Date of birth: February 17, 1892
Location: The village of Zazdrist, Terebovlia estate, Ternopil region.
Parents: Ivan Kobernytskyi-Slipyj (father) and Anastasia Dychkovska (mother)
Finished secondary school in Ternopil with a special award
Enrolled at the Lviv Greek-Catholic Theological Seminary
As a promising sophomore, he was sent for studies at the Departments of Philosophy and Theology at Innsbruck University, Austria.
September 30, 1917
Ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Sheptytsky at Univ
Continued his studies at Innsbruck University where he defended his dissertation on “The Notion of Eternal Life as interpreted by St. John the Evangelist”
Received his Doctorate in Theology
Wrote a work in German on “The Teaching on the Holy Trinity by Byzantine Patriarch Photius,” which he presented at Innsbruck University
Left for Rome to continue his studies at the Gregorian University and the Pontifical Oriental Institute
Completed a work entitled, “The Rudiments of the Holy Spirit’s Origin in the Holy Trinity,” composed in Latin
Having passed an additional exam, he received the title “Magister Aggregatus”
Studied English, Italian, German, Polish and French.
Upon his return from Rome, taught Dogmatic Theology at the Lviv Seminary
Co-founded the Ukrainian Academic Theological Society in Lviv.
September 3, 1922
Began publishing a quarterly “Theology,” which he edited until 1939
Appointed Rector of the seminary.
February 22, 1928
Metropolitan Andrey (Sheptytsky) approved the statute of the academy and the nomination of Fr. Josyf Slipyj, Ph.D, as the rector of the Lviv Theological Academy
The department of Philosophy opened at the LTA.
Wrote works on historical, philosophical and literary subjects, in addition to numerous works on art and religious law
Published a series of papers on “The Works of the Greek-Catholic Academy”
At Josyf Slipyj’s initiative, Lviv hosted the Union Congress, dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the death of Kyiv Metropolitan Josyf Veliamyn (Rutsky)
December 22, 1939
Upon Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky’s request, Pope Pius XII gave his blessing of approval to Rev. Josyf Slypij’s being ordained archbishop with the right of succession
The ordination was held in secret since “…in times of persecution, ordination is less of an honor and more of a burden,” as Josyf Slipyj said.
Despite the war, he resumed work at the LTA.
November 1, 1944
After Andrey Sheptytsky’s death, he assumed the rights of the Metropolitan.
April 10, 1945
Arrested by NKVD (predecessor of the KGB).
April 11, 1945 – May 10, 1946
Held in custody in the jail on Lontsky St. in Lviv; in the Lukanivska jail in Kyiv; in Lubyanka in Moscow
The secret military tribunal sentenced him to 8 years in concentration camps in Siberia
Stages of his internment:
1. Novosybirsk: “… they are being sent into exile … and the journeys may last for months. Before the convicts arrive, they are almost dead. So exhausted by all these transfers, hunger, brutally cold weather and everything … When they finally arrive, they are thin and exhausted; dead-tired they fall on icy logs. The physical torture and pain can just kill a person…,” Josyf Slipyj writing about Pope Clement I’s exile.
2. Mariyinske, Kemerovo region: here he suffered from pneumonia and dysentery, but was refused hospitalization. Instead, he was sent on to another stage.
3. Boyimy: here his arm was broken (“others get their ribs broken, and in your case it’s only a hand,” the doctor was reported as saying).
4. Kirov, Russia: with a group consisting of 40 people, among whom were three priests and a bishop, Charnetskyi.
The concentration camp in Pechora, Inta: “The Metropolitan was tired, sitting on his backpack. All of a sudden, two fellows ran into the room and began to look around. They jumped on the Metropolitan, then disappeared along with the Metropolitan’s baggage. He was left lying on the floor bleeding.” (from the memoirs of Prof. Grobauer, a citizen of Austria).
The concentration camp in Kosiu, Komi ARSR, Potma (Russia): “It took us almost a month to get to the camp. His Beatitude Josyf looked awful; we was suffering from a fever,” recollects Ferdinand Tseppichal.
August 1948 –1949
Camp ï¿½ 23 in Temiakovsky region of Mordovia
Sent to testify in court. Shortly afterwards sent back to Potma, and then to camp ï¿½ 14
May 15, 1953
Received a summons to appear before a commission that proposed he join the Orthodox Church. The commission promised to return his titles and possibly to assign him to a high position in the Russian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Josyf Slipyj resolutely declined this proposal, after which he was sent to a nursing home.
Ordered to come to Moscow in order to help establish contact with the Vatican. Met with Marshal Zhukov. Proposed to write a paper on the history of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the USSR.
1954 – 1956
After Beria was ruined, Slipyj was sent to a nursing home in the village of Malakhovo, near Yeniseysk (Siberia). He wrote from memory a history of the Catholic Church and also wrote pastoral epistles, which he sent to Ukraine through people he trusted. The KGB, however, managed to intercept a manuscript of “The History.”
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Slipyj’s ordination to the priesthood, Pope Pius XII sent the Metropolitan in exile his greetings . The letter did not reach its destination, since it was confiscated. It later served, in addition to the previously intercepted manuscript, as grounds for a new arrest. Patriarch Josyf was brought to Yenisey, shortly afterwards to Krasnoyarsk and then to Kyiv.
Arrested for another 7 years
His next stage of interment was in Kamchatka, after which followed the Taishei camps.
Potma— (“One travels in well-lit and overcrowded cattle cars with convicts. Armed guards are everywhere. Through a little window one can see the broad expanse of Siberia.” – Abraham Shifrin [Munich].)
Transferred to camps in Sverdlovsk, Chuny and Novochunky.
Sent again to Kyiv. Asked about his greatest and least demands of the government; was asked to denounce the Pope and speak against the nationalists living abroad. “You are mocking me and my Church, damaging and destroying everything that we’ve built up and now you want me to oppose those who are united with me in spirit and defend themselves?” was the answer His Beatitude (the Metropolitan) gave.
The Supreme Court found Josyf Slipyj an especially dangerous recidivist and sent him to Mordovia. Suffering from pneumonia, he arrived at the camp in Yavas, Mordovia.
January 26, 1963
Set free at the request of Pope John XXIII and US President Kennedy. Prior to his trip to Rome, he asked to see his relatives in Moscow. Fr. Vasyl Vsevolod Velychkovskyi, hegumen (abbot) of the Redemptorists and head of the Ternopil monastery, came to Moscow posing as a relative. In his hotel room, Josyf Slipy ordained Fr. Vasyl Velychkovsky bishop of Lutsk and appointed him locum tenens (“acting head” in Ukraine).
February 9, 1963
Arrived at the Basilian monastery in Grotaferrata, Italy (outside of Rome). Met with Pope John XXIII, to whom he presented a map which pinpointed all the camps he had been to
March 3, 1963
In his Easter address, called upon all Ukrainians “by all means to stay united. Though we are all scattered around the world, we are still united in the Holy Eucharist and our paschal faith, which is expressed by the words ‘Christ has risen!’”
March 28, 1963
Participated for the first time in the Conference of Ukrainian Bishops.
October 11, 1963
Spoke at the Second Vatican Council, at which 2500 delegates from all over the world participated, and urged that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church be raised to the honor of a Patriarchate. For this, he received the unanimous support of the council fathers.
November 25, 1963
Issued a charter establishing the Ukrainian Catholic University, naming it after Pope Saint Clement I, who died in Crimea, southern Ukraine, at the end of the first century. Thereafter, he resumed the work of the Academic Theological Society and the publishing of the journal “Theology.”
December 23, 1963
Josyf Slipyj received the title of ‘Major Archbishop,’ approved by Pope Paul VI.
In 1949, he had been secretly named a cardinal and in 1965 was solemnly proclaimed as such. He became the fourth cardinal in the history of Ukraine.
A member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches .
October 1, 1965
With the Patriarch’s blessing, the Studite Order was re-established.
Renovated the Church of the Holy Martyrs, Saints Sergius and Bacchus, and founded the first Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish in Italy.
September 27, 1969
Josyf Slipyj consecrated St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Rome, saying “… thanks to the donations of all Ukrainian people, in particular the laity, and also thanks to my humble work, the Ukrainian Catholic University, a real realm of academics, has been established. St. Sophia’s Cathedral, a sign and symbol of the indestructibility of the Holy Church on earth and a place of worship, has been built. The Studite Order, an ever-shining island of Christian righteousness and Eastern monasticism and piety has been re-established.”
Visited Ukrainian believers abroad with the aim of establishing closer contacts and of bringing them closer to the Holy Eucharist, in addition to enlivening their spiritual lives. He visited 14 countries: Canada, USA, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Spain, Portugal, England, France, Austria, India and Malta.
19 of 21 bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church requested that the Pope confer the title of Patriarch on Josyf Slipyj.
Pope Paul VI refused.
“You need to stay united by speaking the same language, sharing the same faith in Jesus Christ, joining in prayers, practicing the same system of services, the same rite and the same national Ukrainian mentality. You need to cherish the same love for the common heritage of our princes and warriors, for our culture, literature, art, customs and traditions of statehood, sustained throughout our centuries-old history. You need to testify to the unity of the Ukrainian nation, regardless of the country you happen to reside in.” (from his address to Ukrainians in Canada)
Founded the Museum of Ukrainian Art and a hotel complex attached to Sts. Sergius and Bacchus Church.
October 23, 1971
At the Synod of Bishops he delivered a report on the persecution of the Ukrainian Church and people, entitled “The Church of Martyrs.”
Father Hrynokh, a former chaplain of the OUN-ULA (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists – Ukrainian Liberation Army), first referred to Josyf Slipyj as Patriarch during the Divine Liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Since then, this title has been used often in reference to Josyf Slipyj.
Patriarch Josyf founded six subsidiaries of the Ukrainian Catholic University.
Cardinal Josyf, addressing all cardinals, distinguished religious figures, state representatives and those accredited to the Holy See , informed them of the incredible casualties and sufferings of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and he asked them to oppose the attacks of communists.
March 24, 1980
Pope John Paul II convened the Extraordinary Synod of Ukrainian Bishops, at which he announced that the Metropolitan of Philadelphia, Ivan Myroslav (Lubachivsky), had been chosen coadjutor to Patriarch Josyf.
Wrote his “Testament,” in which he contemplated the future of the Church and pondered various aspects of religious and social life.
November 25 and December 2, 1980
The Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church declared as illegitimate the 1946 Lviv pseudo-Synod that attempted to liquidate the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
September 7, 1984
Cardinal Josyf Slipyj, patriarch of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, died.
April 17, 1991
Posthumously rehabilitated by the Soviet government.
August 27, 1992
His mortal remains were brought back to Ukraine, where they were buried in the crypt of St. George’s Cathedral in Lviv.