Жезлъ твой и палица твоѧ, та мя оутѣшиста.
Thy crook and thy staff have comforted me. (Psalm 22/23)
As I near the end of a research project, my friend and colleague Gloria Romaniuk, Archivist of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, sent me a photo, for which I had been searching for a long time. It came from a collection belonging to the late Bishop Michael Hrynchyshyn, CSsR, longtime postulator of the cause of beatification of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. He received the photo from Dr. Pavlo Senytsia, alumnus of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Theological Academy in Lviv, and editor of a multi-volume collection of articles regarding that institution. The second and third volume of this work, entitled "Світильник Істини" (Beacon of Truth) contains a partial reconstruction of the story of this famous cane. I have used these and other sources in my work on Sheptytsky, which includes articles regarding his apprenticeship of two priests, each of which, at one time, he looked upon as his successor. Each one of them was to receive this cane as a symbolic gift, in dramatic and perilous circumstances of the First and later of the Second World War.
Botsian and Yaremko were deported to Siberia the following year. Yaremko did not survive his Siberian confinement, whereas Bostian’s health was ruined by it. Forced by illness to resign as rector in 1919, Botsian was never permitted to take possession of his eparchy. The Second Polish Republic, which had occupied Volyn and its capital Lutsk, imposed an invisible barrier (known as the Sokal Border) prohibiting Greek-Catholics from ministering east of the Lviv-Halych Metropolia. Shortly before Kyr Botsian's untimely death, Father Slipyi, who had been made rector in 1925, invited him to move to the Lviv Seminary, while quarters at the canons’ residence near Saint George’s Archcathedral were being prepared. On 21 November 1926, Slipyi administered the Sacrament of Holy Anointing to Botsian, whom he discovered lifeless, sitting in a chair in the seminary corridor. The following day, Slipyi preached a farewell sermon. The the funeral, which was the largest that Lviv had witnessed in many years. Writing to the Nuncio tweek weeks later, Slipyi commented: “We all regret the death of Bishop Botsian, because it is a great loss for our Church and a weakening of its situation.”