Biography of Bishop Pius (Eugene) Neveu

Born January 23, 1877. Entered the Assumptionist Order (“Augustinians of the Assumption”) in 1895 and was ordained March 18, 1905. He was in Russia as of November 1906, serving as chaplain at a girls’ orphanage in St. Petersburg. In 1907 he was transferred to Makeyevka, in the Donets Basin (Ukraine), to serve the French workers employed there. April 21, 1926, Bishop Michel D’Herbigny, as emissary of Pope Pius XI, clandestinely consecrated Father Neveu a bishop, in Moscow, and appointed him Apostolic Administrator. Bishop Neveu was the head of all rites of the Catholic Church in Soviet Russia. After the GPU became aware that he had been made a bishop, the authorities forbade him the right to exercise his pastoral ministry, threatening to expel him from the USSR; it was only the firm line held by the French ambassador that prevented his expulsion. At first Bishop Neveu harbored illusions about the improvement of the position of the Catholic Church in Soviet Russia, in comparison with the persecutions of Catholics under the tsars, but the reality that confronted him dispersed those illusions. The GPU constantly followed him, accusing him of being an “agent of the Vatican”; he was constantly subjected to “verifications”; and as a French citizen, he was not allowed to perform religious rites [e.g., baptisms, marriages] for Soviet citizens. From 1932 he resided in the French embassy; his presence in Moscow was important inasmuch as through the embassy he was able to transmit abroad information about the situation of the Church in the USSR, and through his hands secretly passed material assistance [received from the West] for priests. In May 1934 he went to Paris and the Vatican, where Pope Pius XI instructed him to consecrate Father Jean Amoudrou as bishop (Father Amoudrou, OP, was a French priest serving in Leningrad and was very soon thereafter expelled from the USSR). June 31, 1936 – Bishop Neveu went to France for medical treatment, having been assured that he would be allowed to return, but he was not granted a re-entry visa. October 17, 1946 – died, in Paris. Sources: Dzwonkowski, pp. 368-370; Osipova (1996), p. 187
Variant Names:
Neveu, Pius (Eugene); Neve, Ezhei (Pii)
Saint Petersburg (Russia); Donets Basin (Ukraine and Russia); Moscow (Russia); Rome (Italy); Paris (France); Vatican City
male; clergy and religious; survived