December 1 – First Sunday of Advent
Blessed Ivan Sleziuk
Feast Day: December 2
Born in the Ukraine in 1896, Ivan studied for the priesthood as a young man with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. He was ordained a priest in 1925. After twenty years of faithful ministry, Ivan was consecrated a coadjutor bishop in 1945, meaning he shared episcopal responsibility with the bishop who consecrated him. This was done as a precaution since the Soviet government was threatening to arrest Church leadership. Ivan himself was arrested soon after and was sent to a labor camp in Russia for 10 years. He was released in 1954. Once again, Ivan was arrested by Soviet officials and sentenced to a hard labor camp in 1962. He was released again in 1967 but spent the rest of his life as a bishop being constantly harassed by communist authorities and interrogated often by the KGB. He died of his injuries in 1975.