniature of The cross from Uzdol, whose original is next to the parish church in Uzdol.

After he was briefly informed about this massacre, that is going to mark it's 25th anniversary in September, while receiving the gift from the hands of the married couple Jurić, the Holy Father said nothing but simple words „Thank you!“, but remained in silence before the said meaning of The cross of Uzdol. With a heavy sigh he showed how shook he was on the mentioning of the youngest casualty, little Stjepan Zelić, aged only 10 years when he died.

The cross of Uzdol is an idea and the work of prior parish priest from Uzdol, Miljenko Džalta, who placed on the big Lord's cross 41 small ones, with the names of the Catholics from Uzdol killed in one day in the parish of St. John the Baptist on September 14th, feast day of the Elevation of the Holy cross.

It is interesting that the Holy Father, during his Audience, spoke about the meaning of the cross that represents the identity of Christians. So he said that the Christian's talking, thinking, watching and acting are under that sign of Jesus' love. He pointed out that becoming Christ's believer is in that measure that the cross is imprinted in us as the sign of resurrection so the Christian way of life is seen on the outside as well.

It is worth mentioning that the victims of Uzdol were massacred almost 25 years ago at 5 AM within the period of one hour, just because they were Catholics and Croats, and their names on the Lord's cross are sorted in the manner as if they were holding hands while going to the Heavenly home. Out of 41 victims, there were 12 soldiers of HVO that were defending the village and 29 civilians, mostly old people, women and children. International court and the court in BiH still haven't punished this crime doers.

Every year, on September 14th on the feast of the Elevation of the Holy cross, families of the victims and other believers gather in Uzdol where they pray for the victims, but for the perpetrators as well, as the Lord Jesus Christ asked. The cross of Uzdol is a sign of martyrdom, but a sign of Christian's forgiveness as well.