Father Khmiliovsky is a lesser known figure nowadays, despite his being equal in strength of faith, willingness to sacrifice everything and serve Ukraine to such great Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) hierarchs as Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky and Patriarch Josyf Slipyj. It was he who led the underground (so-called ‘catacomb’) church in the years 1947-50 after Patriarch Slipyj’s arrest. Khmiliovsky was also a Doctor of Divinity who authored 13 volumes on his church’s history, served as a chaplain with the Ukrainian Galician Army and was an associate of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) commander Roman Shukhevych. He was not spared martyrdom in harsh Stalinist prisons where he had been sent as a political prisoner.
Father Khmiliovsky’s bust was unveiled and blessed near the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in his native village of Pokropyvna, Kozova district, Ternopil region on September 30. The celebration started with solemn episcopal liturgy in the church which was attended by Metropolitan of Ternopil and Zboriv (UGCC) Vasyl Semeniuk and mitred priest of the Church of the Assumption parish in Ternopil Mykhailo Shevchyshyn who knew Father Dr. Khmiliovsky personally. Father’s love of God, people and Ukraine strengthened and healed the hearts of many Ukrainians who suffered in prisons and concentration camps. These included Yurii Shukhevych, the son of the UIA commander, who also came to Pokropyvna to honor the memory of Father Khmiliovsky. On that day, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic martyr and leader’s immediate homeland was visited by many people from Ternopil and the village of Mshana, Horodok district, Lviv region, where Father Khmiliovsky once served as parish priest. The initiator and organizer of the monument’s fabrication and erection was the head of Ternopil regional branch of the Prosvita All-Ukrainian Society Petro Shymkiv. He said the bust in Pokropyvna had been funded by the local community and outside patrons. It was built and carved by famous Ternopil artists, architect Danylo Chepil and sculptor Oles Maliar.