Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has written a letter paying tribute to his predecessor, Cardinal Josyf Slipyj (1892-1984), on the 125th anniversary of his birth.
Cardinal Slipyj, who led the Eastern Catholic church from 1944 to
1984, “refused a promised freedom and high ranks if only he denied his
Church,” his successor recalled.
“When coming to the West he became a
voice and symbol of a ‘silent Church’ in the USSR and all persecuted by
the godless totalitarian regime.”
Cardinal Slipyj was imprisoned for 18 years, including eight years of
hard labor in the Siberian gulag, after Joseph Stalin’s regime
suppressed the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Pope St. John XXIII secured the prelate’s release in 1963, and Blessed Paul VI created the prelate a cardinal in 1965.