Bishop and Martyr (1904-1976)
+ Born into a peasant family in Slovakia, Basil (of Vasil’) was educated in Hungary and attended the Eparchal Seminary in Prjashev, Czechoslovakia. Ordained a priest in 1929, he became a parish priest in Prague and showed special solicitude for the unemployed and students.
+ Father Basil began teaching in the seminary in Prjashev and he received the Doctorate in Theology in 1940; he was appointed auxiliary bishop of that city in 1947.
+ Arrested in 1950 as part of the Communist government’s attempts to suppress the Church, he was subjected to starvation and torture and was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for the “subversive activity” of remaining loyal to Rome.
+ Transferred from prison to prison and continually abused, both his emotional and physical health failed and in 1964 he was transferred to a home for aged where he was kept under guard. While he managed to overcome severe depression and ministered to a group of nuns imprisoned with him, he never recovered his physical health.
+ In 1968, Bishop Basil he was restored to office but was soon removed by activists insisting on a Czech bishop.
+ Blessed Basil Hopko died in 1976 from injuries and illness caused by his years of imprisonment and was beatified in 2003.
For prayer and reflection
“The Cross is planted in the earth and would seem to extend its roots in human malice, but it reaches up, pointing as it were to the heavens, pointing to the goodness of God. By means of the Cross of Christ, the Evil One has been defeated, death is overcome, life is given to us, hope is restored, light is imparted. O Crux, ave spes unica!.”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of Blessed Basil Hopko
O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Basil with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.