The "Atlas of the Catholic Church in Slovakia" originates as a result of the project of the Ministry of Education, under the leadership of Prof. ThDr. Viliam Judák, PhD. and Doc. RNDr. Štefan Poláčik, PhD. It is a book that offers a comprehensive look at the Catholic Church in our land - from the very beginning. The publication contains a great amount of archeological and statistical entries: from the information on the oldest church with documentary support, the so-called Pribina temple in Nitra (built in 828-829), to the great variety of facts concerning numbers of other Slovak churches that originated during the following centuries. All the data gathered in this Atlas enable us understand better the whole picture of the lively and effective presence of the Church in Slovakia - from century to century, all over the country.

There is a lot of evidence about this efficacious presence of the Church in the Atlas - in the contributions about Calvaries and Ways of the Holy Cross all around the country, in the descriptions of the holy shrines, in the information on the monastic communities - from the oldest ones - the Benedictines on Zobor. Comparably precious are the data concerning the Catholic schools, the religious literature and the activities of the Charity in Slovakia. Especially comprehensive and informative is the catalogue of the archbishoprics, dioceses, deanships and parishes that bears testimony to the presence of the Church even in the most remote areas, where our people lived and still keep on living.

The "Atlas of the Catholic Church in Slovakia" draws our attention and brings us a very concrete picture of the life the Church has lived in Slovakia; the picture of its structures and organizations, of its various activities in our nation. The Church, with its bishops, schools, monasteries, temples and universities, formed the "backbone" of the spiritual, cultural - and, in many aspects, also of the social and commercial life of the nation. The statistical entries from the last census in 2001 - as quoted in this atlas - testify that the Church is still present in Slovakia - even after long centuries. The Church still lives, still works, still educates children, cares for the families, and works effectively in the temples, in schools, in the culture and in our social life, as an axiomatic part of our life.

Consequently, this Atlas is worth browsing, reading and getting acquainted with - studying the maps and statistical data, widening our views and understanding the standing of the Church in the life of Slovakia - in the course of its 1100 years lasting presence. Especially noticeable is the continuous operation of the Church, also after the overwhelming victory over the rough atheism of the 20th century. The vitality of the Church has been a blessing for Slovakia till the present day.

The "Atlas of the Catholic Church in Slovakia" should accomplish the task of retrieving memories and rendering precious information; a task similar to the mission of the book "Thousand Years of Slovakia with the Church". They supplement each other. That's why the edition of the "Atlas of the Catholic church in Slovakia" is a welcome cultural and spiritual achievement.

Nitra, December 8th, 2004                                           Cardinal Ján Chryzostom Korec