THE PAPAL VISIT TO UKRAINE
June 23-27, 2001
Materials for the Beatification of 28 Martyrs and Servants of God.
[among those 28 are
Undying spirit of the Carpathians
Bishop and Martyr Theodore (Romzha) was born on April 14, 1911, in the
village of Velykyj Bychkiv, Transcarpathia in a family of railroad workers. He finished his theological studies at the Papal Gregorian University in Rome. In 1938 he became pastor in the mountain villages of Berezevo and Nyzhnii Bystryi outside of Khust. Beginning with the fall of 1939 he taught philosophy and was spiritual director at the
Uzhorod seminary. On 24 September 1944, soon after the arrival of the Soviet Army, he was ordained to the episcopacy. Because Bishop Theodore bravely refused to cooperate with the authorities in the liquidation of the Greek Catholic Church and separate from the Roman Apostolic See, government organs decided to destroy him. On October 27, 1947 a military vehicle ran into the bishop's horse-carriage. When the soldiers saw that he didn't die in the accident, they beat him and his companions into unconsciousness. On November 1 of that year when Bishop Theodore was beginning to recover, he was poisoned in the Mukachiv hospital by workers cooperating with the security services.
He died a martyr for the faith.
"According to the instructions of Khruschev, a member of the Politburo (Central Committee of the Communist Party) of Ukraine and the first secretary of the same, according to the plan developed by the Ministry of State Security in Ukraine and approved by Khruschev, Romzha was eliminated in Mukachiv. The head of the Greek Catholic Church, he had actively opposed the uniting of Greek Catholics to Orthodoxy." -- From a letter of Pavlo Sudoplatov, General of state security, to delegates of the 23rd Assembly of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
"Deported" into eternity
Bishop and Martyr Josaphat Kotsylovsky was born on 3 March 1876 in the village of Pakoshivka, in the Lemko region. He graduated with a degree in Theology from Rome in 1907, and later on October 9 of that year he was ordained to the priesthood. Not long after that he was appointed vice-rector and professor of Theology at the Ivano-Frankivsk seminary.
In 1911 he entered the novitiate of the Basilian order. He was ordained a bishop on 23 September 1917 in Przemysl upon the return of Metropolitan Andrey (Sheptytsky) from captivity in Russia. In September of 1945 the Polish communist authorities arrested him and on 26 June 1946, after his next arrest, they forcibly took him to the USSR and placed him in a prison in Kyiv. Throughout his life he showed his perseverance of service, to make the Christian faith firm and to grow in human souls.
He died a martyr for the faith on 17 November 1947 in the Chapaivka concentration camp near Kyiv
"I came to Protection Monastery and the hegumena [prioress] told me the story. When they arrested Bishop Kotsylovsky they arrested their Orthodox bishop of Kyiv at the same time. When they brought a package to Chapaivka, that Orthodox bishop said: 'Uniate Bishop Josaphat Kotsylovsky is confined in the same camp with me.' And he asked those nuns, if they could, to bring a package to Bishop Josaphat as well. So they brought a package for the one bishop and
for the other ? Once when she brought a package, the bishop said that Kotsylovsky had died. And he asked her, because the dead were all thrown into one hole, if they could borrow some money or get some money somewhere. He asked her 'to bury him in a separate grave, because this was a holy man.''-- From the testimony of Father Josaphat Kavatsivo
Suffered on Good Friday
Martyr and Priest Father Ivan (Ziatyk) was born on 26 December 1899 in the village of Odrekhova, near Syanok/now Sanok, [in the Lemko region.] After finishing his theology studies in Przemysl seminary in 1923 he was ordained to the priesthood.
In 1935 he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He was a teacher of Dogmatic Theology and Holy Scripture, and also known as a good administrator. During the Nazi occupation he was acting superior of the monastery in Ternopil and later in Zboiski near Lviv. After the official liquidation of the UGCC and the exile of Protohegumen Yosyf de Vokhta, Father Ivan took on his duties. On 5 January 1950 he was arrested, found guilty of "preaching the ideas of the Pope of Rome regarding the spread of the Catholic faith among nations of the whole world." At first he was imprisoned in Zolochiv and later was sent to Ozerlah, Irkhutsk region, Russia. In all he lived through 72 interrogations. On Good Friday in 1952 he was severely beaten, drenched with water and left to lie in the cold.
He died in the prison infirmary on 17 May 1952 a martyr for the faith.
"He stood and prayed the whole day; for whole days he prayed every moment. He was such a pleasant person to talk to. You could hear many wise and instructive words from him; this was especially so in my case, as at that time I was a youngster." -- From an interview with fellow prisoner Anatolii Medelian.
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Originally Composed: March 26th, 2002
c/o Walter Maksimovich
Kensington MD 20895-3934
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