Blessed Nicholas (Mykolay) Charneckyj Bishop and Martyr
Semakivtsi, Ukraine, December 14, 1884 – Lviv, Ukraine, April 2, 1959
Roman Martyrology: At Lviv in Ukraine, beato Čarneckyj Nicholas, Bishop, who carried out his apostolic ministry as exarch of Volyn and Pidljashja in times of persecution against the faith and, as faithful as a pastor in the footsteps of Christ, for His grace reached kingdom of heaven.
Mykolay Charneckyj was born December 14, 1884 at Semakivtsi, in Western Ukraine. In 1903 he entered the seminary of Stanislaviv, was a Ukrainian student of the College in Rome and crowned his studies with a doctorate in theology. In 1909 he received his priestly ordination and became a teacher in the seminar Stanislaviv, which was also his spiritual father. In 1919 he entered the Congregation of Missionaries Redemptorists.
In 1926, he was appointed Apostolic Visitor for the faithful Catholics of greek-Volyn, where the structures of the Church had been destroyed by the Russian czarist regime in the nineteenth century. In 1931 he was appointed Professor of Catholics of the Byzantine-Slavic rite in Polish territory and on February 8 of that year he received episcopal consecration in the Eternal City.
On April 11, he was arrested in Lviv by agents of the KGB, along with all the greek-ranking Catholic bishops. Initially sentenced to five years of forced labor, Bishop Charneckyj instead passed eleven years in prison, suffering torture and continued humiliation. He accepted and endured all this, however, with heroic patience and serenity, praying for his persecutors and trying to comfort his fellow concentration camp victims, in respect of which he proved a very good shepherd.
In 1956 he was finally released and returned to Lviv, dying. Against all expectations, he continued to exercise his ministry headed by his bed, the Church of the catacombs. Mykolay Charneckyj finally died in Lviv on April 2, 1959. He was immediately seen by the Ukrainian faithful a holy martyr, because of atrocious suffering long endured in hatred of the Catholic faith. Even today, many believers are accustomed to praying at his tomb.
Mykolay Charneckyj was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 27, 2001, along with 24 other Ukrainian natinonals who were victims of the Soviet regime.
Author: Fabio Arduino
Source: Santi e Beati