Slovakia, Vysoká nad Kysucou, May 29, 2020. In the area of the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Matthew the Apostle was planted the first “COVID-19 Tree of Peace” in 2020. The well-known complications caused by coronavirus COVID-19 disease caused a worldwide collapse and restrictions, which also affected the international project called Tree of Peace. This year, the pandemic postponed already planned and confirmed tree plantings in Ireland, Germany, Cyprus, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Saint Helena Island. In Liechtenstein, the tree will be planted “at a distance” only with the participation of local partners, and we hope that in the autumn of this year we will be able to unveil a memorial pillar next to the tree. With the gradual recovery of the economy, a significant milestone is the planting of the first Tree of Peace in 2020. This tree planted in Vysoká nad Kysucou has a special name that reflects the current global situation: “COVID-19 Tree of Peace.” This project is currently taking on another dimension. All of us should behave responsibly to the current global situation. It is concerning all of us very much. Our tree is not only a Tree of Peace, but also a Tree of Understanding – Tree of Life. We are now much more aware of the importance of a clean environment and we should adapt and not take control of nature and its resources. Currently we link plantings also with the current global situation and the planting of trees in addition to the memory of world war disasters are taken also to the memory of natural disasters. By planting each Tree of Peace we can draw attention internationally to the environmental problems of the world, special the fragility of nature. The Tree of Peace is an excellent matter for this purpose.
The place and planting in Vysoká nad Kysucou were not random. 240 years ago, in 1780, the first parish priest Ján Babtista Finstervalter, a member of the Slovak Educated Brotherhood (in Slovak: Slovenské učené tovarišstvo), welcomed an important visit to the parish Vysoká Nad Kysucou. At that time Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor was visited parish and had lunch with the local priest. Oak tree (Quercus robur) in the rare variety ‘Jan Zamoyski’ replaced the destroyed linden tree in front of the Church of Saint Matthew the Apostle. This planting will thus commemorate not only the anniversary of a significant visit, but also the first planting of the Tree of Peace, which reflects on global situation. Since 2020, in the context of the global pandemic, memorial trees also commemorate victims of natural disasters, including victims of COVID-19. After a short prayer, the Fourteenth Tree of Peace was planted together by the parish priest František Mikuláš, the mayor Anton Varecha, the author of the project Marek Sobola and the technical manager of the project Róbert Machciník. After the planting all involved guests moved to the Parish Office, where hot chocolate was served, the same drink that Emperor Joseph II here in 240 years ago enjoyed also.
The Tree of Peace seeks joining people of good will and as strictly apolitical, commemorates the end of the great wars conflicts and natural disasters in our modern history. The News Agency of the Slovak Republic and the Press office of Episcopal Conference of Slovakia also provided information about the event.