Biography of Father Viktor Novikov, SJ

Born in 1905 in Kazan. Adopted as a child by the Polish family of the engineer Cholew. In 1923 he attempted an illegal border crossing into Poland in the region of Minsk, but he was detained by Soviet border guards and sentenced to five months in prison. In 1924, after his release from prison, he acquired Polish citizenship and legally went to the relatives of his adoptive father in Poland. Graduated from seminary and in 1927 he entered the Society of Jesus [in Albertyn], outside Sƚonim. He studied philosophy at Jagiellonian University in Kraków and theology at the Gregorian University in Rome; ordained in 1934. From 1937 he taught languages at the Gregorian University and then from 1938 he was a professor at the Jesuit seminary in Dubno. After the annexation of western Ukraine and western Belorussia to the USSR, he and other priests went to the Greek Catholic metropolitan in Lwów, Andrey Sheptytsky, who gave his blessing to a clandestine missionary journey to the Urals under the guise of workers; he appointed Fr. Viktor exarch of Siberia. In March 1940, using an alias family name, he was hired as a worker and departed for the Urals. He settled in Chusov, where he began to work as a dispatcher. For a year he did not carry out any missionary work, hoping to acquire a regular Soviet passport in order to go further into Siberia. June 23, 1941 – arrested in Chusov on charges that, “having been transferred onto the territory of the USSR as a Vatican agent, he carried out anti-Soviet work, creating anti-Soviet Catholic organizations tasked with the overthrow of the present system in the USSR; among those around him, he conducted anti-Soviet and defeatist agitation; and he was engaged in espionage against the USSR on behalf of Vatican intelligence.” During the investigation he was forced to sign these charges, inasmuch as he was subjected to brutal beatings in Perm Prison. In August 1941 he was transported to Moscow for further investigation and held in the inner prison of the NKVD. August 26, 1942 – presented with the indictment. September 23, 1942 – sentenced under Articles 58-6 and 58-10 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to fifteen years of forced labor, but he remained another year in Butyrka Prison where he gave very detailed statements about the activity of the Vatican in the USSR. In 1943 he was sent to Vorkutlag where he worked twelve and a half years in the coal mines. January 20, 1954 – granted an early release from the camp and banished to Bashkiria. Resided in Belebee; taught Latin at a medical school. According to the recollections of Catholics from Bashkiria, he clandestinely ministered to believers in the district. Died in Belebee May 14, 1979. Source; Osipova (1996), p. 187; Investigatory Matter 888, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation; Madała, pp. 116-117
Variant Names:
Novikov, Viktor; Novikov, Viktor Pavlovich
Kazanʹ (Russia); Slonim (Belarus); Kraków (Poland); Rome (Italy); Andreapolʹ (Russia); L'viv (Ukraine); Chusov (Ural Mountains, Russia); Siberia; Moscow (Russia); Belebeĭ (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; survived