Biography of Exarch Antoni Niemancewicz, SJ

Born February 8, 1893, into a peasant family in St. Petersburg. Graduated from the Catholic Seminary in St. Petersburg and was ordained on September 27, 1915. In 1918 he completed a master’s degree in theology at the Catholic Theological Academy in St. Petersburg. In the summer of 1917 he took part in the construction of the church at Siverskaya Station (deputy of the chairman of the commission); from 1919 he filled the responsibilities of pastor of that church; from December 1918 he was pastor of St. Peter Church in Kolpino, outside Petrograd. May 25, 1919 – after a demonstration of Catholics at the Cheka building, demanding release of Archbishop Edward Ropp – he was arrested and sent to prison, but released six months later. April 12, 1920 – arrested in Detskoye Selo, outside Petrograd, on charges of “counter-revolutionary activity.” May 5, 1920 – sentenced to community forced labor for six months [Petrograd Cheka]. May 31, 1921 – again arrested on charges of “anti-Soviet propaganda.” August 2, 1921 – sentenced to forced labor for a year [Petrograd Cheka]. At the beginning of 1922 he was transferred to Moscow; served as pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church and also traveled back and forth to parishes in Ryazan. In 1923 or 1924 he was arrested in Moscow and sentenced to three years in concentration camp. As of 1924 he was in Ivanovsky camp outside Moscow. February 1, 1925 – released to Poland on a prisoner exchange. Graduated from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome with a doctorate in juridical sciences. [His doctoral dissertation addressed the Soviets' violation of rights with respect to the welfare of children and youth.] From 1927 he worked in the Pontifical Oriental Institute; in 1929 he returned to Poland. He taught at the Missionary Institute and Catholic University in Lublin. September 13, 1929 – he entered the Society of Jesus. Served in the Jesuit missions in Albertynie and Synkowicze. From 1935 he was an instructor at the Jesuit’s Pontifical Oriental [Eastern Rite] Seminary in Dubno, Łuck Diocese. He was the editor of the journal Da zluchen ??, published in Belorussian. On September 17, 1939, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky appointed him exarch for the Greek-Catholics of Belorussia. He remained in Dubno during the Soviet and German occupations. In August 1942 he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp in Berlin, where he died at the end of 1942 or beginning of 1943 (Adam Cardinal Kozlowiecki gives his date of death as December 2, 1942). According to another version, he was shot in the camp right after his arrival in Berlin (exact date of death unknown). Sources: Archive of the Directorate, FSB for St. Petersburg and Leningrad oblast; GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 206; Osipova (1996), p. 186; Shkarovskii, p. 231; Dzwonkowski, pp. 371-372; Madała, pp. 114-115
Variant Names:
Nemantsevich, Antoniĭ; Niemancewicz, Antoni
Saint Petersburg (Russia); Moscow (Russia); Ri︠a︡zanʹ (Ri︠a︡zanskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Rome (Italy); Lublin (Poland); Dubno (Ukraine); Berlin (Germany)
male; clergy and religious; died in prison