Page 1, 25th January 1946

25th January 1946
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Page 1, 25th January 1946 — The Pope On Persecution Of Ruthenians
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The Pope On Persecution Of Ruthenians

Bishops and priests are being made to suffer for their loyalty to the Catholic Church, pressure is being brought to bear on the people to leave the Church, ecclesiastical administration is being impeded, and bishops' and many of the clergy are being imprisoned or prevented from communication with their people.

This, the encyclical adds,—is being done under the pretext of political considerations. with suggestions that the Catholic Church was the enemy of the State

" It Is known that the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis. In his recent letter to The Ruthenian Church, openly praises the defection of Rertherrians front the Catholic Church." tire Encyclical said. " This happens while in Imernatirmal Assemblies proclaimed freedom of religion which, on the contrary, is denied in Ruthenian territory."

The new Encyclical consists of three parts. The first outlines the story of the Ruthenian Union. In the second the benefits accruing to the Ruthenian people front that Union are recounted.

In its third part. the encyclical gives a, glimpse of the anxiety felt by the Head of the Church ten account of the sad reports that reach him about the present state of the Ruthenian Church, portions of which are quoted above, TO BISHOPS IN PRISON The Pope, in conclusion, appeals to the all-merciful God to calm the tempest, and for this end he invites bishops and faithful to pray and to do pelance so that the Ruthenian Church may once more arise to freedom. To the Ruthenian bishops in prison the Pope addressee words of comfort. He invites the priests to hear the brunt of the struggle for the Faith courageously. Fle exhoos the faithful to bear with any difficulti or persecution in order to preserve the Faith, while he prays God to grant them better and more peaceful days.

From a Special Correspondent

Three hundred and fifty years ago, at Brest-Litovsk in Lithuania, six bishops of the Ukraine and Byelocussia, led by the *Metropolitan of Kiev and followed by their flocks. left the communion of the Russian Orthodox Chula] and united themselves with the Holy See. Political and cultural' considerations had a big part in bringing this about, but the reunion was bitterly opposed by some.

The people concerned in this 'reunion

were mostly Ukrainians and Byelorussians, who are called for ecclesiastical purposes "Ruthenians." At that time they were under the rule of Poland.

The union, with fluctuations of fortune, subsisted until the partitions of Poland in 1772-95. Thee most of the Ruthenians came again under the rule of Russia, whose government. Put pressure on them to return to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Tsar had to result to violence'—confiscation, flogging, exile to Siberia—before the resistance was broken There were no Ruthenian Catholics left in Russia by 1875.

Poland was restored after World War 1, end, after a bitter struggle. the Polish Government once again extended its authority over Galicia. Eventually the Ruthenian Catholics settled down and, under the leadership of the great Archbishop of Lvov, Andrew Szepacky (who died in 19441. again began to prosper.

THEY NUMBER

in 1939 i.hey numbered over 3i million epuls, divided :nto three dioceses, with 2,000 pastoral priests (threequarters of them

married, in accordance with Eastern Catholic discipline), thirty monasteries with 700 monke and miseionere, and a thousand nuns.

Then came World War II, and his tory began tu repeat itself. Poland was again " partitioned," in the sense that Galicia and the adjoining tern. torics (where there is a very large minority of people Polish by race) were annexed by Russia. This meant that, as well as the Latin Catholic Poles, the Byzantine Catholic Ruthenians (Ukrainians by race' came under the sway of the anti-religious government of the U.S.S.R.. Arid Soviet impeitalism is acting in just the same way in 1946 as Teario imperialism did aftes 1772., Latin Catholics it may tolerate, but Byasn. tine Catholics it will not For Stalin, as for Katharine II and Alexander I and Nicholas I. the supranationalisne, the catholicity, or Rome must be pushed out of sight : no Christian who worships in the' same outward way as the Ruesian Church tas Ukrainian Catholics do) may acknowledge spiritual leadership outside of Russia—least of all the leadership of the Pope.




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