The Public Prosecutor’s Office Rehabilitated Five UGCC Hierarchs, Victims of Repression

23.02.201617:40 Only after 24 years of Ukrainian Independence, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Kyiv finally rehabilitated two bishops and three priests of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church who have been subject to repression for «betrayal of the Fatherland» and for «counterrevolution» by Soviet authority.


Bishops Yosafat Kotsylovskyj and Grygoriy Lakota as well as priests Mykola Hrytseliak, Ivan Kuzych and Roman Reshetylo were sentenced by the martial court of the MVD troops of the Ukrainian district for the term from 4 to 10 years in corrective labor camps. All of them, except Lakota, were incriminated according to the articles 54-1а («betrayal of the Fatherland») and 54-11 («participation in a counterrevolutionary organization») of the Ukrainian SSR Criminal Codex. Grygoriy Lakota was condemned according to the articles 54-4 («providing assistance to the international bourgeoisie») and 54-11.

According to the reports of soviet investigators, holy priests allegedly «on the Vatican’s instruction… created various organizations and educational institutions which prepared staff for fighting against Soviet authority. After the occupation of Przemysl by German troops, they exhorted their clergy and faithful to provide thorough assistance to the German aggressors».
 
Читай українською: Прокуратура реабілітувала п'ятьох репресованих єрархів УГКЦ
 

The request for the rehabilitation of these priests was first directed to the public prosecutor’s office in 1995. At that time, however, it remained unanswered only because the chief of the rehabilitation department of the Prosecutor’s General Office of Ukraine, Ye. A. Naliotov, recommended, temporarily, not making a decision on this case «in connection with the stated circumstances and until the address, on behalf of the convict, their relatives, or church representatives, for the case revision is made».

Another request for rehabilitation in early September 2015 was the result of the joint initiative of the Sectorial State Archive of the Service of Security of Ukraine (director Ihor Kulyk and his deputy Volodymyr Birchak), the rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University (Rev. Dr. Bohdan Prakh), the representatives of the Institute of Church History of UCU, and the head of the UGCC Saints’ Postulation Mission (hieromonk Policarp Martseliuk, of the Order of Saint Basil the Great).

The public prosecutor’s office of Kyiv concluded that, according to article 1 of the Law of Ukraine, «On the rehabilitation of victims of political repression in Ukraine» (17 April 1991), the priests have been rehabilitated.

 

Reference:

Bishops Yosafat Kotsylovskyj and Grygoriy Lakota, who died in the Gulag camps, now have been recognized as hieromartyrs.

Hieromartyr Yosafat Kotsylovskyj (1876 – 1947)

He was born on March 3, 1876 in the village of Pakoshivka near the town of Sanok in Lemkivshchyna. He finished his theological studies in Rome in 1907, and, later, on October 9 of the same year, was ordained as a priest. Soon after, he was appointed as a vice-rector and professor of theology in the Spiritual Seminary in Stanislaviv. In 1911, he entered the novitiate of the Basilian Fathers. His episcopal consecration took place on September 23, 1917 in Przemysl immediately after Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky’s return from Russian captivity. In September 1945, the Polish Communist authority arrested him, and, on June 26, 1946, after having been arrested again, he was brought by force to the USSR and imprisoned in Kyiv. The whole his life the bishop was unwavering in serving and strengthening the faith of Christ, contributing to its growth in human souls. He died as a martyr for the faith on November 17, 1947 in the Chapajev concentration camp near Kyiv.

Hieromartyr Grygoriy Lakota (1883 – 1950)

He was born on January 31, 1883 in the village of Holodivka in the Lviv region. He graduated from the Lviv Spiritual Seminary. On August 30, 1908, he was consecrated as a priest by Bishop Constantine Chekhovych. He obtained a higher education in Vienna. Later, he was appointed as a professor in the Przemysl Spiritual Seminary, and, after which, he became its rector. On May 6, 1926, his episcopal consecration as an auxiliary bishop in Przemysl took place. On June 9, 1946, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. Everyone who remembered the bishop from the exile in Vorkuta indicated his great humanity, humbleness, and willingness to accomplish the hardest labor in order to relieve the unbearable conditions placed on the lives of people. He died as a martyr for the faith on November 12, 1950 in the village of Abez near Vorkuta (Russia).

Father Mykola Hrytseliak (1891 – 1976)

He was born in 1891 in the village of Barych in the Przemysl district. He graduated from the Lviv Spiritual Seminary. In 1917, he was ordained as a priest by Bishop Yo. Kotsylovskyj. He served as a priest in Przemysl and its surrounding area. In 1946, he was deported to the Ukrainian SSR and housed in Lviv. For his refusal to «reunite» with the Russian Orthodox Church, he was arrested the same year. In 1947, he was sentenced for 6 years in the corrective labor camps and 3 years of forfeited civil rights with the deprivation of property. He served his term in the camps together with the criminals of the Khabarovsk region, and, later, in the special settlement in the Krasnoyarsk region. In 1955, he returned to Lviv. After his release, he was General Vicar of the Przemysl eparchy. He was under constant inspection by the security services. He died in Lviv in 1976. He is buried in the Yaniv cemetery.

Father Ivan Kuzych (1901-1979)

He was born in 1901 in the village of Nakonechne, Yavoriv district, in a family of well-to-do peasants. He graduated from the Spiritual Seminary in Przemysl and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas. He defended his doctoral thesis in philosophy and theology. In 1931, he was ordained as a priest. In 1932-1935, he was the vice-rector of the Przemysl Spiritual Seminary, and, since 1945, he was a rector. In 1946, he was deported to the Ukrainian SSR. He lived in Lviv where he was detained in 1946 and accused, according to the article 80-1 of the Ukrainian SSR Criminal Codex – «residence without registration». He was under remand in the Lontsky prison, and, later, in Lukianiv remand prison in Kyiv. He was accused of the fact that «as a Uniate priest and a member of Przemysl episcopal capitula, during many years, he actively assisted the anti-Soviet politics of the Vatican as well as directing nationalistic activity». In 1947, he was convicted. He served his term in the camps in the Krasnoyarsk region and, since 1952, in the special settlement in town of Norylsk. Released in 1956, he came back to Lviv where he lived without registration. Afterwards, he moved to town of Polonne, Khmelnytskyj region. He celebrated clandestine Liturgies and endowed the Holy Sacraments. He died in 1979 in the town of Polonne, where was buried by a clandestine Greek Catholic priest.

Father Roman Reshetylo (1880 – 1952)

Born in 1880 in the town of Ugniv of the Rava-Ruska district, he studied in Lviv and Przemysl seminaries. In 1907, he was ordained as a priest by Bishop Constantine Chekhovych. In 1907-1911, he continued his theological studies in Vienna. He worked as a confessor and, later, as a vice-rector and professor in the Przemysl Spiritual Seminary. In addition to this, he did his pastoral work in the village of Potelych of the Rava decanate. Since 1946, he was the General Vicar of the Przemysl eparchy. In 1946, he was deported to the Ukrainian SSR where he lived in the village of Kotelnyky near Lviv. In the same year, he was detained, staying in the Lontsky prison and Lukianiv prison in Kyiv. In 1947, he was sentenced for 4 years in the corrective labor camps and 3 years of forfeited civil rights without the deprivation of property (due to its absence). He died in 1952 in the town of Kazachynsk in the Krasnoyarsk region where he served his term.

 

Based on: http://vidia.org/2015/47405  risu.org.ua

Photo: wikipedia  vidia.org

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