Retired Bishop of Maribor Jožef Smej died on Saturday at the age of 99, the Slovenian Bishops Conference announced. He was an auxiliary bishop from 1983 until his retirement in 2009, and in addition to his priestly and episcopal ministry, he was also involved in singing, writing, translating, and studying church history.
Laughteroriginally ordained from Bogojina, archbishop in 1944 and first worked as a chaplain in Dokležovje, Dobrovnik and Turnišče. He was first chaplain and later minister and dean of Burska Sobota, and in 1969 moved to Maribor, where he served as cathedral canon, member of bishops’ assembly of bishops, archdeacon, proof of cathedral chapter of Maribor cathedral and vicar general, STA reports. . He was ordained bishop of Maribor in May 1983, and retired in June 2009. Since then he has lived in Maribor and in recent years at Dom sv. Lenart at Lenart in Slovenske Gorice.
He was also involved in poetry, writing, translation and study
Bishop Smeja’s life work is extensive and versatile, because in addition to his priestly and episcopal ministry, he was also involved in poetry, writing, translation and study of church history, the SŠK wrote. The bibliography of his works contains more than 150 units, most of which are independent book publications, according to STA.
He also received the Order of Merit
In 2016, he was the President of the Republic Borut Pahor he was awarded the Order of Merit for Lifetime Achievement and a rich contribution to Slovenian spiritual national culture. Because of his knowledge of Hungarian literature and translations of classic 19th and 20th century novels from Hungarian to Slovenian, he also received the Hungarian state’s high decoration, the Hungarian Gold Cross of Merit, a year earlier. He was an honorary citizen of Maribor, and the documentary feature film Drop on the Bucket, made in 2016, also testifies to his life and work, STA reports.
The funeral will be Tuesday at 3 pm in Bogojina, due to the extraordinary situation in the inner circle. Believers will be able to follow him live on Radio Ognjišče, the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference announced. When the crisis is resolved, a memorial service will also be held.