Biography of Father Viktor Danilov

Born July 20, 1927, in Yaroslavl. Finished high school and in 1947 enrolled in the Pedagogical Institute in Yaroslavl. In June 1948 – arrested on charges of “anti-Soviet agitation” and sentenced under Articles 58-10 and 58-11 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to ten years in corrective labor camp. Sent to Minlag (village of Inta, Kozhvinsk region, Komi ASSR). His term was extended because of an escape attempt. At Minlag he became acquainted with priest-convicts, he re-thought his positions, renounced Marxism and atheism, and after long consideration, became a Catholic. In 1955 he was released from the camp on an amnesty and returned to Yaroslavl. In December 1955 he continued his studies in the history department of the Pedagogical Institute, but he did not receive his diploma because of a denunciation that he was an “active Catholic.” Thanks to the “thaw” that began in the Khrushchev era and official appeals to State organs, he later managed to receive his diploma, but he was unable to get a job in his specialty. From 1959 he worked as an electrician. In 1960 he moved to Vilnius, and then in 1967, to Grodno, where he was engaged in evangelization and was under the constant surveillance of the KGB: twice he was searched for possession of religious literature and he was summoned for questioning several times. In the early 1970s he received an invitation to study for the priesthood of the Greek-Catholic rite and in 1976 he was clandestinely ordained in Lviv by Archbishop Volodymyr Sterniuk. He returned to Grodno where he began his priestly ministry in the underground church. He also traveled into other regions of the USSR, even as far as Siberia and the Caucasus. He regularly maintained contact with the religious opposition to the Soviet regime in Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine. Fr. Viktor also developed cordial relations with the Orthodox priests, Frs. Dmitry Dudko and Aleksandr Men. From 1992 he was pastor of the Greek-Catholic parish in Grodno. Source: Danilov, Moi put’ k Bogu i k Katolicheskoi Tserkvi (Polatsk, 1997); information extracted by A. Dzyarnovich; Archiv noveishei istorii (Minsk), F-3
Variant Names:
Danilov, Viktor
I︠A︡roslavlʹ (I︠A︡roslavskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Inta (Russia); Vilnius (Lithuania); Hrodna (Belarus); Siberia (Russia)
clergy and religious; male; survived