GENEVA (RNS/ENI) — Lutherans in Poland lost a second bishop to tragedy when Bishop Mieczyslaw Cieslar died in a car accident as he returned from the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash that also claimed the life of Bishop Adam Pilch.
Cieslar, of the Warsaw diocese of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland, died April 19 in a car accident on his way home from Kaczynski’s funeral, according to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
The Rev. Ishmael Noko, the LWF’s general secretary, said in a condolence letter to the head of the church, Bishop Jerzy Samiec, that the untimely death of the Warsaw bishop came at a particularly difficult period of mourning for the country and its people.
The Warsaw bishop was well known to the LWF as a church leader and seminary teacher, said Noko, who met with Cieslar as part of a Polish delegation that visited LWF headquarters in Geneva in 2000.
“On that occasion we were privileged to come closer to him, know him as a warm hearted and committed servant of the Lord engaged in theological and inter-confessional conversations in Poland, and to appreciate his pastoral care for those who were entrusted to him in his various responsibilities,” Noko said.
Pilch, the church’s acting military bishop, was among 96 Polish dignitaries killed on April 10 when their plane crashed in Russia en route to a memorial ceremony for the 70th anniversary of a massacre of Polish nationals in Russia’s Katyn forest.
© 2010 Religion News Service. Used with permission.
Posted April 30, 2010