ThDr. Pavel Aleš (Axman)

* 1935  

  • "I was born Axman in Řimice, where I grew up as a young boy. I used to see the priests who worked in the eparchy, which moved here in 1934. They were attending the service in the church in Řimice. Bishop Gorazd, when he was present, used to go to the prayer every day. So we would meet him after school. As first-graders, we were left to go home from school early, so I had the opportunity to see the clerics and I knew them more or less personally."

  • "At that time, my father was already working at the Ministry of National Defense (MNO). After the war, they created a new department at the ministry which provided spiritual services of the Orthodox Church to the MNO. Maybe you will think that it was a political act, but when I asked my father what kind of work he was doing there, he said that he had a lot of work. In particular, it was necessary to register the war graves of the Orthodox Russians and Romanians. In the case of the Russians, the situation was somewhat more complicated, because Stalinist atheism had already been instituted in Russia by then. But I know that he had a lot of work putting the Romanian graves in the books. He did this until 1950. Then, the MNO spiritual-services department was abolished and my father was offered to remain in the army. However, they offered him the position of a political officer, which was a sort of an ideological post. He refused, which made me and my sister happy. For his refusal, he had to leave Prague and serve in the countryside, in Tábor."

  • "I remember that when my father returned from forced labor in Germany he was sick. He was recovering for a long time from his kidney problems. Still, he would secretly hold services at our home in Řimice, despite the strict ban that had been issued by the Gestapo. On Sunday, people would gather at our home to pray. There were no service dishes or robes. The faithful people from Řimice came to our place."

  • "When we were children, we used to ask my dad about the way the Gestapo treated him after the execution of Bishop Gorazd, when the arrests of the priests began here in September. He told us that he had been several times taken to the St. Ludmila Church where he had to show them and hand over to them all of the inventory, all the service dishes, etc. But I was intrigued to learn that as they flocked inside the temple he told them vigorously: 'Gentlemen, hats off!' Maybe he didn't realize that if they had been brutes, it would have had dire consequences for him. But surprisingly, they obeyed him."

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    Řimice, 05.02.2013

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    duration: 02:22:33
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Gentlemen, hats off!

Pavel Aleš (Axman) former photo
Pavel Aleš (Axman) former photo

ThDr. Pavel Aleš (Axman) was born on 8 April, 1935, in Řimice. His father, the Orthodox priest Bohumír Aleš (Axman) – he changed his surname to Aleš after the war – was born on 7 November, 1909, also in Řimice. From 1924 onwards, he studied theology at the Orthodox School of St. Sáva in Sremski Karlovci. After passing the graduation exam, he continued his studies at the Theological Faculty in Belgrade. Due to the lack of Orthodox clergymen at home, the Bishop Gorazd urged him to return to his fatherland. After completing the compulsory school-leaving exam at the state-run secondary school in Prague’s Vinohrady, which guaranteed him state aid, on 7 January, 1933, he married Božena, née Lakomá. Nothing prevented him any longer from being ordained a priest by the Bishop Gorazd. He worked briefly at the headquarters in Prague. Since 1934, he worked as an archivist and librarian of the eparchial Council in Řimice. After the Anthropoid military operation and the subsequent death of Reinhard Heydrich, he was among the persecuted Czech Orthodox clergymen. In September 1942, Bohumír Aleš (Axman) was arrested in Olomouc and subsequently sent to forced labor in the Reich (as one of the first Orthodox clergymen). He was allowed to return home for health reasons in 1943. At his house in Řimice, he secretly held Orthodox religious services until the liberation. In the years 1947-1950, he worked as a military cleric of the Orthodox Church. Until his retirement, he served in the church community in Prague and shortly in Tábor. Bohumír Aleš (Axman) died after a long and serious illness aged 70 years on 18 January, 1980.