Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Leading Ukrainian prelate recounts priestly vocation under Communist persecution

Catholic World News - May 29, 2012

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has recounted how his priestly vocation developed in the midst of Soviet persecution.

“I grew up in a completely atheistic society where all forms of the transcendental were eliminated,” recalled Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, now 42. “We were taught that there is no God … For the first time I met a priest who came in the middle of the night to celebrate the funeral and then would quietly disappear. And, like a small boy I was curious as to who this person – the priest - was and what was he doing. I saw in that person a real witness of the presence of Christ. This priest was imprisoned twice because of his ministry and through this priest, I really found someone and something worth giving one’s life for. This was an alternative, especially for us young people, to the official values that society was teaching us.”

Later, as a teenager, he began his seminary formation.

“I met my seminary professors at least once every two months and when I met with them, I was always given a book,” the prelate said. “I would then copy and study the book for two months. This method allowed me to study and have a copy for myself of the Gospel of St. Luke for example. This is how my initial formation began. This kind of formation would have taken years to prepare me properly for the priesthood and I know that it was not enough, but this is how I started my priestly formation.”

“As a teenager, at that time I was not aware of the dangers because it was completely a secret and every teenager had his own secret,” he added. “Neither my mother nor my father was aware of this, and this was my personal secret. It was after a year that I understood the dangers that could have resulted had I been discovered by the secret police.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Insights on the enigma that is Pope Francis March 27
Our Most Characteristic Vice? March 27
Recognizing the Noonday Devil March 27
Patricia Jannuzzi on gay activists: And the real problem is? March 27
Surrogate parenthood = exploitation of desperate women March 27

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope announces Jubilee: a Year of Mercy CWN - March 13