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Clement Sheptytsky

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Blessed hieromartyr Clement Sheptytsky (Ukrainian: Климентій Шептицький, 17 November 1869-May 1, 1951) was the Archimandrite of the Studite monks, martyred by the Soviets in Siberia.

He was born in the village of Prylbychi, near Lviv in Galicia then under Austro-Hungarian rule to the old Rutheniana noble family of Sheptytsky as a younger brother of the future Metropolitan Servant of God Andrew Sheptytsky, and baptized Casimir Mary. He received his education first at home and starting in 1882 at Krakow. Sheptytsky later also studied in Monachium and Paris. In 1892 he received a Ph.D. in law on the Jagiellonian University. After finishing his studies he returned home to manage the family estates and look after his aging parents. In 1900 Casimir Sheptytsky was elected to the Austrian parliament however after its dissolution in 1907 he decided to withdraw from politics.

In 1911 he decided to become a monk and entered the Benedictine (Latin Rite) monastery in Beuron (Baden-Württemberg). After a year he decided following the example of his older brother to switch to the Ukrainian Byzantine Rite of their ancestors and moved to an Eastern Rite monastery in Bosnia. He took the name Clement, after Pope Saint Clement I martyred in Chersonesos, who together with St Andrew the First-Called is considered to be the founder of the Ukrainian Church and on August 28, 1913 was ordained a priest by the bishop of Križevci (Croatia). That same year he undertook theological studies in Innsbruck and after finishing them in 1919 and returned to Ukraine to settle in the Holy Dormition Lavra in Univ.

In 1926 father Clement was named the Ihumen of the Lavra. In 1937 he came to Lviv to aide his aide ailing brother Andrew. In 1939 the region was occupied by communists, the soviet "liberators" immediately implemented a plan to eliminate the Ukrainian intellectual elites and Church. At the time they did not arrest the Metropolitan himself, fearing his great authority among the nation, but went after his family attempting to capture Clement and murdering their brother Leon along with his family. During that time Metropolitan divided the soviet union into four exarchates and named father Clement the exarch of Russia. In 1941 the red terror was interrupted with the outbreak of the Nazi-soviet war and the German occupation of Ukraine, however the situation did not improve much. During that time father Clement helped his brother rescue Jews harboring them in Studite monasteries and organizing groups that would aid them in escaping to Hungarian controlled Transcarpathian Ukraine. With the return of the soviets in 1944 a coordinated action to destroy the Church and subject it to the Moscow Patriarchate was implemented.

After the death of the Metropolitan his successor Joseph Slipyj named father Clement the Archimandrate of the Studite monks. This meant that the mass arrest of Church hierarchs carried out by the NKVD in 1945 remained one of the highest ranking clergymen left. As such he became an informal leader of the Church, meeting with monks and priests and strengthening them in their resolve. On June 5, 1947 he himself was arrested by soviets and held first in an NKVD prison in Lviv, then in Kyiv and finally, after his steadfast refusal to renounce his faith and serve the Moscow Patriarchat, in Siberian labour camp were he died.

The blessed hieromartyr Clement Sheptytsky was beatified, together with 27 other Servants of God from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, by the Holy Father Servant of God John Paul II in Lviv during his apostolic journey to Ukraine on June 27, 2001.

External links

uk:Шептицький Климентій Казимир

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