On Monday 8 June 2015, liturgical memorial of Blessed Stefano Sándor, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, paid a visit to Cardinal Angelo Amato SDB, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, for the official presentation of the Positio super martyrio(Declaration on martyrdom) of the Servant of God Titus Zeman, SDB. The Rector Major was accompanied by Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General, and Fr Josef Slivoň, vice-postulator of the cause of Fr Zeman.
At the hearing, Cardinal Amato introduced the Rector Major to some members of the congregation, including the Secretary Archbishop Marcello Bartolucci and the Under Secretary, Fr Boguslaw Turek from the Congregation of Michaelites. Fr Á.F. Artime also got to visit some areas of the Congregation, including the archive and the chapel, and the Hall where the Congress and the Ordinary Sessions are held.
The Positio of the martyr Titus Zeman was presented by Fr Zdzisław Kijas, OFM Conv., assisted by his collaborator Doctor Maria Ludovica Zanet and Doctor Helena Barátová. The positio includes a critical and in-depth report of all the apparatus and documentary evidence and the evidence of the witnesses concerning the martyrdom of the Servant of God. The main elements are: a brief presentation by the Rapporteur; the Informatio super martyrio(Informatio on martyrdom) which is the theological part in which it is proved that the Servant of God suffered martyrdom; and the Summarium, a summary of the evidence of the witnesses and relevant documents.
After delivery, the Positio will be examined by the theological consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Titus Zeman, a Salesian priest Slovak, was born to a Christian family in Vajnory January 4, 1915, in Bratislava. He became a Salesian and in Turin, on 23 June 1940, he reached the coveted goal of the priesthood. When the Czechoslovak Communist regime in April 1950 forbade religious orders and began deporting religious men and women to the concentration camps, Fr Zeman organized illegal passage to Turin to enable young Salesians to complete their studies.
The Servant of God organized two expeditions for over 60 young Salesians. On the third expedition, however, Fr Zeman, together with the fugitives, was arrested. He underwent a tough trial during which he was described as a traitor and spy of the Vatican, and even risked death. On 22 February 1952, in consideration of certain mitigating circumstances, he was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
After 12 years Fr Zeman came out of prison on 10 March 1964. By now he was irretrievably scarred by the suffering endured in prison. He died five years later, on 8 January 1969, leaving a glorious reputation of martyrdom and of holiness.