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The Holy Father Will Beatify The 2 Latins On 26 June And The 28 Greek-Catholics on 27 June

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This article contains biographies of two Latin and twenty-eight Greek-Catholic Servants of God who were beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 26 and 27, 2001.

Larger Work

L'Osservatore Romano

Pages

3 - 5

Publisher & Date

Vatican, 20 June 2001

I. Martyrs

Women Religious

The Servant of God Sr. Laurentia Herasymiv was born on 31 September 1911 in the village of Rudnyky, Lviv District. In 1931 she entered the Sisters of St Joseph, and in 1933 she made her first vows. In 1951, she was arrested by the agents of the NKVD (KGB) and sent to Borislav. Thereafter, she was exiled to Tomsk, Siberia. She was in very poor health and therefore on 30 June 1950, she was relocated to the village of Harsk, Tomsk, and made to share a room with and attend to a paralysed man because nobody else would share a room with a tuberculosis-infected tenant. She continued to pray much and did much-demanding manual labour. She patiently endured sub-human conditions. She finally died on 28 August 1952 in the village of Kharsk in the Tomsk Region of Siberia.

The Servant of God Sr. Tarsykia Matskiv was born on 23 March 1919 in the village of Khodoriv, Lviv District. On 3 May 1938 she entered the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate. After professing her first vows on 5 November 1940, she worked in her convent. Even prior to the Bolshevik arrival in Lviv, Sr. Tarsykia made a private oath to her spiritual director, Fr. Volodymyr Kovalyk O.S.B.M., that she would sacrifice her life for the conversion of Russia and for the good of the Catholic Church. The Bolsheviks were determined to destroy the monastery. On the morning of 17 July 1944 at 8 a.m., a Russian soldier rang the convent door. When Sr. Taryskia answered the door she was shot without warning and died.

The Servant of God Sr. Olympia Bida was born in 1903 in the village of Tsebliv, Lviv District. She entered the Sisters of St Joseph and served in various towns and villages as a teacher of catechism, director of novices, attendant to the aged and infirm. She had a special charism for youth and personally attended to the education of a number of young women. She was appointed superior of the convent in the town of Kheriv, and did her best to see to the spiritual and social needs of the people in spite of the Communist pressure surrounding their work. In 1951, she was arrested with two other sisters, imprisoned for a while then exiled to the Tomsk region of Siberia.

Under conditions of heavy forced labour, Sr. Olympia tried to perform her duties as superior and organized her sisters and other sisters in other camps to come together and to pray and support each other. Succumbing to a serious illness, she died on 28 January 1952.

Laity

The Servant of God Volodymyr Pryjma was born on 17 July 1906 in the village of Stradch, Yavoriv District. After graduating from a school for cantors, which was under the care of Metropolitan Sheptytsky, he became the cantor and choir director in the village church of Stradch. On 26 June 1941 agents of the NKVD mercilessly tortured and murdered him along with Fr. Nicholas Conrad, in the forest near their village as they were returning from the home of a sick woman, who had requested the sacrament of reconciliation.

Bishop And Priests

The Servant of God Archbishop Jozef Bilczewski (Latin-rite) was born into a peasant family in Wilamowice on 26 April 1860. He was eldest of nine. In August 1880 he entered the Seminary of Krakow and was ordained a priest on 6 July 1884. He then moved to Vienna to continue his studies and earned a doctorate in theology. In Rome and Paris he specialized in dogmatic theology and in Christian archaeology. In 1891 he became a professor at the University of Lviv. He was appointed Archbishop of Lviv for Latins on 18 December 1900. In his episcopal mission he had to face difficulties due to internal problems and the conflicts of the First World War. He often intervened with the civil authorities on behalf of Poles, Ukrainians and Jews. The Polish-Ukrainian War (1918-19) brought a new wave of violence to the people and many priests were killed or put in prison. Then the Bolshevik invasion (1919-20) was unleashed with all its fury against the Catholic Church. He stood firm to protect one and all without distinctions of race or religion. From 1918-21 his Archdiocese lost about 120 priests. Seriously ill, he accepted sickness calmly and courageously. He died on 20 March 1923 in Lviv.

The Servant of God Bishop Mykola Charnetsky was born on 14 December 1884 in the village of Semakivtsi, Horodenka District. Upon his graduation from the seminary, he was ordained to the priesthood on 2 October 1909. He obtained his doctorate in dogmatic theology from Rome and became a spiritual director and professor at the seminary in Stanislaviv (now called Ivano-Frankivsk). In 1919, he entered the noviciate of the Redemptorist Fathers in Zboiska, near Lviv. In 1926, Pope Pius XI, upon the request of Metropolitan Andriy, appointed Fr Mykola as the Apostolic Visitor to Greek Catholics in Volyn and Polissia. The ceremony of his ordination to the episcopacy took place on 2 February 1931, in Rome. During the first Bolshevik occupation, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky appointed him as the Apostolic Exarch of Volyn and Pidlassia. On 11 April 1945 he was arrested by the NKVD and sentenced to six years of forced labour in Siberia. On 2 April 1959 he died in Lviv.

The Servant of God Bishop Nicetas Budka was born on 7 June 1877 in the village of Dobromirka, Zbarazh District. In 1905, after graduating from theology in Vienna and Innsbruck, he was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky. He was consecrated Bishop in Lviv on 14 October 1912. That same year he was appointed by the Holy See as the Apostolic Exarch in Canada. In 1928, he became Vicar General of the Metropolitan Chapter of Lviv.

On 11 April 1945 the Soviet government imprisoned him with a sentence of eight years. He died a martyr on 1 October 1949 in a concentration camp in Karaganda, Kazakhstan.

The Servant of God Bishop Hryhory Lakota was born on 31 January 1883 in the village of Holodivka, in Lemko Region. He studied theology in Lviv and was ordained to the priesthood in 1908 in the city of Przemysl. In Vienna, in 1911, he received his Ph.D. in theology. In 1913, he became a professor at the Greek Catholic seminary in Przemysl, later becoming its rector. On 16 May 1926, he was ordained to the episcopacy and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Przemysl. On 9 June 1946, he was arrested and imprisoned for 10 years in Vorkuta, Russia. He died as a martyr for the faith on 12 November 1950, in the village of Abez, near Vorkuta.

The Servant of God Bishop Hryhory Khomyshyn was born on 25 March 1867 in the village of Hadynkivtsi, Ternopil District. After graduating from the seminary he was ordained to the priesthood on 18 November 1893. His theological education was enriched during further studies in Vienna from 1894-1899. In 1902, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky appointed Fr. Gregory as Rector of the seminary in Lviv. Fr. Gregory was ordained bishop for Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) in St. George Cathedral in 1904. In 1939, he was arrested for the first time by the NKVD (KGB). His second arrest was in April 1945, after which he was deported to Kyiv. He died in Kyiv's NKVD prison on 17 January 1947.

The Servant of God Bishop Josaphat Kotsylovsky was born on 3 March 1876 in the village of Pakoshivka, Lemko Region. He graduated with a degree in theology in Rome in 1907, and later in that same year on October 9 he was ordained to the priesthood. Not long after that he was appointed to be vice-rector and professor of theology at the Greek-Catholic seminary in Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk). On 2 October 1911 he entered the noviciate of the Basilian order. He was ordained to the episcopacy on 23 September 1917 in Przemysl. In September 1945 the Communist regime in Poland arrested him for the 1st time, then released him and in 1946 for the second time, handing him over again to the Soviet Union. He died a martyr for the faith on 17 November 1947 in the Kyiv prison.

The Servant of God Bishop Simeon Lukach was born on 7 July 1893 in the village of Starunia, Stanislaviv Region. His parents were simple villagers who worked the land. In 1913, he entered the seminary. His studies were interrupted for two years during World War I but he was able to complete his studies in 1919. That same year he was ordained a priest by Bishop Hryhory Khomyshyn. He taught moral theology at the seminary in Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) until April 1945, when it is suspected that Bishop Hryhory secretly ordained him a bishop. On 26 October 1949 he was arrested by the NKVD and was released on 11 February 1955. He functioned as an underground member of the clergy, but in July 1962 he was arrested for a second time and appeared in court with Bishop Ivan Sleziuk, who too was an underground bishop. While in prison, he was stricken with tuberculosis, which hastened his death on 22 August 1964.

The Servant of God Bishop Ivan Sleziuk was born on 14 January 1896 in the village of Zhyvachiv, Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) Region. After graduating from the seminary in 1923, he was ordained to the priesthood. In April 1945 Bishop Hryhory Khomyshyn ordained him as his Co-adjutor with the right of succession as a precaution in case Bishop Khomyshyn should be arrested. However, shortly thereafter on 2 June 1945, Bishop Ivan was arrested and deported for ten years to the labour camps in Vorkuta, Russia. In 1950 he was transferred to the labour camps in Mordovia, Russia. After his release on 15 November 1954, he returned to Ivano-Frankivsk. In 1962, he was arrested for the second time and imprisoned for five years in a camp of strict regiment. After his release on 30 November 1968, he had to often go to the KGB for regular "talks." The last visit was two weeks before his death, which was on 2 December 1973 in Ivano-Frankivsk.

The Servant of God Fr. Leonid Feodorov was born to a Russian Orthodox family on 4 November 1879 in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1902, he left his Orthodox seminary and traveled to Rome, where he became Catholic. He studied in Anonia, Rome and Friburg. On 25 March 1911, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Eastern-rite in Bosnia. Also in Bosnia in 1913, he became a monk of the Studite monastery. Afterwards, he returned to St. Petersburg and was subsequently arrested and sent to Siberia. In 1917, he was released and appointed to be the head of the Russian Catholic Church of the Eastern-rite, with the title of Exarch. His second arrest came in 1923; he was sent to Solovky Islands on the White Sea and to Vladka for ten years. He died a martyr for the faith on 7 March 1935. In 1937, with the help of the Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky, the process for his beatification was undertaken.

The Servant of God Fr. Petro Verhun was born on 18 November 1890 in Horodok, Lviv Region. On 30 October 1927 he was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky at St. George's Cathedral in Liviv, and was appointed pastor of the Greek Catholics in Berlin, Germany. Sometime later, he became the Apostolic Visitor to Germany. In June 1945, he was arrested and sent to Siberia. He died a martyr of the faith on 7 February 1957 in the village of Angarskiy, in the territory of Krasnoiarsk, Russia.

The Servant of God Archimandrite Clement Sheptytsky, the younger brother of the Servant of God Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky, was born on 17 November 1869 in the village of Prylbychi, Lviv Region. In 1911, at the age of 40, he entered the monastery of St. Theodore the Studite; by so doing he renounced a promising secular career. He received his theological education in Innsbruck. On 28 August 1915 he was ordained to the priesthood. For a long time he was the Hegumenos (Prior) of the Studite monastery at Univ, and in 1944 he became the Archimandrite (Abbot). During World War II, he gave refuge to persecuted Jews. On 5 June 1947, he was arrested by the NKVD (KGB) agents and sentenced to eight years of hard labour. He died a martyr for the faith on 1 May 1951 in the Vladimir prison.

The Servant of God Bishop Theodore Romzha was born on 14 April 1911, in the village of Veliky Bychkiv, Transcarpathia. From 1930-1933, he studied philosophy in Rome and completed his theological education also in Rome from 1933-1937, culminating in a Licentiate. Shortly thereafter, he became an administrator of the parish in Berezovo. Beginning in 1939, he was a professor of philosophy at the seminary in Uzhorod. On 24 September 1944, he was ordained to the episcopacy for the Mukachevo eparchy. During the Red Army presence in the Carpathian region of Ukraine, he was tireless in his defence of the rights of the Catholic Church there. On 27 October 1947, the Soviets attempted to kill Bishop Romzha. Heavily wounded, he was taken to the hospital in Mukachiv, where he was subsequently poisoned and died on 1 November 1947.

The Servant of God Fr. Emilian Kovch was born on 20 August 1884, near Kosiv. In 1911, after graduating from the College of Sts Sergius and Bacchus in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood. In the spring of 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo for aiding Jews. On 25 March 1944 he was burned to death in the ovens of the Majdanek Nazi death camp. On 9 September 1999 he was honoured with the title "Righteous Ukrainian" by the Jewish Council of Ukraine.

The Servant of God Fr. Severian Baranyk was born on 18 July 1889. On 24 September 1904 he entered the Krekhiv Monastery of the Order of St. Basil the Great in Krekhiv, and made his final vows on 21 September 1910. He was ordained to the priesthood on 14 February 1915. In 1932 he became the Hegumenos (Prior) of the Basilian monastery in Drohobych. On 26 June 1941, the NKVD (KGB) took him to prison, after which he was never seen alive again. After the Bolsheviks withdrew, the people searching the prison found his body, mutilated by tortures.

The Servant of God Fr. Zenobius Kovalyk was born on 18 August 1903 in the village of Ivachev, not far from Ternopil. He entered the Congregation of the Redemptorists, where on 28 August 1926, he made his religious vows. His philosophical and theological education was completed in Belgium. After returning to Ukraine he was ordained to the priesthood on 4 September 1932. He was assigned to serve in Volyn. On 20 December 1940, he was arrested in a church while preaching a sermon in honour of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Theotokos (Mother of God). In 1941, he was martyred by the Communists in a mock crucifixion against a wall in the Bryhidky prison (formerly a convent of the Sisters of St. Bridgette), Lviv.

The Servant of God Fr. Roman Lysko was born on 14 August 1914 in Horodok, Lviv Region. He graduated from the Lviv Theological Academy. He and his wife worked very gladly with the youth. On 28 August 1941 he was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky. On 9 September 1949, he was arrested by the NKVD (KGB) and put into a prison on Lontskoho St. in Lviv. The people of Lviv reported to one another that after being tortured, the young Fr. Roman sang Psalms at the top of his voice. It was then reported that they had immured him alive in the prison walls. His death is officially dated on 14 October 1949.

The Servant of God Bishop Vasyl Velychkovsky was born 1 June 1903 in Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk). In 1920, he entered the Greek Catholic seminary in Lviv. In 1925 he took his first religious vows in Holosko, near Lviv, and was ordained to the priesthood on 9 October 1925. Fr. Basil became a teacher and missionary in Volyn. In 1942, he became the Hegumenos (prior) of the monastery in Ternopil, where he was later arrested in 1945 and taken away to Kyiv. While there, his death sentence was commuted to ten years of forced labour. He returned to Lviv in 1955 and in 1963, he was consecrated bishop in Moscow. His second imprisonment occurred in 1969 when he was given a three-year sentence. This confessor of the faith, already near death, was released to travel to Rome and then to Winnipeg, Canada, where he died within a year on 30 June 1973.

The Servant of God Fr. Mykola Tsehelskyi was born on 17 December 1896 in the village of Strusiv, Ternopil District. In 1923, he completed the course in the theological faculty at Lviv University. On 5 April 1925, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky ordained him to the priesthood. He was a zealous priest who took care of the spirituality, education and welfare of his parishioners. He was the parish priest in the village of Soroko, where he built a new church. After World War II the era of total repressions began. Fr. Mykola personally experienced intimidation, threats and beatings. On 28 October 1946, he was arrested. On 27 January 1947, he was sentenced to ten years in prison. Although he had a wife, two sons and two daughters, he was deported to labour camps in Mordovia. He lived in extremely horrid conditions, in a camp that was notoriously strict and cruel. He suffered from severe pain and died on 25 May 1951 as a martyr for the faith. He is buried in the camp cemetery.

The Servant of God Fr. Oleksiy Zarytskyi was born in 1913 in the village of Biche, in the Lviv Region. In 1931, he entered the seminary in Lviv. He received his ordination to the priesthood from Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky in 1936. In 1948, he was imprisoned for ten years and deported to Karaganda. After his early release in 1957, he was named Apostlic Administrator of Kazakhstan and Siberia, but was shortly thereafter imprisoned again for a three-year term. He died as a martyr for the faith on 30 October 1963 in the Dolynka concentration camp near Karaganda.

The Servant of God Fr. Andriy Ishchak was born on 23 September 1887 in Mykolayiv, in the Lviv Region. He completed his theological education at the universities in Lviv and Innsbruck. In 1914, he received his doctorate in theology from the University of Innsbruck and was ordained to the priesthood. Beginning in 1928, he taught at the Lviv Theological Academy. He was able to combine his professorial duties with his pastoral work in the village of Sykhiv, near Lviv where he died on 26 June 1941, thus becoming a martyr for the faith at the hands of soldiers of the retreating Soviet Army.

The Servant of God Fr. Ivan Ziatyk was born on 26 December 1899 in the village of Odrekhova, near Sanok (in present day Poland). After graduating in theology in 1923, he was ordained to the priesthood. In 1935 he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). During the Nazis occupation, he was appointed to be Hegumenos (Prior) of the monastery in Ternopil. On 5 January 1950 he was arrested. At first he was staying in Zolochiv prison, but afterwards was sent away to Ozerlag, Irkutsk, Russia.

On Good Friday in 1952 he was severely tortured and he died shortly after on 17 May.

The Servant of God Fr. Vitaliy Bairak was born on 24 February 1907 in the village of Shvaikivtsi, Ternopil Region. On 4 September 1924, he entered the Basilian monastery and was ordained a priest on 13 August 1933. In 1941 he was appointed Hegumenos of the Drohobych Monastery. On 17 September 1945, the NKVD (KGB) arrested Fr. Vitaliy and on 13 November his property was confiscated and he was sentenced to eight years in a labour camp. Just prior to Easter of 1946, Fr. Vitaliy died after having been severely beaten in the Drohobych prison near Liviv.

The Servant of God Fr. Joachim Senkivskyi was born on 2 May 1896 in the village of Hayi Velykyi, Ternopil District. After graduating from theology in Lviv, he was ordained a priest on 4 December 1921. He earned a doctorate in theology from Innsbruck. In 1923 he became a novice in the Basilian order in Krekhiv. After professing his first vows he was transferred to the village of Krasnopushcha, and later to the village of Lavriv. From 1931 to 1938 he held various posts in the St. Onuphrius Monastery in Lviv. Later, in 1939, he was appointed to be Proto-hegumenos of the monastery in Drohobych. On 26 June 1941 he was arrested by the Communist authorities and on June 29 he was martyred by being boiled to death in a cauldron in the Drohobych prison.

The Servant of God Fr. Mykola Conrad was born on 16 May 1876 in the village of Strusiv, Ternopil District. He did his philosophical and theological studies in Rome, where he received his doctorate. In 1899, he was ordained to the priesthood. He initially taught in a high school in Berezhany and Terebovlia. In 1930, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky invited him to teach at the Lviv Theological Academy and later appointed him to be a parish priest in the village of Stradch, near Yakiv, where he was martyred, murdered by the Bolsheviks, on 26 June 1941.

II. Founders

The Servant of God Sr. Josaphata Michaelina Hordashevska was the first member of the Sisters Servant of Mary Immaculate. In 1869, Michaelina Hordashevska was born in Lviv. At the age of 18, she decided to consecrate her life to God in a contemplative monastery of the Order of St. Basil the Great, then the only Eastern-rite woman's congregation. Then the Basilians decided to establish a woman's congregation that focused on the active life, Michaelina was elected to be the first leader. When she agreed, she was sent to the Felician sisters to give her the experience of active paramonastic life. Michaelina took the name "Josaphata," in honour of the Ukrainian martyr St. Josaphat Kuntsevych. She was the first superior of the young sisters there, training them in the spirit and charisma of the Sisters Servants: "serve your people where the need is greatest". At the age of 49, she died amidst terrible suffering from bone cancer. She is buried in the generalate of the Sisters Servants in Rome. The process of her beatification started in Rome in 1983.

The Servant of God Fr. Zygmunt Horazdowsky (Latin-rite) was born in 1845. At the end of his second year of law studies he decided to enter the Latin Catholic seminary in Lviv. He finished his studies there and was ordained to the priesthood in 1871. From childhood he was afflicted with a lung ailment, however, that did not prevent him from helping others. He founded two houses, which were places for the poor, hungry and homeless. He founded a dormitory for poor students of the local teachers' college. He also founded the "House of the Child Jesus", which gave refuge to single mothers with children and to abandoned children. In 1884, he founded a convent for the Sisters of Mercy of St. Joseph, in order that there might be a community of sisters to assist in the benevolent works he had begun. Fr. Zygmunt also wrote a catechism and many other books for parents, teachers and young people. He died in 1920.

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