Biography of Blessed Leonid Fedorov, Exarch of Russian Greek-Catholic Church in Russia

Born into the family of a cook in St. Petersburg on November 4, 1879. His father died early; he was raised by his mother, who developed his intellectual capabilities. He graduated from a classical gymnasium and then studied at the Orthodox Theological Academy in St. Petersburg, which he left during his third year. Thanks to the influence of Fr. Jan Swiclawski he became interested in Catholicism, and went with Fr. Jan first to Lviv [Lemburg], where he was cordially received by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, and then to Rome, where, on July 31, 1902, he was received into the Catholic Church. In 1907 he graduated from the Pontifical Jesuit College in Anagni, outside Rome, and then later studied at the college of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. Because of the interference of the Russian ambassador, he was forced to make his way to Switzerland, where he graduated from the university in Freiburg. He returned to Lviv and from 1909 he was rector and a professor at the seminary of the Order of Studites. To avoid complications with the Russian government, Archbishop Sheptytsky sent him to Istanbul. March 25, 1911 – he was ordained by Michael Mirov, a Bulgarian Catholic Bishop of the Eastern Rite. In 1912 he went from Lviv to Bosnia, where he lived in a monastery of Studites as the monk Leontii. In 1914 he returned to St. Petersburg and was banished by the tsarist authorities to Tobolsk, under strict police supervision. In 1917, after the February Revolution, he was released and returned to St. Petersburg. From 1917 he served as pastor of the church of Russian [Eastern Rite] Catholics, Descent of the Holy Spirit, in Petrograd, and led the religious community of the Holy Spirit. He took part in the Council of Russian Catholics convened by Metropolitan Sheptytsky, at which an exarchy was created for Catholics of the Eastern Rite in Russia and Fr. Leonid was appointed exarch. In February 1921 this appointment was confirmed by Pope Benedict XV. October 21, 1922, he was arrested in Petrograd since he had taken a firm position on the question of the confiscation of church valuables. He was released the same day. February 23, 1923 – arrested in a case against Catholic clergy (Cieplak et al.). Charged with “resisting the authorities in the seizure of church valuables, catechizing minors, foreign contacts, and counter-revolutionary propaganda.” March 21-26, 1923 – at an open [“show”] trial Fr. Leonid was sentenced under Articles 63 and 119 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to ten years in prison [Revolutionary Tribunal]. He began serving his term in Lefortovo and Sokolnicheskaya prisons in Moscow. April 26, 1926 – on petition of the Political Red Cross he was released early, with restrictions against living in the six major cities and the border regions. He settled in Kaluga, at first with the pastor of the parish, Fr. Jan Pawlowicz, and then he rented his own apartment. In 1926, by Papal decree, conveyed to him by Bishop Michel d’Herbigny, he was placed under the jurisdiction of Bishop Pius Neveu, Apostolic Administrator in Moscow, as his vicar for matters concerning the Eastern Rite. August 10, 1926 – arrested in Mogiliev, where he had gone at the invitation of Fr. Jósef Bielohoƚowy to celebrate Mass in accordance with the Eastern Rite. He was transported to Moscow and placed in Lubyanka Prison. September 18, 1926 – sentenced to three years in corrective labor camp [Special Board, OGPU Collegium]. September 26 – sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp. While he was there, Bishop Bolesƚaw Sloskan, at his request, ordained two priests of the Eastern Rite. In July 1929 he was transported to Anzer Island and then on August 13 he was released from the camp and exiled to a village outside Pinega, Arkhangelsk oblast. At the beginning of 1931 he was arrested; he spent six months in Arkhangelsk Prison, and then was released in the autumn and exiled for three years to Kotlas, Arkhangelsk oblast. At the end of 1933 he was released from exile with restrictions against living in the twelve major cities and the border regions. In January 1934 he settled in Vyatka, where he died March 7, 1934. Beatified 27 June 2001 by Pope John Paul II in Ukraine. Sources: Vasily von Burman, pp. 1-833; GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 4914, GARF, f. 8409, op. 1, d. 114, l. 26; d. 359, l 95, 103-105; d. 720, l. 26-34; d. 819, l. 157; d. 1556, l. 123; Logos, No. 48 (Brussels-Moskva, 1993); Osipova (1996), p. 205; Parafiial'na gazeta, 1995, no. 56, p. 8; Investigatory Matter 590614, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation; Sokolovskyi, pp. 204-205; Shkarovskii, pp. 240-241; Dzwonkowski, pp. 233-235
Variant Names:
Fedorov, Leonid; Fedorov, Leonid Ivanovich
Saint Petersburg (Russia); Rome (Italy); L'viv (Ukraine); Bosporus (Turkey); Bosnia and Hercegovina; Tobolʹsk (Russia); Moscow (Russia); Kaluga (Kaluzhskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Anzerski Island (Russia); Pinega River Valley (Russia); Kotlas (Russia); Kirov (Kirovskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia)
male; clergy and religious; survived