Warsaw, October 31, 2019
The Bishops’ Council of the Polish Church, involving every hierarch of the Church, gathered in Warsaw on Tuesday, October 29, under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland, to discuss a number of issues, including the veneration of a group of 30 martyrs.
The communiqué from the session states: “For greater clarity for the faithful regarding the veneration of the wagoner martyrs of the Podlasie land, it was decided to include their names among the Martyrs of Chełm and Podlasie. Their commemoration is set for the day of the Zaleszańska Icon of the Mother of God, i.e., the last Saturday of July.”
The 30 martyrs are: Bilewski Wasyl; Bondaruk Aleksander; Bondaruk Michał; Chwaszczewski Łukasz; Dmitruk Aleksander; Dmitruk Grzegorz; Golonko Aleksy; Grygoruk Wasyl; Grygoruk Grzegorz; Jakimiuk Jan; Jakimiuk Teodor; Jakuć Michał; Juszczuk Jan; Juziuczuk Aleksander; Kendyś Piotr; Kot Włodzimierz; Laszkiewicz Michał; Ławrynowicz Grzegorz; Ławrynowicz Jan; Łukaszuk Teodor; Maksymiuk Aleksander; Nazaruk Nikifor; Niczyporuk Michał; Pietruczuk Grzegorz; Sawczuk Wasyl; Siemieniuk Teodor; Szadejko Mikołaj; Szewczuk Włodzimierz; Tadeuszuk Nikifor; Tarasiuk Jan.
The Orthodox peasants suffered for Christ on January 31, 1946 in the forest near the village of Puchały Stare in northeastern Poland at the hands of an emergency operation of the National Military Union under the command of Romuald Rajs.
Under Rajs’ command, the unit reached the village of Łozice on January 27, where a number of peasants with the best horses and carts were detained, to act as a transport unit. On January 31, the unit reached Puchały Stare, where it shot 30 detained wagoners, though several were released, having declared their Polish origin. The newly-glorified martyrs were of Belarussian origin.
Among the Martyrs of Chełm and Podlasie is St. Basil Martysz, who served for more than a decade in several locations throughout America and Canada.