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Fr. Valerii Kudriavtsev's Biography

I was born in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, on October 10, 1959, on the feast day of St. Francis Borgia* according to the Latin Rite calendar. At that time Ukraine was an independent republic as a part of the Soviet Union. My father was a Russian and my my mother was a Ukrainian.

Also I would like to emphasize that Ukraine has a rich Catholic history and background.

St. Andrew the Apostle was the first Apostle who reached the place where Kyiv (Kiev) the capital of Kyivan Rus (now Ukraine) was founded.

According to the official history, St. Vladimir the Great (958-1015), the King of Kyivan Rus from 980 to 1015 was baptized in Crimea in 988 by a Greek Catholic priest, and accepted the Catholic Faith, and then, in 988 he baptized people of Kyivan Rus as Catholics 66 years prior the Greek Schism happened in 1054. He died Catholic in 1015.

During his Christian reign, Vladimir lived the teachings of the Bible through acts of charity. He would hand out food and drink to the less fortunate, and made an effort to go out to the people who could not reach him. His work was based on the impulse to help one's neighbors by sharing the burden of carrying their cross. He founded numerous churches, including the Desyatinnaya Tserkov (Church, or Cathedral, of the Tithes) (989), established schools, protected the poor and introduced ecclesiastical courts. He lived mostly at peace with his neighbours, the incursions of the Pechenegs alone disturbing his tranquillity.

Also a story of St. Hyacinth is a very powerful proof that even after the Greek Schism, the Church of Kyivan Rus in XIII century was still Catholic in union with the Roman Catholic Church.

Here is an excerpt from LIVES OF THE SAINTS:

August 16. - ST. HYACINTH. Hyacinth, the glorious apostle of Poland and Russia, was, born of noble parents in Poland, about the year 1185. In 1218, being already Canon of Cracow, he accompanied his uncle, the bishop of that place, to Rome. There he met St. Dominic, and received the habit of the Friar Preachers from the patriarch himself, of whom he became a living copy. So wonderful was his progress in virtue that within a year Dominic sent him to preach and plant the Order in Poland, where he founded two houses. His apostolic journeys extended over numerous regions. Austria, Bohemia, Livonia, the shores of the Black Sea, Tartary, and Northern China on the east, and Sweden and Norway to the west, were evangelized by him, and he is said to have visited Scotland. Everywhere multitudes were converted, churches and convents were built; one hundred and twenty thousand pagans and infidels were baptized by his hands. He worked numerous miracles, and at Cracow raised a dead youth to life. He had inherited from St. Dominic a most filial confidence in the Mother of God; to her he ascribed his success, and to her aid he looked for his salvation. When St. Hyacinth was at Kiev the Tartars sacked the town, but it was only as he finished Mass that the Saint heard of the danger. Without waiting to unvest, he took the ciborium in his hands, and was leaving the church. As he passed by an image of Mary a voice said: "Hyacinth, my son, why dost thou leave me behind? Take me with thee, and leave me not to mine enemies." The statue was of heavy alabaster, but when Hyacinth took it in his arms it was light as a reed. With the Blessed Sacrament and the image he came to the river Dnieper, and walked dry-shod over the surface of the waters. On the eve of the Assumption he was warned of his coming death. In spite of a wasting fever, he celebrated Mass on the feast, and communicated as a dying man. He was anointed at the foot of the altar, and died the same day, 1257.
(LIVES OF THE SAINTS, With Reflections for Every Day in the Year, COMPILED FROM THE "LIVES OF THE SAINTS" by Rev. ALBAN BUTLER, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, BENZIGER BROTHERS, PRINTERS TO THE APOSTOLIC SEE, 1913, Imprimatur. +Michael Augustine, Archbishop of New York, New York, January 21, 1887, pp. 282-283)

Next, I will focus on the spiritual part of my biography.

A few weeks after my birthday I was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church.

1989 - 1991 I studied at a ORC parish seminary.

February 15, 1991 I was ordained by Archbishop Melkhisedek (deceased).

Near June 1991, I found a Catholic prayer book in Latin or Polish in the parish sacristy. I asked another priest why this book was there, and he replied that someone was using it to pray. From that moment I began to study the history and the Faith of the Catholic Church.

We discussed the Catholic Faith with others clergy of the parish. I should say in fairness that they had quite respectful attitude towards Catholic Church, and they said never that Catholic Church is not true or a bad church. Furthermore a parish priest told me that Stalin, in 1946, seized all the churches belonged to Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine and gave them to Russian Orthodox Church.

Very soon I came to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is the true church and I should join it.

In May or June1992 I left Russian Orthodox Church, and on August 1, 1992 I was ordained conditionally by Bishop Julian Voronovsky** (deceased), in that time the rector of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Holy Ghost Seminary in Lviv. 1992-1995 I studied at that seminary and worked as a missionary priest at my city Luhansk.

In 1996 I found some booklets printed by Transalpine Redemptorists.

In 1998 I gave them a call and they came to me in Luhansk. In the same year I left UGCC and joined the Transalpine Redemptorists as an associative priest. I grateful them since they explained me the crisis in the Catholic Church and teached me Traditional Catholic Doctrine. During 1998-2002 I visited their Monastery at Papa Stronsey, Scotland many times to study the Catholic Faith, and worked as a Byzantine Slavonic Rite priest in Luhansk. Only thing that disturbed me a lot that I should recognize John Paul II as a Pope, while I clearly understood that he cannot be a Pope because of heresies he imposed on the Church. I left Transalpine Redemptorists in 2002, and till 2006 I said Divine Liturgy privately at my small home chapel for a small group of Russian speaking people, who identified themselves as Catholics of the Russian Rite.

In the end of 2004 I purchased my first computer and started to learn about Sede Vacante groups.

On November 14, 2006 the feast day of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr I wrote to Bishop Daniel Dolan. His Excellency received me as his priest.

When I accepted Sede Vacante, all my parishioners (except my wife) left me.

Once in 2007 I gave a visit Fr. Alexander Kryssov (then Deacon) in Moscow.

In 2011 I visited a former UGCC priest in Western Ukraine whom I knew from the Holy Ghost Seminary. He also accepted Sede Vacante and worked as a Byzantine Slavonic Rite priest for a small group of the faithful. From that time I hear nothing about them. Only I know that the priest did stay in contact with Bishop Mark Pivarunas.

In 2008 and 2011 I assisted Bishop Donald Sanborn as an interpreter when he came to Moscow to take interview of candidates for Most Holy Trinity Seminary.

In 2009 I came to Most Holy Trinity Seminary to study for three years. But the Florida tropical climate was unbearable for me and very soon I got a skin fungus. No medications were helpful. Because of the fungus I was not able to concentrate on the studies. I asked Bishop Sanborn if is it possible to study at another seminary in a north part of the US, but he replied that it is impossible. Also it was a problem for me to aware that the Seminary Faculty recognizes Vatican II non-popes as "material popes", although in that time they did not impose their belief on the seminarians.

I came back to Ukraine.

Some my former parishioners and other people came to me sometimes to speak, but they refused to accept Sede Vacante.

When in 2013-2014 a "Euromiaidan revolution" happened in Ukraine, Russia invaded my city Luhansk. Bishop Dolan gave me permission to study Latin Rite Mass in Poland, and I did it in July-September and November - December of 2014. But unfortunately, some (not all) of Fr. Trytek's faithful, who posed themselves as Polish nationalists in the first place, accused me of murder of Polish people by Ukrainian nationalists in 1943 (I was born in 1959). They gave me an ultimatum to became a Polish nationalist. I refused, and they insulted me a lot. I informed Bishop Dolan about that situation and he said that I should go back to Ukraine. However one faithful from Poland (a very fair-minded person) is still friend of mine and he translates my articles into Polish.

Since 2016 till the end of 2018 I visited some groups of Traditionally minded people in the US, Italy and Netherlands. Perhaps 50 % of the American group accepted Sede Vacante, but Italian and Dutch refused, since they adhered to the Siri Thesis. I still stay in touch via emails with some those people from US and Netherlands.

When the "pandemic" started I have been not able to travel. I only continued to say Divine Liturgy privately (only my wife attended). Also I continued my Internet apostolate catholicmessage.org which I begun in 2011 by permission of my Bishop.

When the second war started on February 24, 2022, and Russian army occupied my another town were I lived since 2017, Bishop Dolan told me that I and my wife should relocate to Ireland, and I did obey.

Now my wife and I are on the Emerald Island in a holy place where Our Lady appeared accompanied by Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist. Behind them and a little to the left of Saint John was a plain altar. On the altar was a cross and a lamb, surrounded by the angels.

The Church teaches that married priests of Eastern rites who converted into Catholicism are accepted in the status of married priests. They are not required to leave their wives or be separated from them. Such priests are recognized as fully Catholic priests. In his bull "Etsi pastoralis" in 1742 for the Italo-Greeks, Pope Benedict XIV declared that they were to keep to their own rites, recognized the ordination of the married, and ordered that no precedence was to be based on rite. In 1775 the same Pope declared in the encyclical letter "Allatae sunt": "We desire most intensely that all people should be Catholics but not all Latins”.

If you ask me where do I say Holy Mass, and how many faithful attend, I can say that for a few days I will start say Divine Liturgy privately after more than a month of interruption, caused by war. As for the second part of your question I only can say that there is a group of very good faithful who love Catholic Faith very much.

Fr. Valerii Kudriavtsev

* Saint Francis Borgia (28 October 1510 - 30 September 1572) was a great-grandson of Pope Alexander VI, a Grandee of Spain, a father of eights, a Spanish Jesuit, and third Superior General of the Society of Jesus. He was canonized on 20 June 1670 by Pope Clement X.

** Bishop Julian Voronovsky
Episcopal Lineage / Apostolic Succession:

Bishop Volodymyr Sterniuk, C.SS.R. † (1964)
Bishop Emeritus of Przemyśl, Sambor, et Sanok (Ukrainian)

Bishop Bl. Vasyl Vsevolod Velychkovsky, C.SS.R. † (1963)
Auxiliary Bishop of Lviv (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Josyf Slipyj † (1939)
Archbishop of Lviv (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Andrij Aleksander Sheptyskyi, O.S.B.M. † (1899)
Archbishop of Lviv (Ukrainian-Pole)
The Sheptytsky family descends from the Ruthenian nobility, but in the 18th century had become Polish-speaking and Roman Catholic. The maternal Fredro family descends from the Polish nobility. Among his ancestors, there were many important church figures, including two metropolitans of Kyiv, Atanasy and Lev. His maternal grandfather was the Polish writer Aleksander Fredro. One of his brothers, Klymentiy Sheptytsky, M.S.U., became a Studite monk, and another, Stanisław Szeptycki, became a General in the Polish Army.

Archbishop Julian Kuiłovskyi † (1890)
Archbishop of Lviv (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Sylwester Sembratowicz (Sembratovyc) † (1879)
Archbishop of Lviv (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Josyf Sembratowicz (Sembratovyc) † (1865)
Archbishop of Lviv (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Spyrydon Lytvynovyč (Litwinowicz) † (1857)
Archbishop of Lviv (Ukrainian)

Bishop Ioan Lemeni † (1833)
Bishop Emeritus of Făgăraş (Romanian)

Bishop Samuel Vulcan † (1807)
Bishop of Oradea Mare {Gran Varadino} (Romanian)

Bishop Ioan (Janos) Bob (Babb) † (1784)
Bishop of Făgăraş (Romanian)

Bishop Grigore Maior, O.S.B.M. † (1773)
Bishop Emeritus of Făgăraş (Romanian)

Bishop Vasilije Božičković (Bosicskovich), O.S.B.M. † (1759)
Titular Bishop of Diocletianopolis in Palaestina

Bishop Mihály Emánuel Olsavszky, O.S.B.M. † (1743)
Titular Bishop of Rhosus

Bishop Ioan Inocențiu Klein (Micu), O.S.B.M. † (1730)
Bishop of Făgăraş (Romanian)

Bishop György (Hennadiy) Bizánczy (Bizantsiy) † (1716)
Titular Bishop of Sebastopolis in Armenia

Archbishop Lev (Luka) Kiszka (Kyška), O.S.B.M. † (1711)
Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Jurij Havryjil (Jerzy) Vynnyc’kyj (Winnicki), O.S.B.M. † (1700)
Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Lew Ślubičz Załęnski, O.S.B.M. † (1678)
Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Kyprian Żochowski (Zhokhovskyj) † (1671)
Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Gabriel (Havrylo) Kolenda, O.S.B.M. † (1652)
Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Anastazy Antoni Seljava (Sielawa), O.S.B.M. † (1624)
Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Josyf Veliamyn Rutski † (1613)
Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč (Ukrainian)

Archbishop Hipacy (Ipatij) Pociej (Potij) † (1593)
Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč (Ukrainian)

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