Biography of Father Donat Nowicki

Born into a lower middle class family in Moscow in 1893. A Belorussian. Graduated from St. Petersburg University and studied at the Petrograd Theological Seminary until 1916. Left the Catholic seminary and became a Baptist. Served in the military from 1916 through 1921 as an officer in the Tsarist Army; from 1921 to 1923 he worked in Moscow. Moved to Petrograd. By 1923 he had converted to Catholicism, under the Russian [Eastern] Rite. November 16, 1923 – arrested in Moscow in the case against Russian Catholics. May 19, 1924 – sentenced to ten years in a concentration camp [OGPU Collegium]. Sent to the solitary confinement block at Orel Prison where he spent seventeen months and was then transferred to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp. September 5, 1928 – secretly ordained an Eastern Rite Catholic priest by Bishop Sloskan; July 5, 1932 – arrested in a group trial of Catholic clergy on Anzer Island, charged with “creation of an anti-Soviet group carrying out anti-Soviet agitation, clandestinely conducting theological and religious rites and actualizing an illegal contact with a free person for transmittal abroad of information of an espionage character about the situation of Catholics in the USSR.” According to an order dated July 9, 1932, the investigators urged that he be kept under guard and sent to a Special Board of the OGPU for the Leningrad Military District for its disposition. July 22, 1932 – transported from Solovetsky to Leningrad. Sentenced to solitary confinement in Yaroslavl Prison [Troika, OGPU, Leningrad Military District]. September 15, 1932 – sent to Poland under an exchange of prisoners. From 1932 he served at the Byzantine Catholic parish in Torokan, outside Drohiczyn; in 1939 he moved to Zielonka, outside Warsaw, where he became chaplain of a women’s religious community. He simultaneously participated in conspiratorial anti-fascist activity. From 1948 he resided in Świder, then in Nowa Wieś; later in Izabelin, outside Warsaw. He was an active participant in the ecumenical movement. In the post-war period he taught Russian culture at the Pallatine Seminary in Oƚtarzew, outside Warsaw; he was also an expert-consultant on questions of the Eastern churches, Russia, and ecumenism for the Polish Primate, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński. He died in Poland August 17, 1971. Source: GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 3520; f. 8409, op. 1, d. 37, l. 314; d. 73, l. 25; d. 84, l. 312-315; d. 831, l. 315; Dzwonkowski (1998), pp. 375-378; Nowicki, p. 7; Osipova (1996), p. 187; Sokolovskyi, pp. 143-144; Shkarovskii, pp. 231-232; Madała, p. 116
Variant Names:
Nowicki, Donat; Novitskii, Donat Gil'iardovich
Moscow (Russia); Saint Petersburg (Russia); Anzerski Island (Russia); I︠A︡roslavlʹ (I︠A︡roslavskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Drohiczyn (Poland); Zielonka (Warsaw, Poland); Świder (Otwock, Poland); Izabelin (Poland : Gmina); Gostynin (Poland); Ołtarzew (Ożarów, Poland)
male; clergy and religious; survived