Biography of Father Józef Lukjanin

Born in 1888 into a lower middle class family in Kazarma, Dvinsk district, Vitebsk province. Graduated from the Archdiocesan Seminary in St. Petersburg and was ordained in 1914 for the Archdiocese of Mogiliev. From 1914 he was vicar of a parish in Pinsk; from 1915, chaplain of the Naddunai Army in Bessarabia; from 1917 – administrator of the parish in Rudnia-Szlagin, Homel province, and later, vicar of the parish in Poƚock. August 7, 1922 – arrested along with Fr. Józef Dzemian in a case regarding the relics of Blessed Andrzej Bobola, because he had refused to assist at the verification of the relics [the purpose of which was to ridicule the veneration of relics – R.D.]. On September 12 he was sent to Vitebsk Prison for further investigation; October 12, released on his own recognizance. September 3-4, 1923, at an open trial, Fr. Józef was acquitted by the court. In 1925 he was again arrested, but soon released on account of illness. He went to Leningrad for treatment and later served there at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. From September 1927, after his return to Belorussia, he was pastor of the parish in Chausy [Czausy] and also visited the parishes in Cherikov [Czeryków] and Ziembin in Mogiliev province. August 17, 1928 – arrested in Chausy and charged with “systematic anti-Soviet agitation in sermons that set the faithful against the Soviet regime, urging the faithful to unite against atheists, such that his sermons ended with the faithful weeping.” The cause of his arrest was his homily in Jurkiewicze, in which he had spoken about Fr. Stanisƚaw Żamojtuk, who, broken by the Chekists, had publicly renounced his priesthood in that parish church. Appealing to the faithful, Fr. Józef said, “You must believe in God always and everywhere, even if they arrest you and send you to Siberia or anywhere else. If there are no churches or no priests, do not lose heart – if there is no church, then pray at home, gather together two or three people and God will be with you!” Fr. Józef’s homily was so emotional and so inspired that when he asked the parishioners, “Now that your spiritual pastor has abandoned you, will you still believe?” the majority of those present twice proclaimed, “We believe!” On February 3, 1930, the investigators petitioned to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee for an extra-judicial sentence, and February 28 their petition was granted [Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee]. March 13, 1930 – sentenced under Article 58-10 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to ten years in corrective labor camp [OGPU Collegium, USSR]. Sent to Syrzranski camp, from where he attempted to make contact with the Polish consulate. In June he was transported to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp. In October 1931 he was transferred to Anzer Island, where he was arrested July 5, 1932, in a case against [thirty-two – R.D.] Catholic clergy who were charged with “creation of an anti-Soviet group that conducted anti-Soviet agitation, secretly conducted theological and religious rites and maintained an illegal contact with a free worker for transmittal beyond the border of information of an espionage nature about the situation of Catholics in the USSR.” The investigators petitioned to “transfer him to Yaroslavl Political Isolator and keep him isolated from all others.” He remained at Solovetsky. In 1937 he was transferred to the prison block. October 9, 1937 – sentenced to death [Special Troika, Directorate, NKVD, Leningrad oblast]. November 3, 1937 – shot, in Sandormokh, outside Medvezhegorsk. Sources: Sandormokh Memorial Cemetery, p. 107; Osipova (1996), p. 181; Protocols of Sessions of Special Troika, Directorate, NKVD, Leningrad oblast; Reznikova, p. 22; Investigatory Matter I.S. Lukanina, Archive of KGB, Republic of Belarus; Investigatory Matter 590614, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation; Shkarovskii, pp. 228-229; Dzwonkowski, 335-336; Madała, p. 101
Variant Names:
Lukjanin, Józef; Lukʹi︠a︡nin, Iosif Stanislavovich
Vitsebskai︠a︡ voblastsʹ (Belarus); Saint Petersburg (Russia); Mohyliv-Podilʹsʹkyĭ (Ukraine); Pinsk (Belarus); Bessarabia (Moldova and Ukraine); Polatsk (Belarus); Anzerski Island (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; executed