BLESSED VASYL V. VELYCHKOVSKY, C.Ss.R.
BISHOP and MARTYR
(1903 – 1973)
He was born on July 1, 1903 in Stanislaviv (Ivano-Fraankivsk’). His parents were Volodymyr and Anne (nee Theodorowych) who were catechists. In 1920 he entered the Major Seminary in Lviv.
While he was a deacon, he received his religious vocation. He made his novitiate in Holosko near Lviv. He made his first profession in August, 1925. Soon after he was ordained by Bishop Joseph Bocian to the priesthood.
The young Redemptorist was a teacher at the Redemptorist Minor Seminary at Zboisk until 1928. Then he became a missionary for seven years in the area of Volyn working for Church union with the Orthodox and serving the Ukrainian Catholics from Halychyna who lived there. In 1935 he returned to Halychyna and was very active as a missionary.
In 1943, Velychkovsky became the local superior in the house in Ternopil.
The second occupation of the communist soviets in Halychyna brought with it terror and persecution of the Church. In March 1945 he was arrested by the communists in Ternopil. He was taken to Kiev where for almost two years he underwent a terrible process of interrogation. The courts of Kiev sentenced him to the maximum penalty of death by a firing squad. After he spent three months on death row, his sentence was then commuted to ten years of hard labour. This took place in Vorkuta labour camps above the Arctic Circle.
In 1955 Fr. Velychkovsky returned to Lviv.
In 1959 he was appointed as Bishop, and in 1963 he was ordained as bishop by Metropolitan Slipyj in a hotel room in Moscow. Through him the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukraine was maintained throughout the time of the underground church.
In 1969 he was arrested for “organising secret theological courses in Ternopil” and also because he was listening to Vatican radio. He was sentenced to three years of hard labour in lager camps. During this time he went through severe torture and his health was destroyed.
Bishop Vasyl Velychkovsky was released in spring of 1972 and soon after died in Winnipeg on July 30, 1973.
Blessed Vasyl’s relics were enshrined in St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on September 22, 2002.
If you would like more information about Blessed Vasyl, please contact our shrine office at:
204-338-7321 or visit Bishop Velychkovsky Martyr’s Shrine at www.bvmartyrshrine.com.