Biography of Servant of God Archimandrite Andrzej Cikoto, MIC

Biographical Description: Born December 5, 1891, in Tupalszki district, near Oszmiana, in Vilnius province. He was a Greek-Catholic priest, a religious of the Marian of the Immaculate Conception, missionary, archimandrite, Superior General of the Order of Marians, a religious and public figure and an educator. In May 1909 he took his examination for the rank of pharmacy apprentice at the Examination Commission of the Vilnius Education District. Between 1909 and 1913 he studied at the Vilnius Catholic Seminary. During his studies he belonged to Belorussian cultural and educational circles. As one of the best students, he was sent to study in St. Petersburg, where he was accepted into the Archdiocesan Catholic Theological Academy in 1912. Ordained in 1914 by Archbishop Wincenty Kluczyński. He was a participant in the first congress of Belorussian Catholic clergy, held in Minsk May 24-25, 1917. He was a member of the association of Belorussian priests. In 1917 and 1918 he served in Molodechno [Maladzyechna]. In 1918 he was elected a member of the Council of the Belarusian National Republic [White Ruthenian Democratic Republic]. In September 1919 he became part of the Provisional Belorussian National Committee in Minsk. He was a professor at the Minsk Catholic Seminary. Arrested by the Bolshevik authorities in 1920, but soon released. In the early 1920s he entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception in Druja. He was involved in missionary activity in the United States among Lithuanian, Polish and Belorussian immigrants. After his return in 1923 he served at the Marian parish in Druja where he was instrumental in the organization of King Stefan Batory Polish Gymnasium and supervised the organization of the Congregation of the Sisters Handmaids of Jesus in the Eucharist.. In 1925 he became Novice Master at the newly opened Marian novitiate in Druja. He advocated for the broad introduction of Belorussian language into the life of the church. He represented Belorussian Greek-Catholics at the Fifth Uniate Congress in Velehrad (Czechoslovakia), July 20-24, 1927. Between 1933 and 1939 he was twice elected Superior General of the Congregation of Marians in Rome. In 1937 Fr. Andrzej conducted a visitation of the Marian House in Harbin, as a result of which a novitiate of the Eastern Rite was opened in October 1937. After a brief return to Rome, he was appointed exarch and Apostolic Administrator for Catholics of the Eastern Rite in Manchuria. In December 1948 he was arrested by Chinese authorities along with a group of Belorussian priests; handed over to the USSR Ministry of State Security. Sentenced to twenty-five years in the corrective labor camps. Died in Ozerstroi camp hospital (near Tayshet, Irkutsk oblast) February 13, 1952. The cause for his canonization was opened May 31, 2003. Translator’s Note: This entry has been supplemented with information provided in a much more extensive biography posted on the website of the Marian Fathers, > Great Figures. Other sources: Madała, p. 40; Peshkova, pp. 4-5; list compiled by Dzwonkowski; see also