mercredi 25 mars 2015

Bienheureux ÉMILIEN (OMELJAN) KOVCH (KOVC), prêtre et martyr


Bienheureux Émilien Kovc, prêtre et martyr

Omeljan Kovc (1884-1944) prêtre ukrainien mourut martyr au camp de concentration de Majdanek, près de Lublin en Pologne, l’an 1944 pour avoir lutté pour la foi.


Bienheureux Émile KOVCH

Nom: KOVCH (KOVC)
Prénom: Emile (Omeljan)
Pays: Ukraine
Naissance: 20.08.1884  à Kosmach (près de Kosiv)
Mort: 25.03,1944  au camp de concentration de Majdanek
Etat: Prêtre marié (rite oriental)  -  Martyr

Note: Prêtre de l'Église gréco-catholique en 1911. Ministère en Galicie et en Bosnie auprès des immigrés ukrainiens. Curé près de Lviv. Défenseur des Juifs pendant l'invasion allemande. Meurt au camp de concentration de Majdanek.
Béatification: 27.06.2001  à Lviv  par Jean Paul II
Canonisation:
Fête: 25 mars

Réf. dans l’Osservatore Romano: 2001 n.27 p.9-10
Réf. dans la Documentation Catholique: 2001 n.15 p.747-749
Notice

Emilian (Émile) Kovch naît le 20 août 1884 à Kosmach près de Kosiv en Ukraine orientale. Son père est un prêtre gréco-catholique de rite oriental. (Dans ce rite il y a des prêtres mariés; le bienheureux Emilian le sera aussi.) Il étudie philosophie et théologie à Lviv, puis à Rome au collège ukrainien et à l'Université urbanienne. Ordonné en 1911, il exerce d'abord son ministère sacerdotal en Galicie  , puis en Bosnie (Yougoslavie) parmi les immigrés ukrainiens. En 1919, il devient aumônier de l'armée ukrainienne engagée contre les troupes bolcheviques. De 1921 à 1941, il est curé à Peremychlyony, village de 5'000 habitants des environs de Lviv. C'est un prêtre plein de zèle et son apostolat est dynamique. Sa maison connue comme "la maison où les anges volent sur le toit" offre toujours un abri aux enfants pauvres et orphelins, bien qu'il ait déjà lui-même six enfants. Au cours de la dure occupation allemande, il se prodigue pour combattre l'anti-sémitisme, car son village est peuplé en majorité de juifs. Il les aide et les baptise en masse sur leur demande pour mettre leur vie à l'abri de la persécution, mais l'occupant interdit cela. Il est arrêté en décembre 1942 et jeté en prison. De nombreuses personnalités, dont le métropolite André Cheptytsky, alors à la tête de l'Église gréco-catholique, font tout leur possible pour obtenir sa libération. Quant à lui, il ne faiblit pas comme en témoigne cet extrait de son interrogatoire par un officier de la Gestapo: "Est-ce que vous saviez qu'il était interdit de baptiser les Juifs?  -  Je n'en savais rien.  -  Et maintenant, vous le savez?  -  Oui  -  Est-ce que vous continuerez à les baptiser?  -  Bien sûr."

En août 1943, il est transféré dans un camp de concentration à Majdanek. Là il vit une expérience de communion dans la souffrance qui lui fait écrire: "Hormis le ciel, c'est l'unique endroit où je voudrais être. Ici nous sommes tous égaux: les Polonais, les Juifs, les Ukrainiens, les Russes, les Lettoniens et les Estoniens. Je suis le seul prêtre ici. Lorsque je célèbre la liturgie, ils prient tous. Chacun dans sa langue. Mais est-ce que Dieu ne comprend pas toutes les langues? Ici, je vois Dieu, Dieu est le même pour tous, en dépit des différences de religion qui nous séparent." Il écrit aussi: "Priez pour ceux qui ont construit ce camp et le système… Que le Seigneur prenne pitié d'eux." La veille de sa mort il écrit encore aux siens qui faisaient des démarches pour le libérer: "Je vous en prie, ne le faites pas. Hier ils ont tué 50 hommes. Si je n'étais pas là, qui les aiderait à supporter de telles souffrances? Que pourrais-je demander de plus au Seigneur? Ne vous inquiétez pas pour moi. Réjouissez-vous avec moi…" Il meurt brûlé dans les fours crématoires le 25 mars 1944. En 1999, il a été reconnu comme un "Ukrainien juste" par le Conseil des Juifs d'Ukraine.

(Pour le contexte historique, voir la notice des 25 martyrs d'Ukraine)  2



Bienheureux Émilien Kovc

prêtre ukrainien martyr ( 1944)

Omeljan Kovc (1884-1944) prêtre ukrainien martyr au camp de concentration de Majdanek béatifié le 27 juin 2001 par Jean-Paul II à Lviv - homélie en français - biographie en italien

Au camp de concentration de Majdanek, près de Lublin en Pologne, l’an 1944, le bienheureux Émilien Kove, prêtre de Lvov en Ukraine et martyr, qui y fut déporté au cours de la seconde guerre mondiale et y perdit la vie pour avoir lutté pour la foi.


Martyrologe romain


Bx Omeljan (Émilien) Kovč

Prêtre ukrainien et martyr
Omeljan Kovč naît le 20 août 1884 à Kosmach près de Kosiv en Ukraine orientale. Son père est un prêtre gréco-catholique de rite oriental. (Dans ce rite il y a des prêtres mariés; le bienheureux Émilien le sera aussi.)
Il étudie philosophie et théologie à Lviv, puis à Rome au collège ukrainien et à l’Université urbanienne. Ordonné en 1911, il exerce d’abord son ministère sacerdotal en Galicie, puis en Bosnie (Yougoslavie) parmi les immigrés ukrainiens.

En 1919, il devient aumônier de l’armée ukrainienne engagée contre les troupes bolcheviques. De 1921 à 1941, il est curé à Peremychlyony, village de 5000 habitants des environs de Lviv. C’est un prêtre plein de zèle et son apostolat est dynamique. Sa maison connue comme « la maison où les anges volent sur le toit » offre toujours un abri aux enfants pauvres et orphelins, bien qu’il ait déjà lui-même six enfants.
Au cours de la dure occupation allemande, il se prodigue pour combattre l’antisémitisme, car son village est peuplé en majorité de juifs. Il les aide et les baptise en masse sur leur demande pour mettre leur vie à l’abri de la persécution, mais l’occupant interdit cela. Il est arrêté en décembre 1942 et jeté en prison. De nombreuses personnalités, dont le métropolite André Cheptytsky, alors à la tête de l’Église gréco-catholique, font tout leur possible pour obtenir sa libération. Quant à lui, il ne faiblit pas comme en témoigne cet extrait de son interrogatoire par un officier de la Gestapo: « Est-ce que vous saviez qu’il était interdit de baptiser les Juifs? “Je n’en savais rien” - Et maintenant, vous le savez? “Oui” Est-ce que vous continuerez à les baptiser? “Bien sûr”».
En août 1943, il est transféré dans un camp de concentration à Majdanek. Là il vit une expérience de communion dans la souffrance qui lui fait écrire: « Hormis le ciel, c’est l’unique endroit où je voudrais être. Ici nous sommes tous égaux : les Polonais, les Juifs, les Ukrainiens, les Russes, les Lettoniens et les Estoniens. Je suis le seul prêtre ici. Lorsque je célèbre la liturgie, ils prient tous. Chacun dans sa langue. Mais est-ce que Dieu ne comprend pas toutes les langues? Ici, je vois Dieu, Dieu est le même pour tous, en dépit des différences de religion qui nous séparent. »
Il écrit aussi: « Priez pour ceux qui ont construit ce camp et le système… Que le Seigneur prenne pitié d’eux. » La veille de sa mort il écrit encore aux siens qui faisaient des démarches pour le libérer : « Je vous en prie, ne le faites pas. Hier ils ont tué 50 hommes. Si je n’étais pas là, qui les aiderait à supporter de telles souffrances? Que pourrais-je demander de plus au Seigneur? Ne vous inquiétez pas pour moi. Réjouissez-vous avec moi… ».
Il meurt brûlé dans les fours crématoires le 25 mars 1944. En 1999, il a été reconnu comme un « Ukrainien juste » par le Conseil des Juifs d’Ukraine.
Omeljan Kovč a été élevé à la gloire des autels le 27 juin 2001, à Lviv (Ukraine) par le Bx Jean Paul II (>>> Homélie en français).
Sources principales : abbaye-saint-benoit.ch/ ; vatican.va



Blessed Omeljan Kovc, 1884-1944 Greek Catholic Martyr & Righteous Among The Nations

“The Servant of God Fr Emilian Kovch was born on 20 August 1884, near Kosiv.

In 1911, after graduating from the College of Sts Sergius and Bacchus in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood.

In the spring of 1943, he was arrested by the Gestapo for aiding Jews.

On 25 March 1944 he was burned to death in the ovens of the Majdanek Nazi death camp.

On 9 September 1999 he was honored with the title “Righteous Ukrainian” by the Jewish Council of Ukraine.”


Here is a translation of John Paul II's homily at the Divine Liturgy with the beatification of 28 Eastern Catholics, at the Lviv Hippodrome.


1. "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13).

This solemn statement of Christ echoes among us today with particular eloquence, as we proclaim Blessed a group of sons and daughters of this glorious Church of Lviv of the Ukrainians. Most of them were killed in hatred of the Christian faith. Some underwent martyrdom in times close to us, and among those present at today's Divine Liturgy there are some who knew them personally. This land of Halytchyna, which in the course of history has witnessed the growth of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, has been covered, as the unforgettable Metropolitan Yosyf Slipyi used to say, "with mountains of corpses and rivers of blood".

Yours is a living and fruitful community which goes back to the preaching of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, to Saint Vladimir and Saint Olga. The example of the martyrs from different periods of history, but especially from the past century, testifies to the fact that martyrdom is the highest measure of service of God and of the Church. With this celebration we wish to pay homage to the martyrs and to thank the Lord for their fidelity.

2. With this evocative rite of beatification, it is likewise my desire to express the whole Church's gratitude to the People of God in Ukraine for Mykola Carneckyj and his 24 companion Martyrs, as well as for the Martyrs Teodor Romza and Omeljan Kovc, and for the Servant of God Josaphata Michaëlina Hordashevska. Just as the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies in order to give life to the new plant (cf. Jn 12:24), so too did the Blessed offer their lives so that the field of God would bear fruit in a new and more abundant harvest.

As we remember them, I greet all who are taking part in this concelebration: Cardinals Lubomyr Husar and Marian Jaworski, with the Bishops and priests of the Greek-Catholic and Latin Churches. As I greet the present Major Archbishop of Lviv of the Ukrainians, I recall his predecessors, the Servant of God Andrey Sheptytskyi, the heroic Cardinal Yosyf Slipyj, and the late lamented Cardinal Myroslav Lubachivskyj, who died only recently. As I recall these Pastors, my heart turns with affection to all the sons and daughters of the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine, including those in other cities and countries who are following this event by radio and television.

3. The Servants of God who are today inscribed in the Book of the Blessed represent all categories of the ecclesial community: among them are Bishops and priests, monks, nuns, and lay people. They were tested in many ways by the followers of the infamous Nazi and Communist ideologies. Aware of the sufferings which these faithful disciples of Christ were undergoing, my Predecessor Pius XII, sharing in their anguish, expressed his solidarity with those "who are persevering in faith and resisting the enemies of Christianity with the same unswerving fortitude with which their ancestors once resisted". He praised their courage in remaining "faithfully joined to the Roman Pontiff and their Pastors" (Apostolic Letter Orientales Ecclesias, 15 December 1952: AAS 45 [1953], 8).

Strengthened by God's grace they travelled the path of victory to the end. This is the path of forgiveness and reconciliation, the path that leads to the brilliant light of Easter, after the sacrifice of Calvary. These brothers and sisters of ours are the representatives that are known out of a multitude of anonymous heroes - men and women, husbands and wives, priests and consecrated men and women, young people and old - who in the course of the twentieth century, the "century of martyrdom", underwent persecution, violence and death rather than renounce their faith.

How can we fail to recall the far-sighted and solid pastoral activity of the Servant of God, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytskyi, whose cause of Beatification is proceeding and whom we hope to see one day in the glory of the Saints? We must refer to his heroic apostolic activity if we are to understand the humanly inexplicable fruitfulness of the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine during the dark years of persecution.

4. In my youth I myself was a witness of this kind of "apocalypse". "My priesthood, even at its beginning, was in some way marked by the great sacrifice of countless men and women of my generation" (Gift and Mystery, p. 39). Their memory must not be lost, for it is a blessing. We admire them and we are grateful to them: like an icon of the Gospel of the Beatitudes which they lived even to the shedding of blood, they are a sign of hope for our times and for the times to come. They have shown that love is stronger than death.

In their resistance to the mystery of evil, the strength of faith and of the grace of Christ was able to shine brightly, despite human weakness (cf. 2 Cor 12:9-10). Their unconquered witness has shown itself to be the seed of new Christians (cf. Tertullian, Apol., 50, 13: CCL 1, 171).

Together with them Christians of other confessions were also persecuted and killed on account of Christ. Their joint martyrdom is a pressing call for reconciliation and unity. This is the ecumenism of the martyrs and witnesses to faith, which indicates the path of unity to the Christians of the twenty-first century. May their sacrifice be a practical lesson of life for all. This is certainly not an easy task. During the last centuries too many stereotyped ways of thinking, too much mutual resentment and too much intolerance have accumulated. The only way to clear the path is to forget the past, ask forgiveness of one another and forgive one another for the wounds inflicted and received, and unreservedly trust the renewing action of the Holy Spirit.

These martyrs teach us to be faithful to the twofold commandment of love: love of God, love of our brothers and sisters.

5. Dear priests, religious, seminarians, catechists and students of theology! For you in particular I wish to emphasize the shining example of these heroic witnesses to the Gospel. Like them be faithful to Christ unto death. If God blesses your land with many vocations and if the seminaries are full - and this is a source of hope for your Church - that is surely one of the fruits of their sacrifice. But it is a great responsibility for you.

For this reason I wish to say to those in charge: give careful attention to the training of future priests and of those called to the consecrated life, in line with the principles of the Eastern monastic tradition. On the one hand the value of celibacy for the Kingdom of Heaven ought to be emphasized, on the other the importance of the Sacrament of Matrimony with its connected responsibilities ought to be made clear. The Christian family - as the Council reminds us - is like a "domestic church", in which parents must be the first proclaimers of the faith to their children (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11).

I encourage all the Church's sons and daughters to seek with constant commitment an ever more genuine and profound knowledge of Christ. May the clergy be always eager to give serious evangelical and ecclesial formation to the laity. May the spirit of sacrifice never fail among Christians. And may the courage of the Christian community in the defence of those hurt and persecuted never grow weak, as it pays great attention to discerning the signs of the times in order to respond to the social and spiritual challenges of the moment.

In this context I wish to assure you that I will follow with interest the development of the Third Session of the Synod of your Church, which will take place in 2002 and will be devoted to the Church's reading of the social problems of Ukraine. The Church cannot remain silent when the safeguarding of human dignity and the common good are at stake.

6. "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13). The martyrs declared Blessed today followed the Good Shepherd to the end. May their witness not be simply a boast for you: rather, may it become an invitation to imitate them. In Baptism, every Christian is called to holiness. Unlike the newly beatified martyrs, not all are called to undergo the supreme trial of shedding their blood. But everyone is entrusted with the task of following Christ with daily and faithful generosity, as did Blessed Josaphata Michaëlina Hordashevska, co-foundress of the Handmaids of Mary Immaculate. She lived her daily dedication to the Gospel in an extraordinary way, in the service of children, the sick, the poor, the illiterate and the marginalized, often in difficult situations marked by suffering.

May holiness be the desire of all of you, dear Brothers and Sisters of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. On this journey of holiness and renewal, may you be accompanied by Mary "who 'precedes' us all at the head of the long line of witnesses of faith in the one Lord" (Redemptoris Mater, 30).

The Saints and Beati, who gained the crown of justice in this land of Ukraine, and the Beati whom we celebrate in a particular way today, all intercede for you. May their example and protection help you to follow Christ and faithfully serve his Mystical Body, the Church. Through their intercession, may God pour upon your wounds the oil of mercy and consolation, that you may be able to look with confidence to what awaits you, knowing in your hearts that you are the children of a Father who loves you tenderly.

[Original text: Ukrainian; translation by Vatican]

Blessed Emilian Kovch


Also known as

  • Omeljan Kovc
  • Emilian Kowacz
Profile

Greek Catholic. Seminarian at Lviv, Ukraine and Rome, Italy; graduated from the College of Sergius and Bachus in Rome. Married, and father of six. Ordained in 1911. Worked throughout Galacia, and with Ukrainian immigrants to Yugoslavia. Chaplain to Ukrainian soldiers fighting the Bolsheviks in 1919. Parish priest in 1922 at Peremyshliany, Ukraine, a village of 5,000, most of whom were Jewish. An active priest, he organized pilgrimages and youth groups, and welcomed poor and orphaned children of all faiths into his home.

When the Nazis invaded Ukraine, they began rounding up Jews. To save them, Father Emilian began baptizing them, and listing them as Christians. The Nazis were wise to this trick, and had prohibited it. Emilian continued, but was arrested by the Gestapo in December 1942. Deported to the Majdanek concentration camp in August 1943. There he ministered to prisoners, hearing confessions, and celebrating Mass when possible. Martyred in the ovens.

Recognized on 9 September 1999 as a Righteous Ukrainian by the Jewish Council of Ukraine.

Born
  • if you have information relevant to the canonization of Blessed Emilian, contact
       Ukrain’ska Greko-Katolits’ka Tserkva
       pl. Sviatoho Yura 5
       L’viv 79000, UKRAINE


 Omeljan Kovč (1884-1944)

Il Servo di Dio Padre Omeljan Kovč, martire della persecuzione nazista, sacerdote della Eparchia di Stanislaviv, era sposato e padre di sei figli. Egli nacque il 20 agosto 1884 a Kosmach, Regione di Kosiv. Suo padre era sacerdote. Studiò filosofia e teologia a Roma nel Collegio Ucraino, frequentando l'Urbaniana. 

Dopo l'ordinazione sacerdotale (1911), esercitò il suo ministero prima in Galizia, e dopo – come volontario – in Bosnia fra gli emigrati ucraini. Nel 1919 divenne cappellano militare dell'esercito ucraino. Dal 1922 fino al 1941 fu parroco a Peremyschljany. Era un sacerdote pieno di zelo cristiano. Aiutava i poveri come poteva. Della sua dimora i parrocchiani dicevano: "Sopra questa casa  volano gli  angeli".  Durante l'occupazione  tedesca  faceva di tutto  per combattere l'antisemitismo. Aiutava gli ebrei come poteva, anche battezzandoli, se lo chiedevano. Per questo motivo fu arrestato ed incarcerato in una prigione di Lviv. 

Nell’agosto del 1943 fu trasferito al campo di concentramento a Majdanek. Dopo aver saputo che i suoi familiari facevano di tutto per scarcerarlo, scrisse loro: "Vi prego di non farlo. Ieri hanno ucciso 50 uomini. Se io non ci fossi qui, chi li aiuterebbe ha sopportare tali sofferenze". Dell'esperienza di comunione nelle sofferenze a Majdanek disse: "Tranne il cielo, è l'unico posto dove vorrei essere. Qui tutti siamo uguali: i polacchi, gli ebrei, gli ucraini, i russi, i lettoni e gli estoni. Qui vedo Dio, Dio che è lo stesso per tutti, nonostante le differenze di religione che ci sono tra di noi". 

Il Servo di Dio Omeljan Kovč morì il 25 marzo 1944. In una lettera ai suoi scrisse: “Pregate per quelli che hanno realizzato questo campo e questo sistema. Loro hanno bisogno soltanto di preghiera... Signore abbia pietà di loro”.