This edited excerpt from Branko’s blog is fascinating. Branko was visiting the town of Stara Tura, in the White Carpathian Mountains on the Czech-Slovak border. When he drove into the town’s main square he noticed a TV crew filming the uncovering of a memorial statue. When it was uncovered, the memorial he recognised that the statue commemorated a Slovak Professor, Jozef Rohaček, and his work.
“Professor Rohaček (1877-1962) was born in Stara Tura, but lived and worked in Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, and what is now Serbia, in Vojvodina. As a Lutheran missionary, later pastor and teacher, he spent five years in Kisač and surroundings, teaching Slovaks to write and read in their mother tongue, from 1906-1911. Additionally, while in Kisač, he published the first ever Slovak translation of the Gospel of Mark in 1910. The whole Bible was published in 1934, and was translated from the original languages. The church, however, did not endorse his work… but when the Bible was printed eventually, the first 5,000 copies were sold in less than four months. Such was a hunger for the Word of the Lord in the Slovak language.
Here is what Stefan Šebo wrote about Jozef Rohaček in his 2010 book Jozef Rohaček, zivot a dielo:
“He was working on socio-theological concepts as a solution to the social situation of the Slovak nation… he had worked on a translation all of his life while working as a teacher, pastor, assistant, friend and brother. Along with his family he founded the orphanages, homes for the elderly, hospitals, schools, chapels and churches… He challenged the theology of the time because he recognsed that theology was soaked with evolutionary ideas and was progressing in a questionable direction… Jozef Rohaček himself was a representative of the social dimension of the biblical testimony…”