Page 1, 11th April 1969

11th April 1969
Page 1
Page 1, 11th April 1969 — 'Bishop murdered in Soviet jail'

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Locations: Rome


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'Bishop murdered in Soviet jail'


Basil Welyczkowski, C.SS.R., in prison at Lvov, in the Ukraine, after a secret trial on charges of illegal religious propaganda, was "murder because of beastly treatment at the hands of the Russian secret police," says the Ukrainian Christian Movement in Britain.

Prof. Ilarion Holubowycz of St. Joseph's College, Stoke-onTrent, president of the movement's central council, says a detailed account has been received from the Ukraine of the bishop's arrest and murder by the NKVD (secret police) during interrogations in the prison to extract information about the underground activities of the Catholic Church in the Ukraine.


He says Amnesty International has been given the facts "and we are appealing to all men of good wilt to help us in drawing the attention of the entire civilised world to this crime." An appeal is also being made to the United Nations.

Prof. Holubowycz says that Bishop Welyczkowski went to a private house on Jan. 29 to hear confession from a sick person. He was followed by two Siov'get agents who subse

quently arrested him in his own home, together with several Ukrainian priests who worked in the underground Church.

A month earlier a Soviet agent, posing as a French "tourist" acting on behalf of the Vatican, asked the bishop for information about the Church's secret activities in the Ukraine, which he was to take back to Rome.

The "Vatican representative" presented forged documents to establish his bona fides and as a result the bishop gave him written information.

NKVD TREATMENT On his arrest, the bishop was taken to "interrogation cells" at Lvov prison, but flatly refused to speak of his work or give further information. Nobody was allowed to visit him or attend his trial and he died ten days later. His relatives were refused his body.

"There is no doubt whatever that Bishop Welyczkowski died because of beastly treatment at the hands of the NKVD," says Prof. Holubowycz.

The bishop was one of thousands of Ukrainian priests who were arrested by the Russians at the end of World War II. While in custody he was secretly consecrated a bishop by Cardinal Slipyj. He was subsequently deported and went to live in Rome.

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