Biography of Father Józef Bieƚogoƚowy

Born into a peasant family in St. Petersburg in 1883. Graduated from St. Petersburg Theological Seminary and Academy with a master’s degree in theology and canon law. Ordained in 1906 for the Archdiocese of Mogiliev. Taught religion in Smolensk; from April 1918 he was dean of Mogiliev, the archbishop’s deputy. Arrested in 1918 and spent a year in prison. He was again arrested in January 1921, but soon released. He personally went to M.I. Kalinin and received the right of exchanging Church valuables in his diocese for civilian silver [grazhdanskoye serebro]. In 1921 he was again arrested. February 18, 1922 – sentenced by a Special Division of the Sixteenth Army on charges of espionage on behalf of Poland; sentenced to five years in concentration camp. At the end of 1922 his sentence was shortened to one year; released early. May 13, 1924 – summoned to the OGPU in Moscow and for a month conducted negotiations on the status of the Roman Catholic Church in the USSR. In April 1926 he was summoned to Moscow for a meeting with Bishop Michel D’Herbigny, who had come from Rome; he met with him once again in Mogiliev. February 18, 1926 [?], he was arrested in Mogiliev, charged with “contacts with foreign representatives and informing them about the economic and political situation in the Soviet Union; creation of a counter-revolutionary organization in Mogliev called “Young Filarets,” which fostered a Polish patriotic spirit and devotion to the Catholic Church among participating young people.” He refused to sign the statement of charges, explaining that “holding me in custody has an undesirable impact on the faithful within the country and gives a trump card to the anti-Soviet bloc abroad.” In September he was transferred to the OGPU’s internal prison for further investigation. November 10 – OGPU Collegium petitioned the Presidium of the All-Union Central Executive Committee for the right to issue an extra-judicial sentence. Petition granted November 22; on November 29 he was sentenced under Articles 61 and 66 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to five years in concentration camp [OGPU Collegium]. Sent to Solovetsky, where he arrived on December 19. August 25, 1928, his sentence was amended to preclude any possibility of amnesty. In 1928 he was transported back to Moscow. He was killed in Lubyanka “in an attempt to escape.” Source: Dzwonkowski (1998), pp. 160-162; von Burman, pp. 485-492; Madała, p. 24; Osipova (1996), p. 151; Sokolovskyi, p. 214
Variant Names:
Bi︠e︡logolovyĭ, Iosif Matveevich; Bieƚogoƚowy, Józef
Saint Petersburg (Russia); Mohyliv-Podilʹsʹkyĭ (Ukraine); Moscow (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; executed