Ukrainian Martyrs to Be Beatified

During Papal Visit in June

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VATICAN CITY, APR. 24, 2001 (( John Paul II will beatify more than two dozen martyrs of Ukraine during his upcoming trip to that country in June.

The announcement was made this morning when the decrees of martyrdom and heroic virtues and acknowledgment of miracles of 52 people were promulgated in the Vatican, in the Pope´s presence.

Ten martyrs will be canonized; 28 will be beatified. Among the latter are an Armenian and a Pole, in addition to the Ukrainians.

The heroic virtues of two bishops, four priests, six religious, and one lay woman were also recognized.

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presented the conclusion of the required canonical investigations to the Pope. Cardinals, bishops and religious superiors were on hand for the ceremony.

Referring to the Ukrainian martyrs, the cardinal explained that they were Christians “who heroically witnessed their fidelity to Christ and the Roman Pontiff during the Second World War and subsequent years, when the Church and Ukrainian hierarchy were persecuted by the Communist regime.”

“The recent political changes which have taken place in Eastern Europe have finally made it possible to collect the proofs of their martyrdom,” Cardinal Saraiva Martins added.

The group includes Mykola Charnetsky, apostolic exarch of Volyn and Pidlyashia, and 25 companion martyrs: seven bishops, 14 diocesan and religious priests, three nuns, and a layman, father of a family.

To the above martyrs, must be added the young Ruthenian Bishop Theodore Romzsa, of the Byzantine rite, apostolic administrator of Mukacevo in Ukraine.

Preparations for John Paul II´s trip have been marred by the opposition of Moscow´s Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II.

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