Sunday, May 25, 2008
Kazakhstan Unveils Monument to the Martyrs from the Ukraine
The Greek-Catholic Church of Kazakhstan has announced the unveiling of a new monument to the Ukraine Martyrs. These were the victims of Josef Stalin’s internal deportations and gulag. The gulag was a string of prisons. The prison system consisted of over 100 prison or concentration camps for political prisoners. There were more than 200,000 members of the clergy held prisoner. It is estimated that over 800,000 people were executed in the gulags.
The memorial honors all of the martyrs, known and unknown. However, it especially honors Blessed Oleksiy Zarytskyi, who died in a gulag hospital in Dolinka on October 30, 1963. Zarytskyi was one of 27 martyrs beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 27, 2001. Zarytskyi is remembered for the care given not only to fellow Ukrainians but also to Poles, Russians and Germans.
Kazakhstan is a nation of 8 million Muslims and 6 million Orthodox. However, there are also 500,000 Catholics, and it is the martyrs of this tiny minority that was currently being honored.