Biography of Father Franciszek Czyrski

Born April 6, 1882, in Volochysk, Proskurov district, Podolskyi province. Graduated from Zhytomyr Seminary and was ordained in 1905. From 1905 he was vicar of Holy Trinity parish in Volochysk; from 1909 he was pastor of Holy Trinity parish in Orynin, Kamianets district, where he built a new church – for which he was given a state award by the Russian Empire. From 1913 he was vicar of St. Sofia Cathedral in Zhytomyr; from 1915 he was a member of the Curia of the Diocese of Lutsk-Zhytomyr; from 1917 he was pastor of Holy Trinity parish in Orynin. In May 1920 – during the Polish Soviet War – he left with Polish troops for Poland, where he wanted to stay in Warsaw, but he was sent by Fr. Liszkowski to Ukraine. October 3 he returned to Orinin. In the autumn of 1920 he was sent by Fr. Jan Świderski, the director of the Kamianets Diocese, to serve at the parish of Sts. Peter and Paul in Yarmolintsy, Proskurov deanery, where he organized several Rosary groups and Third Order communities among the young people. He took care of three to four thousand laity. [Footnote: We note that the Kamianets Diocese had more than 100 parishes but only thirty priests.] Prior to 1925 he openly taught religion to children and in his sermons he appealed to his parishioners to raise their children in a Christian spirit. January 16, 1930 – arrested in a case against Catholic clergy (“Priests Case”). Sent for further investigation to Kharkiv Prison, then to Kiev Prison. Charged with “counter-revolution and espionage.” At the court session he said: “God is my treasure. I cannot express the image of God in writing or in speech – thus I am a priest by conviction, not for money.” June 27-30, 1930 – at a closed trial Fr. Franciszek was sentenced under Articles 54-3, -4, -5, -10, and -11 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR to seven years in corrective labor camp with loss of rights for five years in accordance with Article 29 and forbidden to live on the territory of Right-Bank Ukraine for a period of five years, in accordance with Article 34 [Extraordinary Session, Supreme Ct., UkrSSR]. The charge under Article 54-6 was not proven. October 13, 1930 – transferred to Yaroslavl Political Isolator, and in November he was sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp. January 20, 1937 – released from the camp. He settled in Mtsensk, then moved to Orel, and then to Karachev, Bryansk oblast, from where the Polish Red Cross received his last letter. According to information from the Polish embassy, Fr. Franciszek died in Karachev in 1937 (exact date of death unknown). Sources: GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 5183 and 5647, l. 4, 5, 8, 10, 35, 41, 47, 52; Dzwonkowski, pp. 205-206; Madaƚa, p. 43; Osipova (1996), p. 210; Investigatory Matter 1733 fp, Archive TsGAOO (Ukraine); Sokolovskyi, pp. 225-226
Variant Names:
Czyrski, Franciszek; Chirskiĭ , Frant︠s︡ (Frant︠s︡ishek) Tomashevich
Volochysʹk (Podolʹskiĭ raĭon, Russia); Z︠H︡ytomyr (Ukraine); Orynyn (Ukraine); Poland
male; clergy and religious; survived