2012-01-29 • PERSON

Servant of God, Father Petro Oros (July 14th, 1917 – August 28th, 1953)

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2012-01-29 • PERSON

Servant of God, Father Petro Oros (July 14th, 1917 – August 28th, 1953)

The Servant of God Petro Oros was born on July 14, 1917 in the village Biri (Hungary) in the family of a Greek Catholic priest.  In 1919, his family moved to Transcarpathia.  In 1937, he entered Uzhgorod priestly seminary and on June 28, 1942 he was ordained a priest.  His pastoral activity started in the village Velyki Komyaty of the Vinogradovo district as an assistant to a parish priest. On December 19, 1944 Vladyka Theodore Romzha (and testified by Father Stephan Bendas) secretly consecrated him a bishop.  In 1946 he was assigned to the parish in Bilky of the Irshava district.
 
In 1948, local authorities resorted to different methods of influence in order to persuade Father Petro to convert to Russian Orthodoxy.  For him, as for the rest of the clergy that didn’t give up their faith, it was forbidden to carry out pastoral work.  But he remained always faithful to his vocation, continuing in the underground with his altar brothers Father Ivan Margitych, Father Ivan Roman and Father Ivan Chengeri.  They secretly served the Greek Catholic faithful in Irshava and Vinogradovo districts.
 
Priestly insubordination irritated high-ranking government officials.  At the beginning of 1953, he was arrested and sent to the Investigation Isolation Ward of the KGB in Uzhgorod where he remained under arrest for over two weeks.  In the summer of 1953 near the bridge in Imstychevo the militia attempted to arrest Father Peter, but he was lucky to escape. In constant danger, without rest, sleep and safe shelter, Father Petro was approaching the tragic day of his martyr-death.
 
On August 27, 1953 in the village Velyki Komyaty, on the eve of the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, he celebrated solemn Holy Liturgy, heard confessions and distributed Holy Communion.  The next day he went on foot to the train station in Siljce.  Father Petro was arrested there by the militia.  They took him in the direction of the village Zaricchya.  Near the road Crucifix two shots were fired – Father Petro was killed.  His body was taken to the morgue of the Irshava hospital and after few days he was secretly buried near the village of Kamyansjke of the Irshava district.  Later, his remains were exhumed by the militia and KGB and taken in to Irshava.
 
The place of the burial of Father Petro Oros was kept a secret for 39 years.  Only after the legalization of the Greek Catholic Church eyewitnesses told, under oath, the true story of those tragic days.  On July 28, 1992 the former director of the holding cell of the Irshava District Militia Department agreed to witness and show the militia garage where Father Petro’s body was buried.  After the body was exhumed, an examination took place and on August 23, 1992 Father Petro's body was returned to a grave and buried with all the honor that befits his holy order. (The Hierarchical funeral took place on the next day.  His relics were placed in the chapel near the church in the village of Bilky).
 
The Martyrdom of Father Petro Oros was a crown for his life full of virtues and holiness.  It was a reward for the devoted pastoral care of his flock.  The Faithful deeply respected and loved their spiritual father with their whole heart.  In difficult times of persecutions, he strengthened them, comforted them and cared for them as a good shepherd would.  By his life, he confirmed the words of Our Savior:  “The Good Shepherd sacrifices his life for his sheep.”