Biography of Father Wacƚaw Pętkowski

Born April 24, 1902 in Jasionówka, outside Biaƚystok (Poland). Graduated from Pinsk Diocesan Seminary and was ordained in 1928. In 1931 he completed a master’s degree in theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was rector of the parish in Nowogródek [Navahrudak], chaplain of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, and religion teacher at a girls’ gymnasium. From 1938 he was pastor and religion teacher in the Brest high schools and was there at the time of the Soviet and German occupations. After the return of the Red Army and establishment of Soviet rule, Fr. Wacƚaw began to serve at the parish in Medvedichi, Baranovichi oblast. During the night of January 19/20, 1950, he was arrested on charges of “anti-Soviet agitation” (he urged peasants not to join the collective farm) and being “an agent of the Vatican.” Despite threats of agents from the Ministry of State Security, none of the parishioners would give statements against their pastor. December 2, 1950 – sentenced under Articles 63(1) and 72(b) of the Criminal Code of the Belorussian SSR to ten years in corrective labor camp [Special Board, USSR Ministry of State Security]. Sent to Kengir sector of Steplag (Dzhezgazgan, Karaganda oblast); granted an early release January 4, 1956, on the grounds that he was incurably ill; sent to a special facility for invalids under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior. Four months later he was released and he returned to Medvedichi. In the 1970s he set up an illegal seminary in his own residence, where he taught the history of the Church, canon law, ethics, philosophy and foreign languages. In five years he educated and graduated ten students. He wrote memoirs, which have been partially published. Died in 1991 (exact date of death unknown). Sources: Archive of the TsPSIP, Karaganda oblast; information provided by A. Gardzienko; Tolochko, “Tsvety na mogilu sviashchennika,” Sovetskaia Belorussiia (11 Feb 1992); Madała, pp. 122-123
Variant Names:
Pętkowski, Wacƚaw; Pentkovskiĭ, Vat︠s︡lav
Jasionówka (Poland); Pinsk (Belarus); Rome (Italy); Navahrudak (Belarus); Baranavichy (Belarus)
male; clergy and religious; survived