Blessed Volodymyr Pryjma: Patron Saint of Ukrainian Catholic Laity (1906-1941)
(Текст українською мовою в бюлетені 1.08.21)
Volodymyr Pryjma, the son of Ivan and Hanna, was born in the village of Stradch, Yavoriv District, July 17th, 1906. Volodymyr’s family were active members of their community: his father—church cantor and secretary, and brothers—both ordained priests. After graduating from the School for Cantors of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptysky, Volodymyr became the cantor and choir director in his village church. He married Maria Stojko November 10th, 1931. With their 4 children, the family played a vibrant role in the life of the parish.
On June 26th, 1941, Volodymyr accompanied Fr. Mykola Konrad to home of a woman who was ill and asked to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. On their way home they were accosted by the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police responsible for prisons and labour camps) and taken into the Birok forest. There, the NKVD agents brutally tortured and murdered cantor and priest. After a week of desperate search, their broken bodies were found by villagers. Volodymyr Pryjma had been repeatedly stabbed in the chest with a bayonet.
In 2001, when Pope John Paul II came to Ukraine, he recognized Cantor Pryjma and Fr Konrad as Blessed Martyrs of Christ’s Church. The Synod of Bishops of UGCC in Winnepeg, September 2012, proclaimed Blessed Volodymyr Pryjma the patron of laity. The next year, June, 2013, Patriarch Sviatoslav made the official announcement confirming Pryjma as patron of Ukrainian Catholics.