The Apostolic delegate for Greek-Catholics in Kazakhstan and Middle Asia, Fr. Vasyl Hovera, announced recently the unveiling of a new monument in memory of the Ukrainian martyrs of the gulag in a cemetery in the town of Dolinka.
The monument is a memorial to the many victims of the Russian prison system known as the Gulag, which was created by Josef Stalin and consisted of more than 100 concentration camps, where over 200,000 members of the clergy were imprisoned and many killed. Over all some 800,000 people were executed in the gulags.
The memorial especially honors Blessed Oleksiy Zarytskyi, who died in a gulag hospital in Dolinka on October 30, 1963, and was one of 27 martyrs beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 27, 2001. A chapel dedicated to the new martyr was inaugurated in 2001 at the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in Karaganda.
As Redemptorist Fr. Vasyl Hovera said, “He tirelessly took care not only of Ukrainians but of Poles, Germans and Russians amid inhumane conditions.” Blessed Oleksiy Zarytskyi’s sister Maria, who is a nun at the Redemptorist Convent in Kazakhstan , joined in prayers and thanks to Aid to the Church in Need for the continuous assistance to the Contemplative Sisters, Carmelites, Franciscan and the Greek-Catholic Servants of Our Lady Immaculate. “They are united in vigils on the soil drenched with the blood of the New Martyrs,” she said.
Kazakhstan has 8 million Muslims and 6 million Russian Orthodox. There also are more than 500,000 Catholics, the grand children of the persecuted Catholic Church.