Biography of Father Alexander Vasilyev

Born in 1894 in the family of an Orthodox priest. Graduated from a gymnasium in Mariupol and the Mosocw Orthodox Theological Academy. October 1, 1927 – ordained an Orthodox priest by Archbishop Remov. Served at the Church of St. Nikita the Martyr outside Moscow. December 28, 1925 – secretly converted to Catholicism. Enjoyed the special confidence of Bishop Neveu. February 15, 1931 – arrested in a case against Russian Catholics (Soloviev et al.). Found in his possession were an image of St. Thérèse, a portrait of the Pope, and a photograph of Bishop Neveu, the apostolic administrator in Moscow – and this last became “confirmation” of the charge of espionage. In addition, he was charged with “receiving counter-revolutionary literature from Neveu and distributing it among his acquaintances, and given that he was aware of what was going on in the Orthodox Church and had a wide circle of acquaintances, he informed Neveu about the church struggle.” In the investigatory file there are documents showing that a proposal that he return to Orthodoxy was made as a condition of his release, but he did not accept this proposal. August 18, 1931 – sentenced to ten years in corrective labor camps [Special Board, OGPU Collegium]. From August 1932 he was at Belbaltlag. In 1934 he was transferred to a camp in the Chita region (Urulga, Khabarovsk region), where he signed up in a group of Stakhanovites in order to earn extra money to help his wife, Nadezhda, who had been left without any means of support, with two small daughters, and had been evicted since she was refused a passport [i.e., internal passport required for residency permit] on account of being Catholic. He died sometime prior to 1944 (exact date and place of death unknown). Excerpt from his case file: On October 30, 1930, the OGPU received a denunciation of Fr. Alexander, which said in part: “During the vigil services, Fr. Alexander preached a sermon in which, addressing the citizens, he said ‘If they are oppressing you now, my children, it will not be for long; have patience, pray to the Queen of Heaven, and she will help you be freed of this yoke that now oppresses you.’” Sources: Osipova (1996), pp. 156-157; Sokolovskyi, pp. 29-30; Soloviev et al.; Dzwonkowski (1998), p. 504; Nowicki, p. 4
Variant Names:
Vasilyev, Alexander; Vasil'ev, Aleksandr Pavlovich
Mariupolʹ (Ukraine); Moscow (Russia); Khabarovsk (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; died in prison