On Friday, April 8, 2022, at 7.30 p.m., a monograph on Friar Milan HOLC, OFM Conv., was presented in the refectory of the Friary of Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles in Ptuj, Slovenia. Friar Milan died in 2019. The monograph, entitled “Truly, Love Is Stronger than Death” was presented on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the birth of Friar Milan.
The monograph was the work of several authors. Each author presented Friar Milan from a different point of view: as a biblical scholar; a teacher; a translator of the Holy Scriptures—who took part in two translations into Slovenian; an enthusiast of biblical archeology; a professional guide for many pilgrimages to the Holy Land; and a proclaimer of the Good News. The monograph also mentioned Friar Milan as a spiritual retreat leader; a spiritual director in various ecclesial movements; an associate pastor; a formator; a film director; and even an illusionist. However, Friar Milan was, above all, a religious who put all his talents at the service of God, the Church, the Order and the people. His religious life was described particularly well by our confrere, the Most Reverend Martin KMETEC, OFM Conv., Archbishop of Izmir, Turkey. The monograph also included some brief contributions or recollections that were written in Italian. It also featured forwards written by the Minister General, Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI and by the Assistant General for the Centralis Europae Foederatio (CEF), Friar Igor SALMIČ. Friar Igor stated that the monograph was both “a kind of grateful remembrance and a sort of ‘resurrection,’ because in writing this text, the deceased was brought back to life.”
A large number of people attended the presentation, including some of the authors of the essays in the monograph; the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph in Slovenia, Friar Milan KOS; and the Most Reverend Alojzij CVIKL, Metropolitan and Archbishop of Maribor, Slovenia. Archbishop CVIKL spoke about having spent almost thirteen years with Friar Milan in Rome and highlighted, among other things, Friar Milan’s cheerful character.
The presentation was characterized by an atmosphere of gratitude. Friar Danilo HOLC, Friar Milan’s brother, gave the opening speech. His own contribution to the monograph provided a detailed overview of the life and work of Friar Milan. He noted that, in addition to those who knew Friar Milan, future generations would also be grateful for this monograph. During the event, a brief summary of each contribution was presented and finally, copies of the monograph were delivered to the co-authors.
In an interview, Friar Milan said: “Three cities are dear to my heart: Ptuj, where I was born, Rome where I was nourished, and Jerusalem where I would like to live.” In that sense, Friar Milan was brought back to life in the memories of all those attending.
During the presentation, hymns were sung by the San Vittorino Choir from the Church of St. George in Ptuj. In 2008, this choir went to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage led by Friar Milan. The choir’s second hymn, entitled, “At Home in Heaven,” was accompanied by a slide show of photos from that pilgrimage, and thus, in a certain sense, a connection was made between the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem, on whose streets we hope Friar Milan is already walking.
Friar Danilo HOLC