Roma Crowd Seeking Out Services of Healer Shuts Down Piestany

A group of Roma waiting to see the self-proclaimed healer at a public park in Piestany on July 18, 2018 (photo by TASR)

Piestny, July 18 (TASR) – Hundreds of Roma from Slovakia, but also the Czech Republic, Austria and even Sweden were converging on Piestany (Trnava region) for a week to seek out a healer who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ endowed with miraculous healing powers, TASR learnt on Wednesday.

Crowds of Roma flocked to a former cemetery that now serves as the town park. The daily presence of some 200 people unsettled the inhabitants of Piestany in general and nearby houses in particular, prompting an increased police presence as well as regular sessions of the emergency security council at the mayor’s office.

The Roma waited for the ‘healer’ since the morning, praying and hoping that he’ll restore their health. “A Piestany local has received this gift from God following an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He allegedly healed a child, and the rumour spread across the Roma community – even faster than via social networks,” TASR was told by Piestany Town Police chief Marcel Mihalik.

According to police findings, the healer, 40, hails from Piestany and has a regular job. When he comes to the gathering, he picks out one or two people – usually children – to receive his healing energy. Subsequently, the assembly disperses and the process is repeated on the next day. The Roma arrange accommodation with acquaintances living in the vicinity.

In the early stages the crowd at the healing sessions was 20-30 strong, but numbers later swelled into hundreds. The people of Piestany soon began to complain about the rubbish that the crowds were leaving behind and the fact that the area was occupied by their cars. The police even sought assistance from the Piestany vajda [the main authority figure in Roma communities – ed. note]. “I must note that after this some of them showed up to collect the discarded bottles,” said Mihalik.

Town spokesperson Eva Bereczova reported that a rubbish container was temporarily set up at the location.

On Tuesday (July 17), the healer failed to turn up. The police learnt that he was “recharging his energy”. “We’re not sure whether he was discouraged by the media coverage,” stated Mihalik, adding that no local Roma were present in the crowd. “Quite likely because they know him well.”

The police have no evidence at the moment that the ‘healer’ has been charging any money for his services.

One of the Roma spoke to Plus Jeden Den. “Yes, a holy man comes here to heal people! He leads a frugal life, drinking only water and eating bread. He hardly ever sleeps and also goes to the toilet only rarely.”

The situation calmed down on Wednesday afternoon, when the park became deserted by most of the crowd. “Those who are still present have been issued with plastic bags and are gradually tidying the place up,” Mihalik later reported.