The late Catholic activist Josyp Terelya, who was imprisoned for about twenty years in the Soviet gulag system and upon release testified about his experiences to the U.S. Congress, as well as to Pope John Paul II (during several meetings) and President Ronald Reagan, claimed to have received prophecies pertaining to the future of his homeland of Ukraine as well as Russia — both so much in the news these days.
Terelya, who co-authored the Catholic bestseller Witness: to Apparitions and Persecution in the USSR, described two corporeal apparitions of the Blessed Mother while imprisoned — including one that saved his life in a “freeze” cell on February 11, 1972 (feast day of Lourdes) while in Special Corpus 2 at Vladimir Prison, which is more than a hundred miles north of Moscow. He said the Virgin arrived in a flash of light, saying, “You have called to me, and I have come.”
The Ukrainian hero, now deceased, said Mary remained for two hours — heating the cell — and “drew me into prophetic visions.” Among them were “predictions for all of mankind.” But for the main part, the focus was the U.S.S.R. (Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union.)
“Now, look,” was the way she put it, reaching with her left arm.
“I saw a map,” Josyp conveyed in his book. “I saw a map and parts of it were burning. Russia! There were fires erupting all over Russia. Surrounding countries were also involved. There were flames in various parts of the world. It was what could happen if mankind does not come back to her Son. I saw entire landscapes. I saw a river I recognized, the Amur. I don’t know how I knew it was that river. I saw many islands there. I saw tanks on the Soviet side — but not the Soviet type — and a city in flames. Siberia was on fire to the Ural Mountains.”
The vision was interesting because a further vision — of eight men staging a putsch (coup) — actually occurred in August 1991, immediately after Witness came out — when Boris Yeltsin muscled Mikhail Gorbachev out of power. Moreover, an old prophecy at an alleged apparition site in Seredne, Ukraine, during the 1950s, had likewise foreseen fire across these lands.
“The whole country was aflame,” said Terelya, “and all these explosions were taking place. Was it civil war, or solely war with a foreign power?” asked Terelya. “All I understood was that this was war and I saw one country against whom this war was waged — China! The tanks were Chinese.
“If it does come, it will be a warning to mankind.”
At Seredne, on December 20, 1953 [some said 1954], the Virgin allegedly had told a woman named Hanya: “Disaster is upon you as in the times of Noah. Not by flood, but by fire will the destruction come. An immense flood of fire shall destroy nations for sinning before God. Since the beginning of the world, there’s never been such a fall as there is today. This is the kingdom of Satan. I shall dwell on this hill [at Seredne] from which I see the entire universe and the many sinners, and I shall distribute my graces [through a well there].”
Terelya’s visions seemed to confirm that previous appearance at Seredne — of which, as far as we know, he was unaware. “The Ukrainians should also repent,” he quoted the Virgin as saying. “Do not lose faith. The world is cold and spiritless, as it was before the Flood.”
Upon release from the gulag, the activist rushed back to Ukraine and the remote hamlet of Hrushiw south of Kiev, where the Virgin was said to be appearing on the balcony of a small church to a girl named Maria Kizyn. That apparition had begun in 1987 on the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.
Terelya described thousands of people amassed at the site and he saw the Virgin in a glow at the church. On this occasion he asserted that the Virgin said, “My daughter Ukraine, I have come to you because you have remained faithful to me amidst this desolation, and devout people will spread news of me everywhere.
“I see fire,” she allegedly continued. “The villages are burning. Water is burning. The very air is on fire. Everything is in flames. If people do not convert to Christ, there will be war. There shall be a great conflagration. All of you who have heard me today, you must go into the world and witness about what is to come.”
And so forth. Asked about the future, Saint Padre Pio once said, “Can’t you see the fire?”
Is the vision of Russia at war with China still likely — or is an alliance of the Chinese and Russians against the U.S. now a stronger possibility (or, China against a U.S.-Russia alliance, or simply against the U.S.)? Did the threat diminish or even disappear in the subsequent years, with the break-up of the U.S.S.R. and allowance of Christianity, or does the threat — do the threats (plural) — remain; might the U.S. and Russia square off?
Ukraine is currently at war with Russia (which has more than enough nuclear weapons to incinerate Ukraine) and, short of military funds (and having relinquished its own nuclear weapons in an agreement with the U.S. years ago), has already lost Crimea. In the 1930s Russia caused a food shortage and famine that led to between four and ten million deaths in Ukraine, among the greatest holocausts on record. That conflict has been rekindled and is at the heart of one current U.S. political crisis.
Can it be that Ukraine will play a role in coming major events?
That could be said of many nations. But Ukraine is crucial — positioned as the gateway to the West — and is now looking to be a member of NATO threatened by Russia, which has a proclivity for irredentism.
“Repent and love one another,” Terelya quoted the Virgin as saying at Hrushiw. “The times are coming which are spoken of as the end times. See the desolation that surrounds us, the sloth, the genocide, the many other sins. I came to you in tears to implore you to pray, work for good, and labor for the glory of God. The Ukraine was the first to acknowledge me as its Queen, and I have received her under my care.”
“Lucifer is cunning and clever,” Mary allegedly said. “He is preparing a great deception for all God’s creation, and especially for the people of God. For a short time a Godless kingdom shall maintain itself from one end of the earth to the other.”
As for the U.S.: “There is much evil there,” Terelya quoted Mary as saying in 1987, “evil that will be found in the Church of My Son, but there will come a time that a white rider on a white horse will kill the red dragon. Here you will see that the people of this nation are good and devout. This people will pray more for the conversion of the Ukraine than Ukrainians themselves.”
Has that happened? Has Ukraine been held in prayer, or largely forgotten (until now)? And is Russia converting? Will it one day stop being a threat to Ukraine?
“Who wants to receive the Grace of God should pray constantly and take upon himself voluntary penance,” Terelya, who died in 2009, further quoted Mary as saying. “Be merciful. Remember that the Rosary will preserve mankind from sin and perdition. You can save the world with your prayers. How many warnings must mankind be given before it repents?”
[resources: Fear of Fire and Witness]