Biography of Servant of God Father Antoni Czerwiński

Biographical Description: Born October 8, 1881, in Biƚgoraj, Lublin province. His father was a craftsman and the family moved to Crimea when he was still a child. His younger sister, Emilia, who later would suffer along with her brother, was born in Crimea. Antoni graduated from the seminary in Saratov in 1902, and then from the Catholic Theological Academy in St. Petersburg with a master’s degree in theology. Ordained April 2, 1905. From August 1906 he served as vicar of St. Klemens Cathedral in Saratov and the personal secretary of Joseph Kessler, Bishop of Tiraspol Diocese; from August 1907 he was also a high school religion teacher. From September 1911 he was administrator of the parish and the high school religion teacher in Vladikavkaz. Fr. Antoni was a good pastor and genuine preacher, an unpretentious person; and although he received no state awards, neither was he ever penalized by the [tsarist] authorities. After the revolution, when there was no longer a diocesan administration or a bishop and many churches were closed, Fr. Antoni continued to serve in his parish, also tending parishes in Mozdok and Grozny and communities in Khasav-Yurt and Minskoye, Kabardin district; he also traveled back and forth to Buynaksk, Dagestan. In parishioners’ memoirs he is recalled as a holy man who never ceased working for the sake of the Kingdom of God and the good of those souls entrusted to him. [Footnote: Many of his parishioners had emigrated and others, seduced by ideology or frightened by the persecutions, were afraid to come to church.] January 2, 1936 – arrested in Vladikavkaz on charges of “creating an anti-Soviet group that was intent on undermining and discrediting the Soviet regime” (Czerwiński et al.). [Footnote: Arrested with him were Fr. Johannes Roth from Pyatigorsk, Fr. Bolesław Blechman, who had been living with him, and six parishioners.] At a closed trial on November 1-2, 1937, Fr. Antoni was sentenced to death [Military Tribunal, Northern Caucasus Military District]. December 7, 1937 – sentence affirmed in Moscow [Military Collegium, USSR Supreme Ct.]. January 26, 1938 – shot. May 27, 1958 – posthumously rehabilitated - sentence was annulled and file was closed for “lack of evidence of a crime” [Military Tribunal, USSR Supreme Ct.]. Fr. Antoni is a candidate for beatification. Sources: Archive of the Directorate, FSB, Russian Federation, Republic of North Osetia-Alania; Vladikavkazskii Rimsko-Katolicheskii kostel, RGIA, f. 821, op. 125, d. 1907; Vospominaniya prikhozhan, Archive of Fr. Bronisƚaw Czaplicki; Dzwonkowski, pp. 201-202; Katalog dukhovenstva Tiraspolskoi eparkhii – 1917; Parish registry books – weddings and baptisms, Assumption parish in Bilgoray (1879, no. 2; 1881, no. 72); Parish registry book, Vladikavkaz Roman Catholic Church, GARSO, f. 296, op. 1, d. 83-93, p. 190; Saratov State Archive, f. 365, op. 2, d. 1509; Schnurr, p. 361; see also