Four Military Chaplains Among Dead at Smolensk

According to published reports, the Polish dead at Smolensk include four senior military chaplains from Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant faith communities. Four civilian priests also died.

The four military chaplains include:

  • Major General Tadeusz Ploski – Senior Chaplain in the Polish Armed Forces, Catholic Bishop and Senior Catholic Chaplain
  • Brigadier General Miron Chodakowski – Senior Orthodox Chaplain for the Polish Armed Forces and Orthodox Archbishop
  • Colonel Adam Pilch – Deputy Senior Chaplain Protestant Chaplain for the Polish Armed Forces
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jan Osinski – Field Chaplain (Catholic)

According to Catholic Online,

The Catholic Bishop killed in the crash was Tadeusz Ploski of the Military ordinariate. He was 53 years old. Bishop Ploski was born in 1956 in Lidzbark Warminski in the northeast of Poland. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Warmia in 1982. He studied Canon Law at the Catholic University of Lublin and later obtained a Doctorate. As a priest he served the Polish Bishops as a Canon lawyer. He became the editor of the Diocesan newspaper and Chaplain to the College of Education and the Academy of Agriculture and Technology in Olsztyn. In 1992 he was assigned to minister to the faithful in the Polish military. Even in the military he served as a correspondent for Vatican Radio and Catholic News Sources. Fr. Ploski published 150 articles about Canon Law. He was a highly regarded expert on pastoral care and law in the military services. He was consecrated a Bishop by the Venerable Pope John Paul II for the Military Ordinariate. . . .

Orthodox Archbishop Miron Chodakowski, the Orthodox chaplain to the Polish military Brigadier General and Bishop of Hajnówka was also killed. . . . Archbishop Chodakowski was 52 years old. He was born in 1957 in Bialystok. In 1978 he was tonsured and ordained a deacon. In 1979 he was ordained a priest and a hieromonk. He served as the governor of the monastery church. St. Humphrey the Great in Jableczna. He became Rector of the Orthodox Theological Seminary. In 1984 he was appointed pastor of the parish church of Annunciation of Our Lady in Supraœl. In 1990, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite and was governor of the monastery in Supraœl. In 1998 he was consecrated as a Bishop of the Hajnówka diocese. Also in 1998, the Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski appointed bishop Miron as Brigadier General and Orthodox Ordinary of Polish Army. In 2003 he earned a doctorate in theology and in 2008 Bishop Miron was raised to the rank of archbishop.

The four civilian priests include:

  • Father Bronisław Gostomski
  • Father Jósef Joniec
  • Father Zdzisław Król
  • Father Andrzej Kwaśnik

All were part of a Polish delegation traveling to the Katyn Forest in Russia where troops of the former Soviet Union murdered 22,000 Polish officers in 1940. The officers had been taken prisoner during the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939. The planned 70th anniversary observance was part of a process of reconciliation and healing.

My condolences to the people of Poland, and especially to those close to the deceased. May the hope that is ours in Christ our Lord give them peace.