Patriarch Josyf Slipyj's 120th anniversary commemorated today
Today is the 120th anniversary of Josyf Slipyj, Major Archbishop, Patriarch, Cardinal and Metropolitan (1944-84).
He was born in Zazdrist in western Ukraine on 17 February 1892, he was a churchman of three careers: scholar, confessor of the faith and an international voice for persecuted Christians. After studies in Lviv, Innsbruck (Austria), Rome and Paris, he became a professor and then Rector (1928-44) of the Lviv Seminary and Theological Academy. A prolific writer, his collected works include some twenty volumes. In 1939 he was ordained archbishop by Metropolitan Sheptytsky and succeeded him as head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church upon the latter's death on 1 November 1944.
On 11 April 11 1945 Slipij was arrested by the Soviet authorities and spent eighteen years in Stalinist prisons, labor camps and Siberian exile, where he earned a reputation for being an iron-willed, intrepid witness to the faith. Through the intervention of Pope John XXIII and President Kennedy he was released in 1963 to attend the Second Vatican Council.
During the following twenty-one years Slipyj energized the life of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the West, establishing the Ukrainian Catholic University and building the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Rome. His death on 7 September 1984 was followed in 1992 by the translation of his remains to Lviv, where they were interred in St. George's Cathedral with the participation of over a million faithful.