I found a web page that has a long list of Catholic men and women martyred by the Soviets in the Ukraine. These martyrs are all declared Blessed. Its impossible to tell how many more were martyred and not declared Blessed, how many others were martyred and we'll just never know, how many Orthodox and other Christians (and this only those in the Ukraine).
Two stories in particular really struck me:
Blessed Sr. Tarsykia Matskiv was born on 23 March 1919 in the village ofAll she did was answer the door.
Khodoriv, Lviv District, baptized as Ol'ha. On 3 May 1938 she entered the Sister
Servants of Mary Immaculate. After professing her first vows on 5 November 1940,
she worked in her convent. Even prior to the Bolshevik arrival in Lviv, Sr.
Tarsykia made a private oath to her spiritual director, Fr. Volodymyr Kovalyk
O.S.B.M., that she would sacrifice her life for the conversion of Russia and for
the good of the Catholic Church. The Bolsheviks were determined to destroy the
monastery. On the morning of 17 July 1944 at 8 a.m., a Russian soldier rang the
convent door. When Sr. Taryskia answered the door she was shot without warning
Blessed Fr. Roman Lysko was born on 14 August 1914 in Horodok, Lviv Region. HeI didn't get it at first so I had to look up the word "immured". I found this at thefreedictionary.com:
graduated from the Lviv Theological Academy. He and his wife worked very gladly
with the youth. On 28 August 1941 he was ordained to the priesthood by
Metropolitan Andrei Sheptyts'kyi. On 9 September 1949, he was arrested by the
NKVD (KGB) and put into a prison on Lontskoho St in Lviv. The people of Liviv
reported to one another that after being tortured, the young Fr. Roman sang
psalms at the top of his voice. It was then reported that they had immured him
alive in the prison walls. His death is officially dated on 14 October 1949.
tr.v. im·mured, im·mur·ing, im·mures
1. To confine within or as if within walls; imprison.
2. To build into a wall: immure a shrine.
3. To entomb in a wall
They built the wall around the priest. They were so afraid of him that they entombed him in their prison, where they felt he couldn't do them any more harm. How horrible would be to have the wall built all around you? Of course I also wonder, on a lighter note, why do we have a word dedicated to that specific purpose?
As an aside I recommend a book called Tortured for Christ. Its written by a Lutheran pastor about his experiences of persecution and imprisonment in Communist Eastern Europe. You can get a free copy here actually.
Keep an eye on Per Christum through the course of 2008 I will be making efforts to highlight all the Eastern Euro Martyrs of communism that I can.
I have found some great Italian and Ukrainian language websites that have photos not seen on English language websites.
Many more to come!
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