Our Saints & Blesseds

Zynovij (Zenon) Kovalyk

posted on 02/09/10 12:29 am by Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R.  

Zynovij (Zenon) Kovalyk, priest, was born into a farming family at Ivatsciv Horiscnij (Ternopil) on August 18, 1903. Before entering religious life he was a teacher in a rural elementary school. On entry to the congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer he made his profession on August 26, 1926. On completion of his studies in philosophy and theology, in Belgium, he was ordained on August 9, 1932. From 1932 he was engaged in mission work in Volynia and in Stanislaviv. Summoned to Lviv, he took on the duties of community and province bursar, without giving up his mission preaching.

During the night of 20-21 December 1940 he was arrested by the Bolsheviks, because he was regarded as a spy for the Archbishop and because he had preached the truth courageously to the people. He underwent torture and brutal interrogation. His confreres learnt he was in the notorious “Bryghidky” prison only in April 1941.

According to his fellow prisoners, Father Zynovij never gave up for a moment on his pastoral work. In cell no. 71, measuring 4 metres by 3, thirty-two people were confined, without a bed, a chair or a bench. When they attempted to sleep, Zynovij tried to share his blanket with his neighbours. Every day he led his companions in prayer together, reciting the Rosary. He heard their confessions and gave them instruction in the Faith. He was a jovial man so he tried to keep up the spirits of his fellow prisoners by telling them amusing stories. During his six months in prison he endured no less than twenty-eight interrogations, during which he was always savagely beaten.

When, on June 29, 1941, the city of Lviv was captured by the German forces and the soviet prisons were opened to free the captives, heaps of corpses were found showing clear signs of torture. According to witnesses, Blessed Zynovij was crucified against a corridor wall in the prison. Soviet official documents claim however he was shot in that same month of June.

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