Biography of Servant of God, Father Epifanius (Igor) Akulov

Biographical Description: Born into a peasant family in 1897 in Novo-Nikitskoye, Tver province. Finished secondary school in 1918. Worked in the office of the Nikolayevsk Railroad. From June 1919 he served in the Red Army. After demobilization in January 1920 he returned to Petrograd and opened a small shop, but soon left business. In 1920 he became a novice at Alexander Nevsky Monastery; from April 1920 through August 1922 he studied at Petrograd Theological Institute. July 2, 1921 he took religious vows under the name Epifanius. Attended meetings of Eastern Rite Catholics where he became acquainted with Exarch Leonid Feodorov and under his influence, he and his mother converted to Catholicism. Ordained a priest of the Eastern Rite by Archbishop Cieplak in the summer of 1922. Served as vicar of Descent of the Holy Spirit Church in Petrograd and on Sundays and feast days he also served at St. Boniface Church. Participated in conferences of the theological circle. May 1923 – arrested in Petrograd, but released a month later. November 10-18, 1923 – he was serving in a parish in Vitebsk, then returned to Petrograd. November 29, 1923 – arrested in the case against Russian Catholics. April 24, 1924 – shown the indictment, which asserted that he was “for all practical purposes the leader of the entire organization.” May 19, 1924 – sentenced under Articles 61 and 66 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to ten years in prison [OGPU Collegium]. Held in Aleksandrov isolator outside Irkutsk; released in 1927 but exiled to Siberia. Released from exile in 1933; arrived in Moscow May 22, 1933, and met with Bishop Neveu, who sent him to Leningrad to be at the disposal of Apostolic Administrator Bishop Jean Amoudrou. From July 1933 he served at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church; from January 1934, at St. Casimir; later at St. Alexey and St. Francis in Leningrad. April 1935 – arrested, but soon released. July 26, 1937 – again arrested, charged with “anti-Soviet activity under the direction of the Polish consulate and the Vatican.” August 25, 1937 – sentenced to death under Articles 58-6 and 58-4 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR [NKVD Collegium and USSR Office of Public Prosecutor]. August 27, 1937 – shot. Buried in Levashovo Memorial Cemetery outside Leningrad. Rehabilitated May 31, 1989. On August 21, 1933, during the investigation in the second case against Anna Abrikosova et al., Sophia Eismont (Sr. Philomena, OP), responding to the investigator’s questions about the fate of pastors, made statements about a meeting in Moscow with Fr. Epifanius Akulov: “[Fr.] Akulov told us about his life in the concentration camps, about the tortures and prison conditions. He said that the conditions of confinement in the camp were exceptionally severe and harsh: heavy labor and confinement, unattainable, back-breaking work norms, leading to the utter exhaustion of the convicts. The following methods were practiced: the guards would get the convicts up late at night and drive them in freezing weather, through mud, into the forest. Living conditions in the camp were such that epidemics, parasites and filth were common. He talked about the camp administration’s arbitrary, despotic rule, the torturing and beating of prisoners with rifle butts. In general, there was an inhumane attitude [toward convicts]. He said he was amazed that he had survived and had not gone out of his mind.” Sources: Assumptionist Archives, Rome, 2EK.66, p. 1; Archive of the Directorate of FSB for St. Petersburg and Leningrad oblast; von Burman, p. 510; GARF, f. 8409, op. 1, d. 71, l. 5; d. 74, l. 5; d. 75, l. 201-202; d. 113, l. 11, 67, 128; d. 380, l. 10-20; d. 852, l. 29-31; d. 1474, l. 23; Dzwonkowski (1998), pp. 134-135; Osipova (1996), p. 146; Protocols of Sessions of a Special Troika, Directorate of NKVD, Leningrad oblast; Abrikosova et al. (1924 and 1934); Sokolovskyi, p. 2; Shkarovskii, pp. 211-212; see also