Cardinal Joseph Slipyj (1892-1984)
an Imitation of Christ

I remember that day very clearly in my mind, the first time I met Cardinal Josyph Slipyj.  It was 1976, and I was still a young boy at the time. No one person ever left an impression on me as did this saintly man.  There was a certain aura about him which I never felt again since our faithful meeting that day.   I treasure the memory of meeting this martyr, who truely believed in the Ukrainian Catholic Church and was ready to give up his life for it.  I found an article written March 1985, in a church magazine called "Aid to the Church in Need," detailing Cardinal Josyf Slipyj's life history.  I have also included pictures taken during his visit to Montreal in 1976.  These pictures were taken by my late father Wolodymyr Golash.
    I hope the informatiom below brings to light the  important role that Cardinal Slipyj our Patriarche played, in the development of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, during it's most turbulent time.   Let his belief be a lesson to all of us.  We should be so thankful about what a tremendous time we are living in, having the right to free speech and belief, which this holy man rarely experienced.  Heading into a new Mellenium, may this enrichen our spiritual belief in God and in the Church.

Roman Golash
 
 
 


 

Priest and Scholar

    Your name is Roman Kobernyckyj-Dyckowskyj, commonly known as "Slipij."  You are a young boy in the town of Zazdrist in the Western Ukraine.  The year in 1897.  You are teaching your little brother to read.  His name is Josyph. Your own name will be read out to the whole world nearly a century later when that Joseph recalls your brotherly love in his Spiritual Testament.  For your brother is to become the greatest man of your country.
    He is to be a light that will shine out against the darkness of the communists' denial of God throughout the twentieth century.
    You it was, Roman, who kindled in your brother the love of learning that ensures the continuity today of Ukrainian rite and culture in the tiny University of St. Clement in via Boccae, in Rome, a renaissance after your Church and nation seemed at one time to have been torn from the memory of man.

The things of God

  Joseph Slipyj was born on 17 February 1982 to a well-to-do, profoundly Christian family.  They raised their son in such a way that from the first he showed a remarkable love of learning and of the things of God.  He was endowed with physical constitution of great strength and a noble mascline beauty.
    He graduated from his grammar and secondary school studies in Ternopil when he was 19 and began the study of philosophy at the University of Lviv while living in the dioceasan seminary.
    He feared that his ambition to be a university professor would impede his priestly vocation.  But the saintly Metropolitan, Andrei Sheptytsky, banished the young man's fears by sending him for advanced studies at Innsbruck in Austria.
    I September 1914 Czarist troops occupied Western Ukraine and arrested the venerable Metropolitan Sheptytsky for urging his faithful to stay true to the Pope.  He remained their prisoner until March  1917 when the Czarist government went down under the Marxist revolution.
    Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church had often and jealously encroched on the Ukraine and its Catholic Church united with Rome.  They had always resented the historic Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by which in 1596 the Ukrainian Catholic Church had forged solemn links with the See of Peter.
    On 30 September 1917 Joseph Slipij, back now from his studies, was ordained priest.  He returned to Innsbruck and took a brilliant doctorate in 1918, qualified as Professor in 1920 and went on to gain further honours studying in Rome.
    He came home in 1922 as Professor of Dogmatic Theology in Lviv seminary, founding and editing the theological quarterly Bohoslovia.  1925 saw him made Rector of the seminary and four years later, now 37 yeard old, he was appointed first Rector of the Lviv Theological Academy which he headed untill 1944.  His written works during these years ranged over theology, philosophy, liturgy, literature, history, canon law and art.  It was a period of happy fulfilment as pastor as as a scholar.  It was not to last.
 

Bishop and Martyr

    Beyond the quiet of the Lviv Theological Academy it had been a turbulent period for the Ukrainian people.  In the wake of the 1917 revolutions, Ukraine had briefly regained its independence (1918-22).  The political struggle let to a rebirthof the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church which seperated itself from the Russian Patriarchal Church.  But by the early 1929's the Bolsheviks had won control of most of Ukraine, the East and Cenetre, and Poland took the West, including Galicia (Halychyna).  The West European powers abandoned the re-emerging nation to its fate; it became the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
    While the Bolshevils were virtually obliterating the Autocephalous Orthodox Church the minority Ukrainian Catholic Church had survived in Galacia and it continued under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Sheptytsky.  In November 1939 he asked Popo Pius XII to appoint Joseph Slipyj, now a MitredOfficial coat of arms for Patriarch Cardinal Josef SlipyjArchpriest, as his coadjutor and successor.  The Pope agreed readilyto this elevation for "your beloved disciple whom you have so often mentioned to me and praised."  So on 22 December 1939, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception by the Julian Calendar, Joseph Slipyj was consecrated Archbishop by the old Metropolitan.

Half a million deported

  The new archbishop-coadjutor took as his motto the words  "per aspera ad astra", "through harsh things to the heavens" - and the sentiment was soon a bitter reality.  Only weeks earlier the Polish state had collapsed and now the Western Ukraine was swallowed by the USSR.  Harsh persecution of the Ukrainian Catholics began at once.
    Acting while he could in a time of great danger the old Metropolitan convoked a synod in September 1939, creating three new exarchates and appointing four new exarchs.  One of these was Joseph Slipyj whom, with the approval of Pope Pius XII, he made Exarch of Eastern Ukraine.
    The Soviet onslaught on the Catholic Church was interupted by the German invasion in June 1941 but by then the communists had already deported 250,000 people from the Archeparchy of Lviv alone and probably twice as many altogether.  Dozens of priests had been murdered, imprisoned or deported.  In July 1944 the Soviets returned and on 1 November that year Metropolitan Sheptysky died.  His successor stood at the treshold of his martyrdom.
    In December 1944 the new Metropolitan sent a delegation to Moscow which sought to legalise the Ukrainian Catholic Church.  The Soviets recognised their Church with Slipyj its head but asked them to persuade Ukrainian insurents to abandon their fight for national independence.  This was a trap into which he dared not fall and outright and terrible perecution followed.
    Already, at the moment of Bolshevik retreat before the Nazis, Archbishop Slipyj had been put to the wall to be shot along with others but had miraculously been freed.  Now, as Metropolitan, he was to have only a few months to exercise his ministry in freedom.  On 11 April 1945 the Soviet authorities arrested him along with other bishops.  St. Georges's Cathedral in Lviv was searched.  Imprisoned priests were told to subit to Russian Orthodoxy or be condemed as agents of "universal fascism."
When all the Ukrainian hierarchy had been seized the Moscow Patriarch Alexei directed a "pastoral letter" to the Catholic faithful telling them that their pastors had abandoned them.  Three hundred courageous priests protested to Soviet Minister Molotov and demanded the release of their bishops but their demands were vain.  The communists took Metropolitan Slipyj from Lviv to Kyiv, isolated him and subjected him to intensive inerrogations, mostly in the small hours, demanding that he seperate himself from the Pope and offering him the Metroplolitante of Kyiv in the Russian Church.  In the desert now with Jesus he steadfastly held as did all his brother bishops.
    The Soviets sentenced Metropolitan Slipyj to eight years of prison and forced labour to be served in Maklakovo, Viatka, Novosibirsk, Boimy, Peczora, Krasnojarsk, Kamczatka, Inta, Jenisseist, Potma Vortuka and Mordovia.  As we think of him led away to this ordeal, we can grieve for his Church.  The Russian Orthodox occupied all the Catholic parishes.  Being catholic was made a crime.  All eparchies, religious houses and schools were suppressed.  Half of the clergy were impisoned and a fifth exiled.
 

Two encyclicals

    Pope Pius XII was tireless in his interventions on behalf of the Ukrainians and their Metropolitan.  He wrote two encyclicals in their defence, in 1945 and 1952, in the first naming Patriarch Alexie as accomplice in the persecution.  He sent a moving letter to Metropolitan Slipyj at Christmas 1957 marking the fortieth anniverary of his priesthood in September that year.  But this concern found little echo around the Catholic world.
    A bare recital of dates and places in Joseph Slipyj's Way of the Cross conveys his suffering less vividly than recollections we have of that terrible period from his own writings and from those of his contemporaries in the camps.
    In his Testament he harrowingly recalls, "I had to suffer imprisonment by night, secret court-rooms, endless interrogations and spying upon me, moral and physical maltreatment and humiliation, torture, and enforced starvation.  In front of the evil interrogators and judged I stood, a helpless prisoner and silent witness of the Church who, physically and psychologically exausted, was giving testimony to his native Church, itself silent and doomed to die.
    As a prisoner for the sake of Christ I found stength throughout my own Way of the Cross in the realization that my spiritual flock, my own native Ukrainian people, all the bishops, priests and faithful - fathers and mothers, children, and dedicated youth as well as the helpless old people, were walking beside me along the same path.  I was not alone!"
 

Twice near death

    Twice when near death he was saved by other prisoners.  Once, after protracted hearings when his only food was one small fish a day, he collapsed.  The other inmates set up a chant, "warm water for the old man," and maintained it for three hours.  The guards relented, brought it and he was saved. Again when Vice-President Nixon was crossing Russiaby train the Metropolitan was among a diverted train-load of prisoners confined in a room with one tiny window.  Many died but he was pushed to the window and survived.  When he had finished his first sentence in 1953 he was taken briefly to Moscow but was given a further five years' sentence in Siberia.  Occasional letters from him reached individuals during these years and we reproduce oppisite an extract from his Christmas 1954 message.  Some times he is pleading to people to send no more help or letters because they increase his difficulties.
    In 1962 he recieved his final sentence and was dispatched to the very harsh prison of Mordovvia from which "one does not come out alive" but where one dies "a natural death."
    Father Leoni, a jesuit, describing the torments of the bug-infested prison transit camp at Kirov recollects as follows:  "Meanwhile, into our cell were thrown other political detainees.  At dusk I heard an unknown voice call me.  An old man with a beard stood before me his hand, saying, "Josyf Slipyj."  It was at the same time a joy and a grief to find myself together with my Metropolitan."
 

Dressed in rags

    But the most harrowing and poignant recollections are from those who saw the Archbishop at Inta in Komi, near the Artic Polar Circle.  Eye-witnesses recall him dressed in rags held together with bandages around his ankles and knees, his feet covered in lime, a man defenceless againt the cold, which reached 45 dgrees below zero.  Truly an Ecce Hommo.  "Still we remember him as a serene, understanding and even generous to the surveillants and spies who were not lacking in that place of tremendous suffering."
    An Austrian Professor, Grobauer recalls the arrival of the venerated pastor in a cattle car at Inta.  Made to march in deep snow at dead of night he collapsed.  A guard forced him up with a rifle butt.  Again he fell and could not rise even under the guard's brutality.  Grobauer hauled him under the arms and helped him forward, a very Simon.  Arrived at last, the Metropolitan sat exausted on his tiny case.  Two youths at once appeared, stole his case and left him bleeding from the mouth and nose.
    In 1962, the secret police made their last attempt to bribe the man of God, offering him the Patriarchate of all Russia.  He held firm, again like his Master in the desert.
    Pope John Paul XXIII was meantime urgently seeking his release.  Soviet Chairman Kruschev agrred to free the prisoner.  Cardinal Slipyj later recalled hoe he learnt of this.  At the moment when he was very ill and thought he would die, "Old man, how are you?"  They brought him soup, transferred him and gave him a bed.
    He arrived in Rome on 9 February 1963, limping into the Abbey of Grotta Ferrata, his right foot frostbitten.  They gave him hot milk to drink.
 
 
 

Exile and Prophet
 

    It had never entered the heart of the great Ukrainian pastor to desert his Church or his people.  Even as the Soviets were releasing him his question was, "Does my liberation signify the recognition of the freedom of the Greek-Catholic Church?"  But they told him only that he would be taken to Moscow and would be able to discuss the question there.  Nevertheless he had a great crisis of conscience before leaving Siberia for Moscow.  He wished to go back to Lviv annd said, "I cannot abondon my people.  But to please the Pope and if it can be useful to my people, then if they do not let me go back to Ukraine we shall see what will become of my life."
    In his Testament he wrote of this juncture, "The voice of the late Pope John XXIII called me to the Vatican Council.  I regarded his voice as an order, for in it I could sense the incomprehensible intention of God's Work.  Was this not a call to achieve what I could not achieve as a prisoner?"
    He had hoped to be allowed a swift return to Ukraine after the Council but his release had evidently been on conditions which were to hinder his own wishes.  In conseqquence, he was deeply moved by the clarity wwith which Minister Andreotti described his arrival in Rome, almost incognito.  "When you came to this city you were greeted by us, the Catholics of Rome, with a peculiar silence.  Ours is a strange world, a world in which one fears that the persecutor will be driven to do even more evil than he has done up to now.  We would have wished to salute you with the same explosive joy with which the Christians of Rome greeted St. Peter."

A granite formation

  Archbishop Slipyj now began serenely but energetically to make a reality of his new ministry in exile.  He appeared on television for the first time on 17 March at the beatifacation of Elizabeth Seton.  A week later preaching at the Pontifical Greek College, he told the students, "You could easily find youselves today in completely atheistic surroundings, in which the overwhelming majority... comats the existence of God, negates every religion and insults you as deceived and deceivers, idlers, enemies of the people.  Anyone who has not acquired a granite theological formation could easily lose his his head and be swayed by the atheistic current."
    He sent a beautiful and historic greeting to the failing Pope John in May, fell grievously ill himself weeks later and the new Pope, Paul VI, came to his bedside.  He recovered, presided over the eleven-day chapter of the Basilican nuns at the Aventine, visited Sicily and spoke at the Second Vatican Council on 11 October 1963.  Still in the year of his release he undertook the task of all to his heart; he founded the Ukrainian Catholic University in Rome on 8 December.  This tiny centre of renaissanvce for the Ukrainian Church is only temporarily in Rome.  Whenever religious freedom in Ukraine is regained, it will be transfered there, its true seat.
    In the following year, he bought a monastery for his studite monks on Lake Albano and  had the joy of bringing the community to meet Pope Paul on 8 January 1965.
    A few weeks later, on 25 January 1965, Pope Paul named 27 new Cardinals and Metropolitan Slipij was amongst them.  First named were the Oriental Patriarchs and next was Cardinal Slipij.  Then one of the Cardinals, Cardinal Testa, said to him "You are already a Cardinal in pectore of Pope John!, confirming the common supposition that he had been one of three such Cardinals appointed by Pope John in his consistory of 28 March 1960.  The new Cardinal Slipyj asked Monsignor Capovilla why he had not told him of his appointment earlier. "Because I was not permitted to say it," he could only reply  But Cardinal Testa has benignly broken the secret.
 

Gentle commands

  Among Cardinal Slipyj's great works in exile was the founding and building of the Cathedral of Saint Sophia - this means the Holy Wisdom - in via Boccea in Rome.  It is a "Sobor" - a church to which people come for certain feasts - and this beautiful example was built between 1967-69 according to the Cardinal's own plans.  It is intended as a replica of Saint Sophia's in Kyiv, incorporating similar structures and features.  It was consecrated on 27 September 1969 and on the following day the Pope solemnly brought in the relics of Pope St. Clement.  The Sobor is the spiritual centre for all the Ukrainian Catholics exiled and scattered around the world and the Cardinal bequeathed it to them with gentle commands in his Testament.
 
 

The Father of his Church
 

    There are other straands in the story of Cardinal Slipyj's years in Rome; his "anxious care for all the Churches" of the Ukrainian rite, his pain and grief at the refusal to recognise the Patriarchal status of his Church, and his tireless defence of whom the communists persecuted.
    He was never permitted to return to his beloved Ukraine but was able not without difficulties and obsticales, to go as pastor to his compatriotes in exile all around the world.
    In 1968 he visited the Ukrainians of the north and south America and Oceania.  In the next two years he went to Germany, Spain, England, France, and Austria.  At Lourdes he movingly recalled the last words of the dying in the Soviet camps: "Mother, do you hear me?"  His last great tour was in 1976, to the USA, Canada, Holland and Germany.
    The conterversy over the Patriarchate was a bitter anguish.  He was to sign his Testament "Humble Josef Patriarch and Cardinal," but on the grounds that he thought wordly and unworthy he was never recognized as such.  In the first months of his freedom, he asked Pope Paul VI to recognize the Patriarchate and on 11 October that year he told the Vatican Council Fathers that this was the only means to preserve the unity, the very existence of the Ukrainian catholic Church.
 

Bitter conterversies

  Pope Paul quickly took what Ukrainians hoped was a first step towards granting the Patriarchal status when he recognized the ancient title of the Kyiv Metropolitans as Archbishop-Major, a designation unique in the Catholic world.  This title confers rights equal to those of the Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches.  In 1980 Pope John Paul II enlarged these rights further and in 1982 Cardinal Slipij wrote his powerful "Pro Memoria", a last plea for Patriarchal status.  But he was to die without its being recognized and grieved by bitter conterversies over the issue among his scattered flocks.
    What most moved the fatherly heart of the great Patriarch was the need and suffering of his persecuted faithful at home and of all believers who suffered under communism.  He wrote to Kurt Waldheim, United Nations Secretary General and to President Carter and he pleaded endlessly to synods and gatherings of bishops for his people.  He intervened dramatically at the 1977 Shakharov Tribunal in Rome when 85 years old.  He said "I am present here for two reasons.  Today testimony is being given hereon religious persecution in the Soviet Union and in my homeland, Ukraine.  The church of which I am Head and Father is also the victim of this persecution and where my Church is spoken of, there I am must also be to defend it, to protect it.  The second reason is that I am the "convict", I am the testimony of this noted Archipelago, as another "convict", Alexander Solzhenitsyn has called it.  And I carry the scars of this terror on my body,"
    Alas, the voices of such witnesses are drowned out in the West by comfortable men, far from the Soviet camps, who, in the face of nearly seventy years' contrary evidence and death of uncountable multitudes of believers, still imagine that the people of God can make accomidations with the Marxist-atheists.
    The Cardinal died of pneumonia, of old age really, on 7 September 1984.  Our best way to honor the memory of this Imitator of Christ is to heed his warnings.  may his great soul rest in peace of Christ, whom he followed.
 

The Confessor' last message
 

Extracts from the Testament of His Beatidute Patriarch Josyf

...Whilst leaving this world after a life of 90 years or so, "sitting on the sleigh", as our ancestors used to say, I pry for you, my spiritual flock, and for the whole Ukrainian nation, whose son I am which I have tried to serve throughout all my life.

...Throughout my entire life I have been a servant of Christ, and so I remain upon leaving this world.

...Because atheism is now the official doctorine in Ukraine and in all countries of the Communist world, it is my last will that you save the Ukrainian Catholic University, for it is the forge in which the new generations of priests and lay apostles of Christ, the fighters for truth and for learning free from coercion, have to study and be brought up!

...And when you visit the Cathedral of Saint Sophia on a pilgramage as to your own native Temple, and look upon it and offer your prayers to God inside it, remember that I leave this Cathedral for you as a mark and symbol of the destroyed and desecrated shrines of God in Ukraine.

...For in a little while, the Patriarch for whom you now pray will cross the treshhold of life on earth, and visible symbol and personification of the Patriarcheate in his person will no longer exist.  But, in your consciousness and your vision there will remain a real and living Ukrainian Church, crowned with the patriarchal wreath!

...On many occassions as the Head of our Church I gave advise with firm and decisive words whenever it was necessary to awaken the sleeping conscience and to point out the pastoral responsibility for the spiritual flock before God and the Church.  For the Episcopate should be a model of unanimity in the administration of the Church and an example of unity ia all aspects of religious and national life!  All that I had to suffer because of this - the scorn, the mental wounds, in a word, all those arrows fired at me by the evil one - are well known to you .  They were by no means easier than those in the prisons and in the deportations.  I endured them as painfully as I suffered the tortures in prison in earlier years.  But today I thank the Almighty that I was beaten both in the prisons and in freedom!  I thank Him that I was beaten and not glorified by the slaves!  I forgive them all, for they too are only instruments in the Hands of the Almighty, who summoned me and gave me His blessing to be a Prisoner for the sake of Christ, both in captivity and in freedom!

...My thoughts extend to all my brothers and sisters in Ukraine and the vast expanses of the whole Soviet Union, to those who suffer in freedom and to those who languish in jails, prisons, hard labour camps or death camps... In their midst I can see new ranks of fighters, scientistists, writers, artists, farm workers, and labourers.  I can see among them those who search for truth and those who defend justice.  I can hear voices raised in defence of the basic human fights of the individual and of society.  I watch with wonder and see how they defend our native Ukrainian language, how they enrich our native Ukrainian culture, and how with the full power of their minds and hearts they save the Ukrainian soul.  And I suffer alongside them, for they are persecuted for this as common criminals.

...Bury me in our Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint Sophia, and when our vision shall rise once again in freedom, carry the coffin in which I shall come to rest to my native land and place it in the shrine of St. George in Lviv.  If such is the will of God and the wish of the Ukrainian people, then lay my coffin in the vaults of the restored Cathedral of Saint Sophia.  I was made to suffer for many long years in the vaults of Kyiv prison, when I would like to rest in peace in the underground crypt of the restored Cathedral of saint Sophia, once my body has ceased to live!

...Sitting on the sleigh and on my way into the far off distance..., "I say a prayer to our heavenly Protector and Queen, the Ever-Virgin Mother of God:  Take our Ukrainian Church and our Ukrainian People under your Powerful Protection!
...May the Grace of Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all!

+Humble Josyf
Patriarch and Cardinal
   The Pope's Farewell

On Wedneday 17 October 1984, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica
for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Slipyj.  Here is the heart of the Pope's farewell to his
great Ukrainian brother.

   "Come to me al you who are weary and laden, and I will refresh you!"  This Word of Christ, taken from the Gospel of Matthew, sums up the long and difficult life of the beloved Archbishop-Major.  During his prolonged troubles as a condemned man and then as an exile, he always found in Christ refreshment to be a man of invincible faith, a pastor of firm courage, a witness of heroic fidelity, an eminent personality of the Church.
    "It is painful to recall the long calvary which an innocent man, a Metropolitan Archbishop, had to bear because of his Christian faith!  We know that during those years of imprisonment and hard labour he often succeded in secretly celebrating the Holy Eucharist, finding in Christ the stength and the joy to suffer with Him and for Him, for the defence and preservation of his people's faith.  Finally Pope John XXIII succeeded in obtaining his release, and on 9 February 1963 Archbishop Slipyj arrived in Rome.  Quoting the Imitation of Christ, my predecessor said to him during their emotial first meeting. 'Happy the moment when Jesus calls from tears to joy of the Spirit (BkII, ch.VIII)."
    "During the last part of his life Cardinal Slipyj maintained his fervour and his pastoral dynamism and from his example a message comes to us which can serve us, still pilgrims along the ways of this world, and can also serve the entire Church."
    "Dear brothers and sisters, in offering the Holy Sacrifice for Cardinal Slipyj, we pray to the Lord for him, meditating on his heroic faith; we invoke the Virgin Mary for the Christians persecuted in today's society, for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters residing in their nation or scattered throughout the world,"
 
 
 

How your giving sustains the Catacomb Church

These are some of the ways in which you have helped the
Ukrainian Catholic Church to survive.

1.    By supporting the construction and running of the university and seminary which Cardinal Slipyj founded in Rome.  By this you have ensured that a minimum of free Ukrainian learning and culture may survive as a counter-weight to the tragic situation in Ukraine.

2.    By publishing theological works in Ukrainian for use in exile, and which we are also able to introduce into Ukraine itself.

3.    By publishing a translation of the New Testament and a pocket-size prayer book especially adapted to the needs of the underground or 'Catacomb' Church.

4.    By enabling us to bublish our Child's Bible in Ukrainian; it is considered 'a popular item' in Ukraine and very much in demand.  We are continuing to meet that demand slowly and cautiously.

5.    By helping to transmit religious radio broadcasts to Ukraine, by sending parcels there, by relieving the Church in many other ways which we cannot mention and by helping refugees.

6.    Most importantly, by extending friendship and moral support to Cardinal Slipyj and his Church when many considered them a hinderance to ecumenical dialogue with Russian Orthodoxy.

    Fr. Werenried visited Patriarch Slipyj immediately upon his release and from that time on was his admirer, his helper and his friend.
    Since 1963, Aid to the Church in Need has been able to give nearly ten million dollars for support of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the former Soviet Union, and in exile.
 

Murders and desecrations

    We could fill many pages with accounts of recent murders, assaults, desecrations and trickeries by the Marxist-atheists in the Ukraine.  Humanly speaking there is no end in sight to the sufferings of the Ukrainian Church.  But we should take heart from the words of another young and courageous Josef Terelja, who has already spent 18 of his 41 years in Soviet prisons, camps and those new antechambers of hell, their psychiatric hospitals.  In 1982, he founded the Initiative Group for the Defence of the Rights of Believers and the Church.  He is now in prison again.  He has written, "...every ordeal has its end and we are waiting for the end of our Way of the Cross; after that - Resurrection!"
    We beg you then, for the memory of Cardinal Slipyj and for the solace of his still tormented Church, to pray, not to forget or permit to be forgotten that the Marxist-atheist persecution of religion never relents, and to give and to go on giving us the material means to relieve a little the terrible suffering this oppression causes.
 


Links to related sites

A report by Cardinal Josyf Slipyj on the Ukrainian
Catholic Church after 35 years of persecution

His Beatitude Patriarch Josyf Cardinal Slipyj

Patriarch Josyf Slipyj

Year of His Beatitude Patriarch Josyf Slipyj

Lviv Theological Academy
 
 

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