“I am a servant – I have become all things to all people.”
Ladislav Heryán was born on the 24th of February, 1960 in Petřvald, near Nový Jičín. He graduated from the Secondary Technical School of Construction in Ostrava, when he was 17 he began attending a secret course in theology. From 1979 on, he studied at the Faculty of Civil Engineering of Brno University of Technology, and in summer 1981 he secretly joined the Salesian order. After receiving his university degree and undergoing compulsory military service, he worked at a concrete panel factory in Brno while continuing in his studies of theology. In August 1987, he emigrated to Rome with the aim to complete his studies of theology and serve as a missionary in Africa. However, after the Velvet Revolution the superiors of his order asked him to return to his homeland after completing his postgraduate studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Biblicum). Having lived abroad for ten years, he returned to the Czech Republic in 1997 and took up a posting at the Faculty of Theology of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, where he lectured on New Testament and Greek. He also led the student community and the nearby parish of Suchý Vrbný. From September 2002 he functioned as the director and chaplain of the Salesian community in Prague-Kobylisy. In September 2009 he defended his dissertation and became a Doctor of Theology. He is often called ‘pastor of the underground’, he preached at the funeral of Ivan Martin Jirous (a prominent figure of the Czech underground) in Kostelní Vydří on 19 November 2011. He currently lectures at Jabok Higher Vocational School and the Institute of Ecumenical Studies of the Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University in Prague (IES PTF CU).