Beato Ivan Ziatyk (1899-1952)

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Ivan Ziatyk nasce il 26 dicembre 1899 nel villaggio di Odrekhova, ad una ventina di chilometri a sud-est della città di Sanok (ora territorio polacco). I suoi genitori, Stefan e Maria, sono dei poveri contadini. A 14 anni, Ivan perde il padre. A pensare all’educazione del bambino sono ormai la mamma ed il fratello maggiore,Mykhailo, che assume il ruolo di padre.

Ivan è un bambino molto tranquillo e docile. Già dalle elementari dimostra di essere un alunno dotato. Si nota anche la profonda pietà del ragazzo. Completa i suoi studi medi-superiori al ginnasio di Sanok dove studia dal 1911 al 1919. Si possono notare i suoi ottimi risultati accademici ed il suo comportamento esemplare. Nel 1919 Ivan Wiatyk entra nel Seminario cattolico ucraino di Przemysl e il 30 giugno 1923 si laurea con distinzione. Lo stesso anno, completati gli studi teologici, viene ordinato sacerdote.

Dal 1925 al 1935 P. Ziatyk lavora come prefetto del Seminario cattolico ucraino a Przhemysl. Alla direzione spirituale dei seminari aggiunge il suo contributo alla loro formazione intellettuale: insegna catechesi e teologia dogmatica nello stesso Seminario. Inoltre svolge il compito di direttore spirituale e di insegnante di catechesi al Ginnasio femminile ucraino di Przemysl.

Il P. Ivan Ziatyk è persona molto gentile, ubbidiente, profondamente spirituale. Chi lo incontra rimane colpito dalla sua persona. Per lungo tempo P. Ziatyk nutre il desiderio di entrare in monastero. Anche se i suoi superiori ecclesiastici non gradiscono questa sua intenzione, il 15 luglio 1935 P. Ivan Ziatyk prende la sua decisione finale e entra nella Congregazione Redentorista.

Completato il suo noviziato ad Holosko (vicino a Lviv) nel 1936, P. Ziatyk viene mandato al monastero di Nostra Signora del Perpetuo Soccorso a Stanislaviv (ora Ivano-Frankivsk). Tuttavia, non vi rimane a lungo: nell’autunno 1937 Padre Ziatyk si trasferisce a Lviv, nel monastero di via Zyblykevycha (ora Ivana Franka), nn. 56-58. Vi assume l’incarico di economo del monastero. Vi sostituisce il superiore, Padre De Vocht, che deve assentarsi. Nel 1934 i Redentoristi avevano aperto il loro Seminario ad Holosko, e Padre Ziatyk vi diventa professore di Sacra Scrittura e di Teologia Dogmatica. Dal 1941 al 1944 è superiore del monastero della Dormizione della Madre di Dio a Ternopil, e dal 1944 al 1946 superiore del monastero di Nostra Signora del Perpetuo Soccorso a Zboiska (nei pressi di Lviv), che ospita il ginnasio redentorista (Juniorato).

La fine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale segna l’inizio di un periodo terribile per la storia dell’Ucraina, per la Chiesa greco-cattolica e per la Provincia Redentorista di Lviv. Vengono arrestati tutti i vescovi greco-cattolici, e nella primavera del 1946 la polizia segreta sovietica raduna i Redentoristi di Termopil, Stanislaviv, Lviv e Zboiska ad Holosko, confinandoli in un’ala non riscaldata del monastero. Anche Padre Ziatyk è fra questi. I Redentoristi vi rimangono per due anni sotto costante sorveglianza della polizia segreta. La loro presenza viene verificata da tre a quattro volte la settimana. I confratelli subiscono spesso interrogatori durante i quali, naturalmente, vengono loro offerti vari benefici in cambio della loro rinuncia alla fede e alla vocazione monastica. Il 17 ottobre 1948 tutti i Redentoristi di Holosko vengono fatti salire su dei camion che li trasportano al monastero Studite di Univ. Quasi subito il Provinciale Redentorista, Padre Joseph De Vocht viene deportato in Belgio. Prima della sua partenza trasferisce il suo incarico di Provinciale della Provincia di Lviv e di Vicario Generale della Chiesa greco-cattolica ucraina a Padre Ivan Ziatyk, attirando così su quest’ultimo tutte le attenzioni della polizia. Il 5 gennaio 1950 decidono di arrestarlo e il 20 gennaio l’ordine viene eseguito. Dopo numerosi interrogatori, il 4 febbraio 1950 Padre Ivan viene accusato: “Ivan Ziatyk è invero stato un membro dell’ordine dei Redentoristi fin dal 1936; egli promuove le idee del Papa Romano e si dedica alla diffusione della Fede cattolica nelle nazioni di tutto il mondo ed a fare diventare tutti cattolici” “.

Le indagini sul caso Ziatyk dureranno ben due anni e P. Ziatyk vive l’intero periodo fra le mura delle prigioni di Lviv e Zolochiv. Nel solo periodo che va dal 4 luglio 1950 al 16 agosto 1951 viene interrogato ben 38 volte; in tutti gli interrogatori saranno 72. Malgrado le crudeli torture che accompagnano ogni seduta, Padre Ziatyk non tradisce la sua fede non si sottomette al regime ateo, anche se i suoi stretti familiari cercano di persuaderlo in tal senso.

Il verdetto viene annunciato a Kiev il 21 novembre 1951. Viene condannato a 10 anni di prigione per aver “cooperato con l’organizzazione nazionalista antisovietica e con la propaganda antisovietica”. Verrà detenuto nel campo di prigonia lager di Ozernyl, vicino alla città di Bratsk, nella regione Irkutsk.

Durante la sua prigionia, Padre Ziatyk subisce delle torture terribili. Secondo alcuni testimoni, il Venerdì Santo del 1952, Padre Ivan Ziatyk viene percosso violentemente, immerso nell’acqua e lasciato, privo di sensi, all’aperto nel freddo ghiacciale siberiano. Le percosse ed il freddo lo condurranno alla morte in un ospedale della prigione tre giorni dopo, il 17 maggio 1952. Padre Ziatyk viene seppellito nel distretto Taishet della regione Irkutsk. Il Grande Architetto depone così un’altra preziosa tegola nel grande mosaico del martirio.

Prendendo atto delle deposizioni a testimonianza della vita virtuosa di Padre Ivan Ziatyk, e soprattutto della sua tenacia, del suo coraggio e della sua fedeltà alla Chiesa di Cristo durante il periodo di persecuzione, viene dato inizio al processo di beatificazione in occasione dell’Anno Giubilare. Il 2 marzo 2001 il processo è completato a livello dell’eparchia ed il caso viene trasmesso alla Sede Apostolica. Il 6 aprile 2001 il comitato teologico riconosce il fatto del martirio di Padre Ziatyk ed il 23 aprile il suo martirio viene verificato dall’Assemblea dei Cardinali. Infine, il 24 aprile 2001 il Santo Padre Giovanni Paolo II firma il decreto di beatificazione di Padre Ivan Ziatyk, martire beato della fede cristiana.

 

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