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Aleteia
And today we celebrate...

Sunday, March 25
Blessed Emilian Kovch

Aided over 600 Jews in hiding from Nazis.

EMILIAN KOVCH
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Priest and Martyr (1884-1944)

His life

+ Emilian was born near Kosiv, Ukraine. After completing his studies in Rome, he married and became the father of six children.

+ Ordained a priest for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in 1911, he served Ukrainian immigrants in Yugoslavia and as a chaplain for Ukrainian soldiers fighting against the Bolsheviks before becoming a parish priest in 1922.

+ The village of Peremyshliany, Ukraine, where Father Emilian served, was a predominantly Jewish community. He was known for his kindness and hospitality for anyone who came to him seeking aid.

+ When the Nazis invaded Ukraine and began to deport and execute Jews, Father Emilian tried to save as many as possible by forging baptismal certificates. The Nazis saw through his efforts and he was arrested in December 1942. Deported to the Majdanek concentration camp, he served among the prisoners, hearing confessions, and even celebrating Mass, before being executed in the gas chamber on March 25, 1944.

+ Honored as a martyr, he was beatified in 2001 with other Martyrs of Ukraine.

+ In 1999, the Jewish Council of Ukraine recognized him as a Righteous Ukrainian.

Spiritual bonus

March 25 is traditionally celebrated as the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, honoring the angel Gabriel’s visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Nazareth and the Mystery of the Incarnation. Because March 25 falls within Holy Week this year, the solemnity is transferred to April 9, the first of the Easter Season after the Octave of Easter.

Quote

Let your prime commitment be to love everyone and to be available to everyone, never flagging in your faithfulness to Christ and the Church.” –Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of the Martyrs of Ukraine

Prayer

Almighty ever-living God,
who as an example of humility for the human race to follow
caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross,
graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering
and so merit a share in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Collect for Palm Sunday)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

Access our archives of daily saint biographies here
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