Slovenian Covid-19 victims commemorated by senior officials

Photo: STA

Ljubljana – Senior state and religious officials attended a memorial service at Ljubljana’s Žale cemetery on Sunday for people who have died from Covid-19, on the anniversary of the first death recorded in Slovenia. In his keynote, President Borut Pahor express condolences to the victim’s families and said the virus had not been defeated yet.

“Many people in these merciless times said goodbye in deep and painful solitude, without a last, gentle touch and bitter tears of farewell in the eyes of their relatives,” the president said at the ceremony.

“This leaves a deep wounds that never heal in those who remain,” Pahor added, noting that Slovenia was in sorrow and mourning together today, and that it was easier for one to live with pain if they know that they were not alone.

Fear and pain can only be beaten by hope and cooperation, and Slovenia could witness that the most noble human virtues during these difficult times, the president said, thanking all those who dedicated their knowledge and hard work to fighting for every life.

“A difficult years is behind us. A long, sorrowful and lonely year. Everybody among us has lost someone, everybody has lost something that we have missed,” Pahor said, adding that the epidemic had made people aware of the importance of solidarity.

The president also stressed that this “special, unusual period” was not over just yet and he thus called for mutual respect, courage and solidarity.

A willow tree was also planted today at the main cemetery in the capital in memory of the Covid-19 victims. It was blessed by the head of the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference, Ljubljana Archbishop and Metropolitan Stanislav Zore.

Addressing the ceremony, Zore said that “we cannot bring the deceased back to life, we cannot take away the pain from the mourners, and healthcare workers do not need shallow words.”

He added that the dead could be paid respects to and that believers could pray for them, that the mourners could be shown closeness and compassion, and healthcare workers could be shown gratitude, and called people to stand together as the virus has not been defeated yet.

The ceremony was also attended by Prime Minister Janez Janša, parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič, National Council President Alojz Kovšca, Slovenian Evangelical Lutheran Church priest Geza Filo and Nevzet Porić of the Slovenian Islamic Community.