"I had to endure many difficult moments, which I would not wish even on my worst enemies. Nevertheless, I consider my prison days as a higher education in humility. In prison I learned a great many things, as how to be of service to others in their need. Prison in itself is not such a terrible place after all. What is frightening is the company one is forced to keep, being locked up in the same cell with all kinds of criminals, spies, insane, and some other strange characters." - Blessed Basil
Born among poor peasants, Basil Hopko's (1904-1976) parents had left him at an early age. His father had passed away just a year after his birth, and three years later his mother traveled to America to look for work. He was educated in Hungary, and graduated with the honors in 1923. He later trained at the Eparichial Seminary in Prjashev, Czechoslovakia. Basil dreamed of joining his mother in America and persuing his vocation there, but unfortunately, due to health problems, he was unable to travel. After finally deciding to stay his his native land and working there, he was immediately cured. He then realized it was a sign about his calling. Ordained a priest in February 1929, he became a parish priest in Prague where he helped the poor, unemployed, and students. Basil then later taught at the same seminary where he was trained. In the next several years he had gained the titles of Monsignor (1936), Doctor of Theology (1940), and Auxiliary bishop (1947).
He was later arrested by the communists, kept on starvation rations, and tortured for several weeks. Eventually Basil was given a trial, but was sentenced to 15 years for the "subversive activity" of staying loyal to Rome. He was then often moved from prison to prison, and continued to be abused. Physically and emotionally, his health failed, and was finally moved to a home for the aged in 1964. Although he was kept under guard there and was recovering from a severe depression, he ministered to a group of 120 religious nuns also imprisoned in the home. Unforunately his health never completely recovered, but he managed to persevere in his ministry.
He was beatified on the 14th of September, 2003, by Pope John Paul II at Bratislava, Slovak Republic.
O Christ, our Lord and Savior, in Your boundless love for the human race You assured us that "whatever we will ask You, You will do it for us". Encouraged by your living promise, we humbly ask You to glorify Your faithful servant, Bishop Basil Hopko, who by his trials and tribulations gave living testimony to his complete trust in You, hoping to receive from You "a great reward in Heaven". Inspired by his Trust in You, we humbly implore you to hear our prayer, and through the intercession of that Man of Hope, Bishop Basil, grant us (here make your request). For you, O Christ our God, are Help to the helpless and Hope to the hopeless, and we render glory to You with Your Eternal Father and All-Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever.