Biography of Father Franciszek Klimaszewski

Born April 20, 1875. Graduated from Saratov Seminary and later studied in Rome, where he earned a master’s degree in theology. Ordained in 1899 for the Diocese of Tiraspol. He occupied various administrative positions in the Diocese of Saratov [Tiraspol] and later became the pastor of St. Klemens Cathedral in Saratov; he was named a canon, and then later a monsignor [prelat]. From 1913 he was a member of the Theology Collegium in St. Petersburg, representing the Tiraspol chapter; from 1917 he taught religion in St. Petersburg high schools; later returned to Saratov. In August 1918 Bishop Joseph Kessler appointed him Vicar General of the Lower Volga part of the Diocese of Tiraspol. In July 1919, after the outbreak of the Polish-Soviet War, he was arrested as a hostage but released from prison a week later. He was subsequently arrested and released several times. In January 1920, after a Chekist provocation (weapons and ammunition that had been “planted” in his apartment were “discovered” during a search), Fr. Franciszek was arrested and placed in an unheated cell where he spent several months through the dead of winter; after his case was reviewed in Moscow, he was released. He then worked in a parish where the priest had died of typhus. With the outbreak of the Polish-Soviet War, he was once again threatened with arrest, and went into hiding in Kamyshin, where he secretly catechized the local children; meanwhile he was the subject of a nationwide search. In May 1921, after the end of the Polish-Soviet War, he secretly returned to the city, and after the appointment of a new Vicar General, Fr. Johannes Fezer, he illegally crossed the border into Poland. From 1921 he was a high school religion teacher in Łódź; he retired in 1935. He settled in Warsaw and as of 1939 he was still working in the episcopal court. Died in Warsaw (exact date of death unknown). Sources: Dzwonkowski, pp. 289-290; see also his brief memoirs, published in Sodalis (Orchard Lake, USA), 1954, No. 6 (334); Schnurr, p. 324
Variant Names:
Klimaszewski, Franciszek; Klimashevskiĭ, Frantishek Ksaveriĭ
Saratov (Russia); Rome (Italy); Tiraspol (Moldova); Saint Petersburg (Russia); Kamyshin (Volgogradskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Poland; Łódź (Poland); Warsaw (Poland)
male; clergy and religious; survived