The first Ukrainian Salesian of the Byzantine-Ukrainian rite might be recognized as a saint.

The Synod of the Ukrainian Byzantine-Catholic Church, meeting at Lviv earlier this month, agreed to a request from the Salesians to introduce the process for the beatification and canonization of Bishop Stepan Czmil.

Stepan Czmil was born in Ukraine in 1914, but left his country because of the religious persecution and political climate in 1932. Four years later, he made his first profession as a Salesian and he was ordained a priest in 1945. His priestly ministry brought him to missionary work in Argentina and to Rome where he served as rector of a minor seminary for Ukrainian boys.

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He died in 1978. Some 20 years after his death, Pope John Paul II confirmed that Father Czmil had been secretly ordained a bishop with two other priests by Cardinal Josef Slipij in 1977.

Cardinal Lubomir Husar, major archbishop of Kiev and president of the Synod of the Ukrainian Byzantine-Catholic Church, who knew Father Czmil personally, testified: "Father Stepan was so holy that his holiness did not appear, it was indeed deep within him and it flowed from him, throwing its light on those who came in contact with him. […] To speak of the reputation for holiness of Father Stepan is more than right and proper because he really was a saint."