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The Uniate Martyrs of Pratulin
Pratulin martyrs in 1874
by Walery Eljasz Radzikowski
|Died||24 January 1874|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches|
|Beatified||October 6, 1996 by Pope John Paul II|
|Major shrine||St. Nikita Byzantine Catholic Church, Kostomłoty, Poland|
The Pratulin Martyrs were a group of 13 Greek Catholic believers killed by the Imperial Russian Army on January 24, 1874, in the village of Pratulin, near Biała Podlaska. Following the secularization and de-legalization of the Eparchy of Chełm, the Russian authorities forcibly subdued all Greek Catholics in Congress Poland and their churches to the Russian Orthodox Church.
In a protest against the Russification and confiscation of the church, the Greek Catholic community gathered in front of the church, but were fired upon by the Russian forces, killing 13 of the protesters. The Ruthenian Catholic Church has erected a shrine to their memory there.
The massacre in Pratulin was the best documented among many such events that took place in the region of South Podlasie, and thus, to represent the martyrs considered to have given their life for faith and Christian unity during those times, the Latin Rite diocese of Siedlce chose to present the case for the beatification of the victims in 1938. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 6, 1996. In 1998, some of their relics were transferred to the Byzantine-Slavonic Rite church in nearby Kostomłoty, where the Shrine of the Martyrs of Pratulin was established.