June 28, 2018


Since the relics of the Blessed Hieromartyr Vasyl Velychkovsky were transferred from All Saints Cemetery north of Winnipeg to the special shrine erected adjacent to St. Joseph Church in Winnipeg, pilgrims have been making their way to pray, venerate and request various graces through the intercession of the extraordinary martyr of the 20th Century. People visit throughout any given week, but the Shrine holds a special prayer evening every Wednesday that includes the Rosary, a Moleben' prayer service and an anointing with a unique oil blessed by the relics of the saintly underground bishop. Every year, however, the Shrine organizes a major all-day pilgrimage on June 27 - the feast-day designated by Pope St John Paul in 2001 when he declared Vasyl Veleychkovsky "Blessed" together with some 26 other martyrs from the Soviet era during his visit to the city of Lviv, Ukraine.

Blessed Vasyl (Basil) was clandestinely consecrated Bishop in a Moscow hotel by the then Metropolitan Joseph Slipyj who was about to be exiled to the West. Bishop Vasyl was to ensure the continuing life of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the Soviet Union. He suffered many arrests, tortures, trials, exiles and years in prisons - including months on death row - and in camps and hard labour. When he was almost near death, the Soviets exiled him in 1972 to die in the West, which he did, the following year in Winnipeg in 1973. His body was buried at All Saints Cemetery where it lay until his Beatification in 2001.

At the 2018 Feast, the day included a number of prayer services, Eucharistic Liturgies and presentations. In the evening, the Archbishop of Winnipeg, His Grace Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, together with a number of Redemptorist and other clergy, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St. Joseph Church. The director of the Shrine, Fr. John Sianchuk, C.Ss.R., preached the homily in which he shared a great deal of history of the life and times of Blessed Vasyl' and the Belgian priest Fr. Achille Delaere, C.Ss.R., who was the inspiration for the founding of the Ukrainian Redemptorists in Ukraine and Canada.

Following the Divine Liturgy, a procession was organized to the old Ukrainian Catholic Bishop's Palace and Chancery near the Red River, where Blessed Vasyl' lived for a period of time with Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk, who, as a brother Redemptorist, had taken him in. During the procession the Rosary - a prayer dear to Blessed Vasyl' as to all Redemptorists - was prayed along the way and hymns were sung. Banners were carried and the Relics of the holy Bishop and Martyr were solemnly carried. When the whole procession returned to the Shrine, people had the opportunity to pray in the special chapel, receive an anointing and offer their prayer to the Lord for many heartfelt requests to be obtained through the intercession of Hieromartyr Vasyl' who so intensely loved the Lord and His People throughout his live.

Visit the Shrine in Winnipeg for a truly tranquil, yet inspirational experience.


Canada's Second Martyr's Shrine

View More News

Unite Interactive