New persecution of Uniate believers, April 1969 (7.5)

«No 7 : 30 April 1969»

In spite of the USSR Constitution, which guarantees freedom of conscience, the Greek-Catholic, or Uniate, Church was forcibly liquidated in 1944 by organs of the MGB [KGB] in Western Ukraine. Priests who did not adopt the Orthodox faith were sent to camps after false charges had been fabricated. The Uniate Church continued to function underground. Its activity has come to life in recent years, and at the same time the number of Uniate priests detained and beaten up by the police has grown.

On 18 October 1968 ten Uniate priests had their homes searched: forbidden religious objects were confiscated, including even the Holy Sacrament – all this represents a flagrant encroachment into the sphere of religious observance.

At the end of 1968, two Uniate priests were arrested: one in Kolomiya (Ivano-Frankovsk Region), the other in Lvov. In January 1969, an underground bishop of the Uniate Church, Velychkovsky, was arrested. Velychkovsky is about 70; he is ill and now in a prison hospital, where his condition is serious. The case is being conducted by the Lvov Procuracy: the charge is unknown. At the beginning of 1969, more searches were carried out in the homes of Uniate priests. [See correction, CCE 8.15]