In 1914, World War I began. Romania entered the war against Austria-Hungary. Since Fr. Anton was of Austrian descent, he was interred in a camp in Moldavia for a time until his innocence could be proven. He was eventually released into the care of a cloistered convent for the remainder of the war.
In 1924, Fr. Anton was appointed rector of the seminary in Bucharest. Four years later, he was ordained the Bishop of Iaşi. His first words to his people was that God had sent him to Laşi “in order that I may serve everyone with all my might until I breathe my last.” (source) Unfortunately, only a year after his episcapal ordination, the regime arrested Bishop Anton with fabricated charges. Bishop Anton spent the next two years in prison where he was regularly tortured and deprived of food simply because he was a Catholic priest. Shortly before he died from malnutrition on December 10th, 1951, Bishop Anton begged his fellow prisoners for prayers that he would have a happy death. A Catholic priest who also in the prison with him, was able to give him final absolution through the cell door. (source) Bishop Anton was subsequently buried in an unmarked grave and all records of his imprisonment were destroyed.
In May 2014, Bishop Anton was beatified as a “martyr for the faith”. His feast is celebrated on December 21.
- Born in Austria in 1888; grew up in and became a citizen of Romania
- In addition to speaking Romanian fluently, he was proficient in Hungarian, French, German, Italian, Greek and Latin.
- He was ordained a priest a the Basilica of St. John Lateran
- Studied canon law and philosophy at the Angelicum
- Imprisoned during WWI because of his Austrian background
- Ordained a bishop by Pope Pius XII in 1948
- Incarcerated by the communists in 1949; died in a communist prison in 1951 as a result of beatings and starvation
- Buried in an unmarked grave