Ziatyk was born on 26 December 1899 in the village
of Odrekhova, some 20 kilometers south-west of
the town of Sanok (now a territory of Poland).
His parents, Stefan and Maria, were poor peasants.
When Ivan was 14, his father died. The burden
of bringing up the child was taken up by his mother
and elder brother Mykhailo, who took the place
of his father for Ivan.
In his childhood, Ivan was very quiet and obedient.
Already when studying in the village primary school,
he displayed his capabilities as a gifted student.
It was also possible to to notice the boy's profound
piety. Ivan received his secondary education in
the Sanok gymnasium, where he studied from 1911-1919.
During his studies in the gymnasium, Ivan's academic
performance was very good and his behaviour excellent.
In 1919 Ivan Ziatyk entered the Ukrainian Catholic
Seminary in Przemysl, and he graduated with distinction
on 30 June 1923. That same year, after having
completed his theological studies, Ivan Ziatyk
was ordained a priest.
From 1925-1935 Fr. Ziatyk worked as a prefect
of the Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Przhemysl.
In addition to the spiritual direction of the
seminarians, he also contributed to their intellectual
formation: He taught Catechetics and Dogmatic
Theology at the same Seminary. In addition to
his work at the Seminary, Fr. Ivan Ziatyk also
performed the duties of spiritual director and
catechetics teacher at the Ukrainian Girls' Gymnasium
Fr. Ivan Ziatyk was a person of great kindness,
obedience, and spiritual depth. He always made
a deep impression on those around him. Fr. Ziatyk
for quite a long time had had a desire to join
a monastery. Although this intention was not welcomed
by his Church superiors, on 15 July 1935 Fr. Ivan
Ziatyk made the final decision to join the Redemptorist
After completing his novitiate in Holosko (near
Lviv) in 1936, Fr. Ziatyk was sent to the monastery
of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Stanislaviv (now
Ivano-Frankivsk). However, he did not stay long:
in autumn of 1937 Fr. Ziatyk moved to Lviv, to
the monastery at number 56-58 Zyblykevycha (now
Ivana Franka) Street. There, he took charge as
economo of the monastery. Fr. Ziatyk's duty also
was to substitute the superior, Fr. De Vocht,
in his absence. In 1934 the Redemptorists opened
their Seminary in Holosko, and Fr. Ziatyk joined
its faculty as a professor of Scripture and Dogmatic
Theology. From 1941-1944 Fr. Ziatyk was superior
of the monastery of Dormition of Mother of God
in Ternopil, and from 1944-1946 he was superior
of the monastery of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
in Zboiska (near Lviv), where the Redemptorist
gymnasium ("Juvenate") was based.
The end of World War II was the beginning of a
terrible period in the history of Ukraine, of
the Greek-Catholic Church, and of the Lviv Province
of CSsR. Having arrested all the Greek-Catholic
bishops, in the spring of 1946 Soviet secret police
gathered Redemptorists from Ternopil, Stanislaviv,
Lviv, and Zboiska to Holosko, and placed them
in a non-heated wing of the monastery. Fr. Ziatyk
was among those gathered in Holosko. Redemptorists
stayed there for two years under constant surveillance
of the secret police. Their presence was checked
three or four times a week. The confreres were
often taken for interrogation, in the course of
which they were promised various benefits in exchange
for betrayal of their faith and monastic vocation.
On 17 October 1948 all the Redemptorists staying
in Holosko were told to board trucks which transported
them to the Studite monastery in Univ.
Soon thereafter, the Redemptorist Provincial Fr.
Joseph De Vocht was deported to Belgium. Before
his departure, he transferred his duties of Provincial
of the Lviv Province and of Vicar General of the
Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church to Fr. Ivan Ziatyk.
This caused the police to pay special attention
to Fr. Ziatyk. On 5 January 1950 a decision was
made to arrest him, and on 20 January the warrant
was issued. After numerous interrogations, on
4 February 1950 Fr. Ivan Ziatyk was accused: "Ivan
Ziatyk indeed has been a member of the Redemptorist
order since 1936; he promotes the ideas of the
Roman Pope of spreading the Catholic Faith among
the nations of the whole world and of making all
The investigation of Fr. Ziatyk's case lasted
for two years. Fr. Ziatyk spent the entire period
in the Lviv and Zolochiv prisons. During the period
from 4 July 1950 to 16 August 1951 alone, he was
interrogated 38 times, while the total number
of interrogations he underwent was 72. Despite
the cruel tortures that accompanied interrogations,
Fr. Ziatyk did not betray his faith and did not
submit to the atheist regime, although his close
relatives were accustomed to persuade him to do
The verdict was announced to Fr. Ziatyk in Kiev
on 21 November 1951. He was sentenced to 10 years
imprisonment for "cooperating with anti-Soviet
nationalistic organization and anti-Soviet propaganda".
The term was to be served in the Ozernyi Lager
prison camp near the town of Bratsk in Irkutsk
During his imprisonment, Fr. Ziatyk suffered terrible
tortures. According to witnesses, on Good Friday
1952 Fr. Ivan Ziatyk was heavily beaten with sticks,
soaked in water, and left unconscious outside,
in the Siberian frost. Beating and cold caused
his death in a prison hospital three days later,
on 17 May 1952. Fr. Ziatyk was buried in the Taishet
district of Irkutsk region. The Great Architect
laid another precious tile into the great mosaic
Taking into account the testimonies of Fr. Ivan
Ziatyk's virtuous life, and particularly his endurance,
courage and faithfulness to the Christ's Church
during the period of persecution, the beatification
process was started on the occasion of the Jubilee
Year. On 2 March 2001 the process was completed
on the level of eparchy, and the case was handed
over to the Apostolic See. On 6 April 2001 the
theological committee recognized the fact of Fr.
Ziatyk's martyrdom, on 23 April his martyrdom
was verified by the Assembly of Cardinals, and
on 24 April 2001 Most Holy Father John Paul II
signed a decree of beatification of Fr. Ivan Ziatyk,
a blessed martyr of Christian faith.