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The Martyrs Of Pratulin

I often hear Roman Catholics in the West discuss Byzantine Catholicism as if it’s just Eastern Orthodoxy with the pope. While on the surface it might appear so, but in their respected native lands that is far from the truth.

History shows us that the Byzantine Catholics would purposely adopt Latin devotions/customs in order to separate themselves from their “schismatic” brethren.

To no surprise, this overall attitude between the groups caused a lot of violence and terror committed against the Byzantine Catholics by mostly Orthodox governments. What happened in Pratulin was unfortunately common of a situation that Catholics once found themselves in.

The tragedy happened when the Russian Government sent off all the clergy to Siberia and tried to install an Orthodox priest in the parish. However, when the cleric arrived the whole parish protested peacefully against this injustice. Thirteen unarmed laymen were shot by Imperial soldiers and thrown into ditches without any kind of last rites or ceremonies.

These brave men, women, and children are a testament to the truth of our faith, they could have simply agreed with the government and enjoyed the same liturgy they always have. But they knew that while their liturgies and prayers might be similar, the essence of the Orthodox faith was different and in error.

Here is a homily from Pope John Paul II during the beatification ceremony, as well as the names of those faithful martyrs.

Was this not the lot that befell Wincenty Lewoniuk and his companions, the martyrs of Podlasie? As faithful “servants” of the Lord, they trusted in his grace and gave witness of their belonging to the Catholic Church in fidelity to their Eastern tradition. They did so with full awareness and did not hesitate to offer their lives as a confirmation of their loyalty to Christ.
Not sparing themselves, the martyrs of Pratulin defended not only the parish church in front of which they were killed, but the Church that Christ entrusted to the Apostle Peter, the Church which they felt a part of, like living stones. They shed their blood in union with the Son of God, cast out of the vineyard, and killed (cf. Mt 21:39) for man’s salvation and reconciliation with God. By their example and intercession, Wincenty Lewonink and his 12 companions, who today are raised to the honors of the altar, invite us all to advance courageously on the way to the full unity of the entire family of Christ’s disciples, in the spirit of the ecumenical directives of the Second Vatican Council.

  • Anicet Hryciuk

  • Bartlomiej Osypiuk

  • Daniel Karmasz

  • Filip Geryluk

  • Ignacy Franczuk

  • Jan Andrzejuk

  • Konstanty Bojko

  • Konstanty Lukaszuk

  • Lukasz Bojko

  • Maksym Hawryluk

  • Michal Wawryszuk

  • Onufry Wasyluk

  • Wincenty Lewoniuk


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