The arrest and imprisonment of Bishop Vasyl' Velychkovs'kyi, 1945-1955
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This thesis concerns Blessed Vasyl’ Velychkovs’kyi’s first arrest and imprisonment in the years 1945-1955. Based on the evidence in two volumes of SBU archival documents which were obtained in 2009 from the Kyiv SBU archives, it tells the story of his arrest, the investigation process, interrogation, trial and sentencing. The thesis provides the reader with a short introduction to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and its clergy in Galicia. It describes how the Soviet government, after it invaded Galicia in 1939, began to persecute the Catholic population, which was unwilling to switch to Russian Orthodoxy. A close examination of the SBU archival documents proves Velychkovs’kyi’s innocence and provides evidence of fabricated accusations, forced confessions, the use of physical and psychological abuse. These violations of criminal law and human rights were done in order to compel him to cooperate with the Soviet authorities. Velychkovs’kyi’s treatment is an example of what many prisoners who died for their faith suffered. In most cases their life stories will never be told.