Charter 77 signatory and leading theologian Milan Balabán dies at 89

05-01-2019

The Communist-era dissident Milan Balabán has died at the age of 89. A theologian, Evangelical pastor and poet, he was considered one of the Czech Republic’s leading religious thinkers.

In the 1950s Balabán – who was born in what is today Ukraine – joined a group of Evangelical theologians named Nová orientace (New Orientation), which pushed for reforms in Czechoslovakia. He later signed the Charter 77 protest document.

He lost his license to serve as a cleric in the mid-1970s and was forced to do manual labour, including working for the operators of the Prague sewer system.