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“Texas Bar”: Persecuted Priests’ Secret Underground Hideout Opened To Visitors In Pécs – Pictures!

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2015.08.25.

A secret underground passageway on the area of the Bishopric of Pécs used by priests during the Communist-era persecution of the Church as an undercover meeting place has been opened to visitors following renovation.

The mysterious secret cellar can be considered a symbol because the church itself operated underground during Communism, Father Frigyes Kvanduk of the Diocese of Pécs explained on the state all-news channel M1. The passageway, which runs five to six metres deep underground, connected the basement of the Bishop’s Palace with the granary, but its function greatly exceeded this role. Although the atheistic dictatorship and the church were opposed to each other, characters from both sides strived for a sort of dialogue, Father Kvanduk explained. This meant that church figures regularly retreated to the secret passageway, colloquially named “Texas Bar”, in the company of fellow priests, politicians or members of their flock on how the values of Christianity and the believers themselves could be saved in the dire times of Communist dictatorship.  Talks were held here because they thought that Communist secret services would be unable to bug conversations in the secret location, the priest explained. Tradition has it that the late Bishop József Cserháti (1914-1994) held talks on several occasions with important dignitaries in the cellar to avoid being monitored by secret police.

The Bishopric of Pécs has now restored the historic passageway to provide a unique setting for the display of the woeful times of the Communist-era persecution of the Church and paying respect to the memory of persecuted priests. The renovation of the gardens of the Bishop’s Palace and the secret passageway are both part of the EU-funded project which has seen the southeastern tower and southern roof structure of the cathedral, the granary, the Turkish-era mosque at Széchenyi tér, central Pécs, the Bishop’s Palace, the building of the Csontváry Museum, the Canon’s Palace in Káptalan utca and the pilgrims’ shelter all being reborn over recent years. The reconstruction programme is aimed at increasing the city’s touristic appeal and the development of services connected to the tourism industry.

via hirado.hu
photo: Tamás Sóki/MTI