Dedicated to the 100 million victims of communism worldwide.
Home  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us
National Exhibit
National Exhibit
Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky

Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky (29.7.1865 – 1.11.1944) was born into an aristocratic family who chose to be a priest in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Having achieved his doctorate in law in 1894 Sheptytsky went through the ranks and soon was enthroned as metropolitan of Halych. But Sheptytsky was not only a dedicated and talented religious leader, he was also concerned with the quality of life of his flock. He therefore very generously supported civic, educational and arts institutions. Sheptytsky founded in 1905 a church museum, which ultimately became the Ukrainian National Museum with an outstanding collection of various works of art, church artifacts, folk art, books and documents. He also supported other projects, such as the Novakivsky Art School, Ridna Shkola and Prosvita.

As a religious leader, Sheptytsky dedicated a lot of time to bring people of other religions closer together, but what was most important to him was to find a way for the Orthodox and the Catholics to reach an understanding with the hope of establishing a union. For his proselytizing in Russia Metropolitan Sheptytsky was imprisoned by the tsarist police in 1914 and exiled to Russia where he remained under arrest until 1917. Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s Sheptytsky dedicated his efforts to building a healthy Ukrainian society within the Polish Republic trying to mitigate the numerous conflicts between the rulers and the ruled.

Then came World War II, which brought more tragic dimensions into human relations. Freed from communist tyranny by the Germans Sheptytsky, as many other people, hoped for a better future for the Ukrainian people. But soon, Sheptytsky, as everybody else, learned that communist tyranny was replaced by Nazi tyranny. As a spiritual leader, he not only stood in defense of his flock, but he stood particularly in defense of the Jewish people, who were murdered en masse by the Nazis. Condemning various forms of murder, assassination and the policy of extermination, Sheptytsky issued a pastoral letter “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, which was read in all the churches. More than that, he took personal steps to save Jews in various church institutions. Metropolitan Sheptytsky was, indeed, as stated by Rabbi Kahane “one of the greatest humanitarians in the history of mankind [and] certainly the best friend the Jews ever had”. That is why, for many Ukrainians, Sheptytsky has remained a symbol of Ukrainian spirituality and dedication to national and universal ideals.

Click for sources of the victims of communism

Location:  Eastern Europe
Capital:  Kyiv
Communist Rule:  1922-1991
Status:  Independence: 24.08.91
Victims of Communism: