In Zagreb, the Sarcophagus of Cardinal Stepinac
The cathedral of Zagreb contains the Sarcophagus of Cardinal Stepinac. It is constructed of glass allowing for perpetual viewing of the remains. The tomb was made by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.
Aloysius Viktor Stepinac (1898-1960) was the Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 until his death in 1960, including the fascist rule of the Ustaše over the Axis puppet state the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) from 1941 to 1945 during World War II.
According to the website of the Pan Orthodox Christian Unity "Stepinac used Nazi Germany to achieve an ethnically clean (without Serbs) Croatia. As the Supreme Military Apostolic Vicar of the Ustashi Army, Stepinac participated in genocide of Serbs, Jews and Roma population, and also actively participated in military and political functions, cooperating with Fascist, Nazi and Ustashi Commanders."
In this way he was tried by the communist Yugosalvia government after the war and convicted of treason and collaboration with the Ustaše regime. He served his 16-year sentence first in prison, then confined to his home village of Krašić. He was made a cardinal in 1953.
But according to the website catholic.org although "Stepinac had close associations with the Ustaše leaders during the Nazi occupation, had issued proclamations celebrating the NDH, and welcomed the Ustaše leaders", he "also objected against the persecution of Jews and Nazi laws, helped Jews and others to escape and criticized Ustaše atrocities in front of Zagreb Cathedral in 1943." Furthermore "After the war he publicly condemned the new Yugoslav government and its actions during World War II, especially for murders of priests by Communist militants".
At that time these two differents interpretations of Stepinac’s behavior polarized public opinion both in Yugoslavia and beyond.
In October 3, 1998, Pope John Paul II declared him a martyr and beatified him before 500.000 Croatians in Marija Bistrica near Zagreb. This again polarized public opinion and re-ignited old controversies between Catholicism and Communism and between Serbs and Croats. The cathedral was visited by Pope Benedict XVI on 5 June 2011 where he celebrated Sunday Vespers and prayed before the tomb of Blessed Aloysius Viktor Stepinac.
These photos were taken in August 2017