Blessed Basil Hopko is considered one of the many priests and religious martyred by Communism. He was born in Slovakia to poor parents. His father died when he was a year old and his mother left for the United States when he was four in seach of work.
He remained in Europe and was an excellent student. He wanted to join his mother in the United States and pursue his vocation to the priesthood there, but his poor health did not permit him to travel.
He was ordained in 1929 and served as a parish priest in Prague, with a spcial mission to assist the poor, unemployed and students. In 1947, he was named auxiliary bishop of Prjashev. Three years later, he was arrested by Communist officials and tortured.
He was given a trial and sentenced to 15 years for “subversive activity.” His health failed as he was continually tortured. In 1964, he was transferred to a home for seniors. There, he was kept under guard but managed to minister to a group of 120 nuns who had been imprisoned in the home as well.
Though his eparchy was restored in 1968, officials did not permit him to resume his leadership. A Slovak bishop was appointed in his place. He never recovered from his health and died in 1976. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003 in the Slovak Republic.