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Beatification of the Servants of God on June 27, 2001

Short biographies

On April 24, 2001, in the presence of His Holiness Pope John Paul II the proclamation of decrees of martyrdom and the heroic virtues and miracles of 52 Servants of God took place in the Vatican. The decrees involved 28 Servants of God of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.

 

By the decree the Vatican confirmed the martyrdom of 26 candidates in the archeparchial procedure which finished in Lviv on March 2, 2001. The documents on each of them sent from Lviv contained a biography, information about the martyr's death, and also a theological analysis of his or her written works (if there were such).

 

The deaths of Servant of God Bishop Mykolaj Charnets’kyj and his 24 colleagues— bishops, eparchial priests, monks and nuns, and one layman— were acknowledged as martyrdom. All of them suffered during the Communist persecution in Ukraine from 1935 to 1973. The death of Fr. Emil'yan Kovch, who perished in the Nazi camp in Majdanek (Poland), was also acknowledged as martyrdom.

 

With a separate decree the martyrdom of Servant of God Teodor Romzha, bishop of the Mukachiv Eparchy of the Greek Catholic Church, was proclaimed.  By another decree the reality of a miracle which took place through the intercession of Sister Josaphata Hordashevska, cofounder of the community of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, was proclaimed.

 

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Blessed Bishop and Martyr Hryhorij Khomyshyn was born on March 25, 1867, in the village of Hadynkivtsi, Ternopil' Region. After graduating from the seminary he was ordained a priest. He continued to study theology in Vienna (1894-1899). In 1902 Metropolitan A. Sheptytsky appointed Fr. Hryhorij as rector of the seminary in Lviv. The enthronement of Fr. Hryhorij as Bishop of Stanislaviv took place in 1904 in the Cathedral of Saint George. In 1939 he was arrested by the NKVD for the first time. He was arrested the second time in April 1945 and sent to Kyiv. He died on January 17, 1947, in the NKVD prison in Kyiv.

 

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Blessed Bishop and Martyr Josaphat Kotsylovs’kyj was born on March 3, 1876, in the Lemko village of  
Pakoshivka. He finished theology studies in 1907 in Rome and on October 9 was ordained a priest. Soon after he was appointed vice-rector and professor of theology at the seminary in Stanislav. On October 2, 1911, he entered the novitiate of the Order of St. Basil the Great. He was ordained a bishop on September 23, 1917, in Przemysl. In September 1945 he was imprisoned by the Polish authorities. He died on November 17, 1947, in a Kyiv prison.

 

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Blessed Bishop and Martyr Mykolaj Charnets’kyj was born on December 14, 1884, in the village of Semakivtsi, Horodenka District. After he graduated from the seminary he was ordained a priest on October 2, 1909. He defended his doctorate in dogmatic theology in Rome and he was then chaplain and professor at the seminary in Stanislav. In 1919 he entered 
the novitiate of the Redemptorists in Zboiska near Lviv. In 1926 Pope Pius XI appointed him Apostolic Visitator for the Ukrainians of Volyn’ and Polissya. On February 2, 1931, in Rome he was ordained a bishop. During the first Bolshevik occupation Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky appointed Bishop Charnets’kyj as Apostolic Exarch of Volyn’ and Pidlyashshya. On April 11, 1945, he was arrested by the NKVD and sentenced to six years’ hard labor in Siberia. On April 2, 1959, he died in Lviv.

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Klymentiy Sheptytsky, younger brother of Servant of God Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, was born on November 17, 1869, in the village of Prylbychi, Yavoriv District, Lviv Region. He entered the Monastery of Saint Theodore the Studite at an older age (in 1911), leaving a successful career in society. He studied theology at Innsbruck. On August 28, 1915, he was ordained a priest. He was the abbot of the major monastery in Univ for many years and from 1944 became its archimandrite. During World War II he provided shelter for persecuted Jews. On June 5, 1947, he was arrested by the NKVD and condemned to eight years’ hard labor. On May 1, 1951, he died in the Volodymyr jail.

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Ivan Zyatyk was born on December 26, 1899, in the village of Odrekhova, Syanock District (now on Polish territory). After finishing theological studies in 1923 he was ordained a priest. In 1935 he entered the Order of the Most Holy Savior (Redemptorist Fathers). During the German occupation he was appointed the superior of the monastery in Ternopil’. On January 5, 1950, he was arrested. At the beginning he did his punishment in the Zolochiv prison; later he was taken to Ozerlag, in Russia’s Irkurtsk Region. On Good Friday in 1952 he was brutally tortured. On May 17, 1952, he died.

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Leonid Feodorov was born on November 4, 1879, in St. Petersburg to an Orthodox family. In 1902 he left the Orthodox Spiritual Academy and departed to Rome, where accepted the Catholic faith. He studied at Anagni, Rome, and Freiburg. On March 25, 1911, he was ordained a priest in the Eastern rite in Bosnia. There in 1913 he became a monk at the monastery of the Studites. Afterwards he went to St. Petersburg, where was arrested and deported to Siberia. In 1917 because of amnesty, he was released from imprisonment and appointed Head of the Russian Catholic Church of the Eastern rite with the title of exarch. In 1923 he was arrested a second time, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and taken to Solovky, and then Vyatka. On March 7, 1935, he died. In 1937 the beatification process was begun after the efforts of Servant of God Metropolitan A. Sheptytsky.

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Yakym Sen'kivs’kyj was born on May 2, 1896, in the village of Haji Velyki, Ternopil' Region. After the completion of theological studies in Lviv he was ordained a priest on December 4, 1921. He received a doctorate of theology in Innsbruck. In 1923 he entered the novitiate of the Order of St. Basil the Great in Krekhiv. After taking first vows he went to the village of Krasnopushcha, Ternopil' Region, afterwards to the village of Lavriv, Staryj Sambir District. From 1931 to 1938 he held different positions in the Monastery of Saint Onufrius in Lviv. And then in 1939 he was appointed abbot of the monastery in Drohobych. On June 26, 1941, he was arrested by the Bolsheviks, and on June 29, according to reports, he was boiled in a cauldron in the Drohobych jail.

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Vitalij Bayrak was born on February 24, 1907, in the village of Shvaykivtsi, Ternopil' Region. On September 4, 1924, he entered the monastery of the Basilian Fathers. On August 13, 1933, he was ordained a priest. From 1941 he was the abbot of the monastery in Drohobych. On September 17, 1945, the NKVD arrested the priest, and on November 13 he was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment with the confiscation of property. Before Easter 1946 after a harsh beating in the Drohobych jail he died.

 

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Blessed Bishop and Martyr Vasyl’ Velychkovs’kyj was born on June 1, 1903, in Stanislav. In 1920 he entered the seminary in Lviv. In 1925 he took his first monastic vows in the village of Holosko near Lviv in the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer and was ordained a priest. Priest-monk Vasyl’ was a teacher and missionary in Volyn’. In 1942 he became abbot of the monastery in Ternopil’ where in 1945 he was arrested and sent to Kyiv. The punishment of death was changed to 10 years of forced labor. In 1955 he went back to Lviv. He was ordained a bishop in 1963. In 1969 he was imprisoned again for three years. On June 30, 1973, he died in Winnipeg (Canada).

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Andrey Ishchak was born on September 23, 1887, in Mykolaiv, Lviv Region. He finished theological studies at the universities of Lviv and Innsbruck. In 1914 he received the degree of doctor of theology at the University of Innsbruck and was ordained. From 1928 he taught at the Lviv Theological Academy. His professorial obligations were combined with pastoral work in the village of Sykhiv near Lviv, where he perished at the hands of retreating Bolshevik soldiers on June 26, 1941.

 

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Blessed Bishop and Martyr Hryhorij Lakota was born on January 31, 1883, in the village of Holodivka, Lviv Region. He studied theology in Lviv. In 1908 he was ordained a priest in Przemysl. In Vienna in 1911 he received the degree of doctorate in theology. From 1913 he was a professor at the Przemysl seminary and a little later became its rector. On May 16, 1926, he was ordained a bishop and appointed auxiliary bishop in Przemysl. On June 9, 1946, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment and exiled to Vorkuta. On November 12, 1950, in the village of Abez near Vorkuta he died.

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Mykola Konrad was born on May 16, 1876, in the village of Strusiv, Ternopil' Region. He finished philosophical and theological studies in Rome, defending a doctoral dissertation. In 1899 he was ordained a priest. He taught in the gymnasiums of Berezhany and Terebovlya. In 1930 Metropolitan A. Sheptytsky invited the priest and doctor to teach at the Lviv Theological Academy and afterwards appointed him pastor of the village of Stradch near Yavoriv, where he perished tragically at the hands of the Bolsheviks on June 26, 1941.

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Petro Verhun was born on November 18, 1890, in the town of Horodok, Lviv Region. He received a doctorate in philosophy. On October 30, 1927, in the Cathedral of Saint George at the hands of Metropolitan Sheptytsky he was ordained a priest and appointed pastor for Ukrainian Catholics with a see in Berlin; afterwards he became the Apostolic Visitator in Germany. In June 1945 he was arrested and taken to Siberia. On February 7, 1957, he died in the village of Angars’k, Krasnoyars’k Region.

 

On July 26, 2004, relics of Father Petro Verhun arrived in Ukraine. On August 23, 2004, relics of the blessed were carried to the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God in the city of Stryj. On August 29, 2004, part of the relics were carried to the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary in Horodok, Lviv Region, where Father Petro was born. On October 14, 2004, part of the relics of Fr. Petro were passed to Germany. They were put in the Cathedral of the Protection of the Holy Mother of God in Munich (Germany).

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Zynoviy Kovalyk was born on August 18, 1903, in the village of Ivachev, near Ternopil’. He entered the order of the Redemptorist Fathers, where on August 28, 1926, he took monastic vows. He studied philosophy and theology in Belgium. After returning, on September 4, 1932, he was ordained a priest. He served in Volyn’. He was arrested in the church on December 20, 1940, during a sermon in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. In 1941 he was crucified on the wall of a prison corridor on Zamarstynivs’ka Street (Bryhidky).

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Nykyta Budka was born on June 7, 1877, in the village of Dobromirka, Zbarazh District. In 1905 after finishing theology studies in Vienna and Innsbruck, he was ordained a priest at the hands of Metropolitan A. Sheptytsky. He was ordained a bishop in Lviv on October 14, 1912. The same year the Holy See appointed him bishop for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada. In 1928 he became General Vicar of the Metropolitan Chapter. On April 11, 1945, he was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment by the Bolshevik government. On October 1, 1949, he died in a camp in Karaganda.

 

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Blessed Nun and Martyr Lavrentiya Harasymiv was born on September 30, 1911, in the village of Rudnyky, Mykolaiv District, Lviv Region. In 1931 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, and in 1933 she took her first vows. In 1950 she was arrested by the soldiers of the NKVD and taken to Boryslav. Afterwards she was transported to the city of Tomsk. The health of the sister already was much undermined. On June 30, 1950, she was sent to the village of Khars’k, Toms’k Region. She lived in one room (partitioned off) with the paralyzed owner, because nobody wanted to share an apartment with someone with tuberculosis. She prayed much and did handwork. She patiently suffered inhuman conditions of life. On August 28, 1952, she died in the village of Khars’k, Tomsk Region.

 

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Blessed Nun and Martyr Olimpiya Bida was born in 1903 in the village of Tsebliv, Sokal' District, Lviv Region. At an early age she entered the monastery of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. In 1938 she was sent to Khyriv, where she became the mother superior of the house. In 1950 she was arrested by soldiers of the NKVD and taken to Boryslav. Afterwards she was transported to the city of Tomsk and then to the village of Khars’k. Patiently she suffered inhuman conditions of life. On January 23, 1952, she died in the village of Khars’k, Tomsk Region.

 

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Blessed Nun and Martyr Tarsykiya Mats’kiv was born on March 23, 1919, in the town of Khodoriv, Lviv Region. In May 1938 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. After taking her first vows on November 5, 1940, she worked in the monastery. Even before the invasion of the Bolsheviks the sister took vows before her spiritual father, Fr. Volodymyr Kovalyk (OSBM), in which she offered her life for the conversion of Russia and also for the Catholic Church. On July 18, 1944, the Bolsheviks intended to destroy the monastery. At 8 o'clock in the morning, a Soviet gunner without warning shot down at the gate the sister who at the sound of the bell had opened the gate.


Blessed Priest and Martyr Mykola Tsehel'skyj was born on December 17, 1896, in the village of Strusiv, Ternopil' Region. In 1923 he graduated from the theology faculty of Lviv University. On April 5, 1925, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky ordained him a priest. He was a zealous pastor, and cared for the spirituality, education and welfare of the faithful. He was the pastor of the village of Soroka, in the Hrymalivs’kyj deanery, where he built a church. Mass repressions began after the war. The priest suffered intimidation, threats and beatings to the end. On October, 28, 1946, he was arrested and on January 27, 1947, the military tribunal of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Ternopil’ Region sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment. Afterwards he was taken to the camps in Mordova, leaving his wife, two sons and two daughters. He lived in terrible conditions in a camp of severe regime in the village of Yavas (Pot'ma station). He suffered from great intestinal pains. On May 25, 1951, he died and was buried in the cemetery of the Pot'ma station.


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Blessed Bishop and Martyr Ivan Slezyuk was born on January 14, 1896, in the village of Zhyvachiv, Stanislaviv District. After graduating from the seminary in 1923 he was ordained a priest. In April 1945 at the hands of Bishop Hryhorij Khomyshyn he was ordained a bishop in case of the arrest of the present one. He himself was arrested on June 2, 1945, and on June 12, 1946, the military tribunal of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Stanislaviv Region sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment and sent him to the camp in Vorkuta, where he arrived at the beginning of 1950. Released from jail on November 15, 1954, he returned to Ivano-Frankivs’k (formerly named Stanislaviv). In 1962 he was arrested a second time and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in camps of severe regime. After his release on November 30, 1968, the KGB often called him in for "conversations." The last such “conversation” was two weeks before his death. Returning from there, he lay down and did not get up again. On December 2, 1973, he died in Ivano-Frankivs’k.

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Roman Lysko was born on August 14, 1914, in the town of Horodok, Lviv Region. He studied theology at the Lviv Theological Academy. Together with his wife he gladly taught youth. He was ordained a priest by Metropolitan A. Sheptytsky on August 28, 1941. 
On September 9, 1949, he was arrested by the NKVD and put in the jail on Lonts’kyj Street in Lviv. Rumors spread that the young Fr. Roman went insane because of torture and in jail sang psalms at the top of his voice. It was also said that he was sealed alive in a wall. On October 14, 1949, he died. 

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Oleksij Zaryts’kyj was born in 1912 in the village of Bil'che, Lviv Region. In 1931 he entered the seminary of the Lviv Archeparchy of the UGCC. He was ordained a priest at the hands of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky in 1936. In 1948 he was arrested, sentenced to 10 years and taken to Karaganda. After release and rehabilitation in 1957, he started wide missionary activity among Catholics of the Byzantine and Latin rites, for which he was named by Metropolitan Josyf Slipyj as Apostolic Administrator of Kazakhstan and Siberia. Four years later he was arrested by Soviet structures for the second time and imprisoned for three years. But he did not finish this term, because he died on October 30, 1963, in the camp at Dolynka near Karaganda. He was buried there but thanks to the efforts of the local Catholic community and also relatives and his former parishioners in western Ukraine he was twice reburied. Now his remains are in a cemetery in the village of Riasna Rus’ka, Lviv Region.

 

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Blessed Bishop and Martyr Symeon Lukach was born on July 7, 1893, in the village of Starunya, Solotvyno District, Stanislaviv Region. He came from a simple peasant family. In 1913 he entered the seminary, but his studies were interrupted for two years because of World War I. He completed his studies in 1919. The same year Bishop Hryhorij Khomyshyn ordained him a priest. In December 1920 he was appointed teacher of moral theology at the seminary in Stanislav and there served until April 1945. There is information that that year he was ordained a bishop secretly (because of persecution) by Bishop Hryhorij Khomyshyn. On October 26, 1949, he was arrested by the NKVD and deported for 10 years to Siberia. He was released from imprisonment on February 11, 1955. He was a priest in the underground and celebrated illegal divine liturgies. In July 1962 he was arrested a second time. He was judged together with another underground bishop, Ivan Slezyuk. In jail he contracted tuberculosis, which led to his suffering and death. Bishop Symeon Lukach died on August 22, 1964.


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Blessed Priest and Martyr Severiyan Baranyk (OSBM) was born on July 18, 1889. On September 24, 1904, he entered the Order of Saint Basil the Great in Krekhiv. On May 16, 1907, he took his first monastic vows and on September 21, 1910, his perpetual vows. He was ordained a priest on February 14, 1915. In 1932 he was appointed abbot of the monastery of the Basilian Fathers and pastor of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Drohobych. On June 26, 1941, he was arrested by the NKVD and put in the Drohobych jail. After this time nobody saw him alive again. After the retreat of the Bolsheviks people saw his dead body, mutilated by torture, on the territory of the jail.

 

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Blessed Martyr Volodymyr Pryjma was born on July 17, 1906, in the village of Stradch, Yavoriv District. After graduating from cantors’ college he served as cantor and choir director in Stradch’s church. On June 26, 1941, he was brutally tortured and murdered by the NKVD together with Fr. Mykola Konrad in the forest not far from the village, when they were returning from visiting a sick woman who wanted to make her confession.

 

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Blessed Priest and Martyr Emil'yan Kovch was born on August 20, 1884, in the Kosiv District. In 1911 after graduating from the Roman College of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus he was ordained a priest. In spring 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo for helping Jews. On March 25, 1944, he was burned in the stoves of the Majdanek concentration camp. On September 9, 1999, the Jewish council of Ukraine granted him the title "Righteous Man of Ukraine."

 

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Blessed Bishop and Martyr Teodor Romzha was born on April 14, 1911, in a family of many children to a railway office worker in the village of Velykyi Bychkiv, Transcarpathia Region. After the four-year folk school in his native village he continued studies in the Khust State Real Gymnasium, from which he graduated in 1930 with a certificate of excellence. The same year with the blessing of the bishop ordinary of the Eparchy of Mukachiv of the Greek Catholic Church, Pavlo Gebey, he was sent to Rome to the Germanicum-Hungaricum College. Not finishing the course of studies there, he transferred in autumn 1934 to the Papal Russian College (Russicum). In 1935 he was ordained a deacon and in 1936 a priest. At the same time he continued his studies and in 1937 he received a licentiate in theology at the Papal Gregorian University. In the same year he returned to his homeland to take an obligatory one-year course of military preparation at the Prague officers’ school. From March to September 1938 he was the parish administrator in the mountain villages Berezovka and Nyzhnij Bystryj of the Khust District. Then he spent a few months in military service with the Czech army on general mobilization and then returned to his previous parishes. From September 1939 to 1944 he was professor of philosophy and chaplain at the Uzhhorod seminary. On September 24, 1944, he was ordained the bishop ordinary of the Mukachiv Eparchy of the GCC. After the occupation of Transcarpathia by the Soviet troops and its official joining to the Ukrainian SSR on June 29, 1945, under conditions of strengthening pressure and offensives against the UGCC, Bishop Romzha in every way supported the clergy and faithful and made a number of pastoral visits throughout the eparchy. He saw these visits as an effective method for countering propaganda against the Church, in order to strengthen the priests and the flock in the faith so that they would hold on to their faith. He also made brief journeys, during one of which on October 27, 1947, an attempt was made on his life, long planned by the NKVD, and on November 1, 1947, he died of poisoning in the Mukachiv hospital.

 

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Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Blessed Sister Josaphata (Mykhaylyna) Hordashevs’ka became the first member of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. Under her administration the seven first nuns began their spiritual formation. She started ministry in the field of education and health care and looked after the opening of new missions.

 

During her short life Sister Josaphata suffered much from misunderstanding, slander, and others’ ambitions. On April 7, 1919, she died in much pain, caused by tuberculosis of the bones.

 

In November 1982 the earthly remains of Sister Josaphata were moved to a small chapel in the Generalate of the Sisters Servants in Rome. Hundreds of people have asked for her intercession in secular and spiritual necessities. The Generalate has received numerous testimonies about special graces received thanks to her intercession.

 

 


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