Martyrs of Chełm and Podlasie
Saint priest - martyr Paul and martyr JoannaSaint martyr Paul Szwajk was born in 1893 in Zabłotce village (Brody district). After finishing school he attended the Seminary in Jekaterynosław (now Dniepropietrowsk), which he graduated from in June 1918. He soon returned to his home region. When Paul was 30, he married 24-year-old Joanne Łotocka in the Orthodox St. Nikolai Church in Gaje Lewiatyńskie village (Krzemieniec district) in the Wołyń region. Joanne got higher education in economics – she graduated from School of Economics. In September 1924 Paul was ordained a deacon and then a priest, the latter in St. John the Theologist Orthodox Church in Chełm, by metropolitan Dionizy. His first parish was in Potok Górny, Biłgoraj region. At the end of 1927 the priest was sent to Łemkowszczyzna region; his parishes, among others, were Świątkowa Wielka and Desznica (Jasło district) villages. His parishioners were Łemks who were reconverting to the Orthodoxy. In 1938, during the persecution of the Orthodox people in Chełm region, 44-year-old Paul became a parish priest in Siedliska in Zamość region. At that difficult time, when Orthodox people were forced to convert to the Catholic faith, the priest struggled to strengthen the parishioners in their faith. During the war Saint Paul worked in various parishes in Chełm region, among others, Śniatycze. There was a great hostility towards the Orthodox people and that is why the priest and his wife experienced robberies and were beaten. In 1943 he was sent to Grabowiec (Hrubieszów district). On the feast day of Dormition of the Theotokos, Paul and his wife died as martyrs.