Biography of Servant of God, Father Jan Trojgo

Biographical Description: Born December 12, 1881, into a peasant family in Progalino, Romanov county, Sokolsk district, Grodno province. Finished Grodno gymnasium; graduated from St. Petersburg Seminary in 1906 and the Theological Academy in 1908 with a master’s degree in theology; ordained in 1906. From 1908 he taught religion in Mogiliev high schools; from 1910 he was a professor of liturgy at the seminary in St. Petersburg; from 1914 he worked in the metropolitan curia, was a member of the Curia’s Administrative Council and chairman of the Economic Council of the Theology Collegium. From 1916 he also taught religion at several girls’ gymnasia in St. Petersburg. He was also at that time publishing the diocesan magazine. He continued to work at the Archdiocesan Curia after the Revolution. March 10, 1923 – arrested in Moscow in the group case against Catholic clergy (Cieplak et al.). At the open trial held March 21-26, 1923, he was sentenced under Articles 40, 68, 69-1, 119 and 121 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to three years in prison [Military Tribunal]. He served his term in Sokolnicheskaya Prison. Released in January 1925; returned to Leningrad where he served as pastor of St. Stanislaus church and was a regular member of the Curia. January 13, 1927 – arrested in Leningrad, charged with “criminal contact with priests and Polish representatives, teaching children in a religious spirit.” July 18, 1927 – sentenced under Articles 58-10 and 122 to five years in corrective labor camp [OGPU Collegium]; sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp. June 1929 – transferred to Anzer Island where he was arrested July 5, 1932, in a case against Catholic clergy who were charged with “creating an anti-Soviet group that was carrying out anti-Soviet agitation, secretly celebrating liturgy and religious rituals and had established illegal contact with a free person for transmitting abroad information of an espionage nature about the situation of Catholics in the USSR.” Of all those arrested on Anzer Island, Father Jan was in the most difficult position because all his correspondence with His Excellency Edward Ropp had come into the hands of GPU agents – and Father Jan’s letters contained many phrases that, in Donat Nowicki’s opinion, the invesigators “undoubtedly used for the serious accusations against him.” The investigators sought to have his file transferred to a Special Board of the Leningrad oblast GPU as “one of the leaders who had very boldly and daringly led the group of priests.” July 22, 1932 – transferred to Leningrad Prison where he died of a stroke August 11, 1932. To avoid publicity, he was buried in Preobrazhenskoye Cemetery as “Peter Semenovich Samakhin.” At his interrogation on July 6, 1932, Father Jan stated: “I consider myself a firm believer, a staunch Catholic, and a priest. I am ready to sacrifice my life for the sake of my convictions. All directives and precepts of the Church and of the Pope as its head are binding on all priests, including myself.” Sources: Archive of the Directorate of FSB for St. Petersburg and Leningrad oblast; GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 4825; Nowicki, p. 7; Osipova (1996), pp. 203-204; Investigatory Matter 590614, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation; Shkarovskii, pp. 239-240; Dzwonkowski, pp. 488-489; Madała, pp. 158-159