(Ukrainian World Congress) Ė The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has proclaimed the Year 2002 as The Year of Patriarch Josyf Slipyj on the 110th anniversary of his birth. All people of good will are called to honour this heroic Pastor, who endured 18 years of imprisonment and sufferings for his Church and his faith.
He was born February 17, 1892, in the village of Zazdrist, Ukraine, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1917. In 1922 he began teaching dogmatics at the Lviv Theological Seminary. He was the co-founder of the Ukrainian Theological Scholarly Society and the founder and editor of the quarterly Bohosloviia.
In 1925 Father Slipyj was appointed rector of the Lviv Theological Seminary, which he reorganized as the Greek Catholic Theological Academy, becoming its first rector in 1928 and remaining in this position until 1944.
On November 25, 1939, at the request of Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky, Pope Pius XII nominated him as bishop-coadjutor. He was consecrated bishop by Metropolitan Andrew, Bishop Nykyta Budka and Bishop Nicholas Charnetsky.
After the death of Metropolitan Andrew on November 1, 1944, Archbishop Josyf Slipyj succeeded him as metropolitan. On April 11, 1945 he was arrested and sentenced for eight years of hard labour in Siberia for treason. The actual reason for his incarceration was that he refused to break relations with the Apostolic See and submit the Greek Catholic Church to the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate.
After 18 years of hard labour, through the efforts of Pope John XXIII, Metropolitan Josyf was freed from exile and was permitted to come to Rome on February 9, 1963. In a short time he was engaged in the deliberations of the Second Vatican Council. In his first address at the Council he proposed the creation of a Ukrainian Patriarchate for Kyiv-Halych.
In Rome His Beatitude Josyf founded St. Clement Ukrainian Catholic University, acquired a monastery for monks of the Studite Rule, revived publication Bohosloviia and published numerous theological works.
On January 25, 1965, Pope Paul VI conferred upon him the title of cardinal. In 1969 Cardinal Slipyj built St. Sophia Cathedral in Rome and in 1970 he established the Ukrainian Catholic parish of Ss. Sergius and Bacchus. He presided over seven synods of Ukrainian Catholic Bishops, and received honourary doctorates from five universities.
In 1968 began his pastoral visitations, travelling to all the continents, where the diaspora flourished, and continued this apostolic mission until 1976.
The Lord called to himself his faithful, long-suffering and deserving servant on September 7, 1984, in the 92nd year of his life. His mortal remains were interred in the crypt of St. Sophia Cathedral in Rome. But Godís Providence ordained that this Confessor of the Faith would finally be laid to rest in his own Cathedral of St. George in Lviv, in an independent Ukraine. In the midst of great enthusiasm and solemn liturgical services his re-interment took place on September 7, 1992.
To our prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for giving our Church and our nation a man of great stature and spiritual father, we add a prayer for his beatification.
Prayer for the Beatification of Confessor Patriarch Josyf Slipyj
Most Holy Trinity, glory and honour to You for the graces bestowed upon the Pastor of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Servant of God Josyf Slipyj, and for giving us a shining example of unshakeable faith and heroic perseverance of a defender of Your persecuted Church and an authentic witness of the Crucified Christ, throughout 18 years of severe hardship in Siberia.
Through his merits and intercession, grant us the strength to follow Christ on His Way of the Cross and help us obtain the grace, which we most need and for which we ask....(name it). May this received grace lead to the elevation on the altar of the Blessed your good, strong and faithful son of Your Church. For to You belongs all glory, honour, adoration, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Askold S. Lozynskyj
+ Cornelius Pasichny, OSBM
Eparch of Toronto
Head of the Church Council
of the Ukrainian World Congress