Servant of God

Fr. Roman Bachtalowsky, C.Ss.R.

(1897-1985)

The Servant of God, Fr. Roman Bachtalowsky, was born on October 21, 1897 in Yabluniv, near Ternopil, Ukraine, into the large family of the Greek Catholic priest, Fr. Daniel Bachtalowsky.

After completing his studies at the gymnasium in Kolomyja in 1917, he entered the Major Seminary in Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) where he grew spiritually under the guidance of Fr. Nicholas Charnetsky, C.Ss.R., his spiritual director.

During his third year at the seminary, Roman showed interest in the life and apostolic works of the newly arrived Redemptorist missionaries from Belgium. In 1919, he joined their novitiate.

He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gregory Khomyshyn in 1921. He completed further studies in Belgium. After his return to Ukraine, he began teaching Greek, Latin, Physics and Astronomy at the Redemptorist Minor Seminary in Zboïska near Lviv. During that time he studied Slavic Linguistics at Lviv University. Unfortunately during this time, he wore himself out physically and caught tuberculosis. During this time of illness he spent more time in meditation, prayer and total union with God. Fr. Roman attributed his healing to the Blessed Theotokos. It was during his illness that he also began to write.  His first masterpiece was The Akathist to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

In 1933 he went to Volyn to serve as a secretary to newly consecrated Bishop Nicholas Charnetsky, C.Ss.R. Later he wrote in his memoirs about Bishop Nicholas under the title, “Apostle of Unity”.

In 1942 he were to Stanislaviv where he was appointed as Rector of the monastery. In 1943, he preached a women’s retreat, after which some of them decided to enter religious life. With permission of Bishop Gregory Khomyshyn, he founded Congregation of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima on October 13, 1942.

In 1949 Fr. Roman was arrested and sent to the prison in Kiev when the Greek Catholic Church was illegal in Ukraine.  Then, he was sent to the work camp in the village of Sosnovka near Irkutsk (Siberia). He returned from there in 1956 and soon after wrote “The Life of Theodor the Studite,” the Akathist to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and a book, “The Kingdom of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” which he dedicated to the Congregation he recently founded.  His hope was that this book would act as a foundation for the sisters’ spiritual life.

On October 13, 1968, the KGB uncovered the underground pastoral activity of Fr. Roman.  After the search,   all his writings were confiscated along with recordings of his retreats and liturgical books. This became the cause for his second arrest. He was sentenced for five years of work in the labor camp in Inhash in Krasnoyarsk (Siberia). He returned to Ukraine in 1976 and settled in the town of Khmilnyk near Vinnytzia. There he wrote a series of meditations about Mother of God called “Following in the Footsteps of Mary.”  Soon after, he also wrote the Akathist in honor of St. Vladimir and Moleben in honor of Holy Ukrainian Martyrs.

He died a holy death on October 6, 1985.

The beatification process of the Servant of God Fr. Roman Bachtalowsky, C.Ss.R., was started on November 22, 2006.