Biography of Father Stepan Eroian

Born in 1897; a native of the village of Alastan (Akhalkalaki), Georgia. He grew up in an Armenian Catholic family of eight children. In 1908 the priest Khovsep Sarukhanian, the pastor in Alastan, selected five children from the village for study in Italy. Stepan was among those chosen. He studied twelve years in Italy. After finishing his studies he returned to Alastan, where he was the pastor of the village. His thesis for his master’s degree is preserved. He knew twelve languages. He graduated from seminary and the theological academy in Italy; ordained a priest of the Armenian rite in 1921; he served at the church in Tiflis. November 26, 1929, he was arrested in Tiflis and on August 3, 1930, by decree of the OGPU Collegium he was convicted under Articles 58-6, -10, -12 and 59-12 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to ten years in concentration camp. Sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp, where he arrived August 15, 1930. Transferred to Anzer Island. In 1932 he was arrested on Anzer Island in a case against Catholic clergy who were charged with “creation of an anti-Soviet group, carrying out anti-Soviet agitation, secretly celebrating liturgical and religious rites and maintaining an illegal contact with a free worker for purposes of transmitting abroad information of an espionage nature about the situation of Catholics in the USSR.” The investigation petitioned that he be held separately from all others until the end of his term. After the conclusion of the investigation he remained on Solovetsky. Arrested again in 1937. October 9, 1937, by decree of a Special Troika of the NKVD for Leningrad oblast he was sentenced to death. November 3, 1937, the sentence was carried out in Sandormokh, outside Medvezhigorsk. Source: Dzwonkowski, pp. 225-226; Archive of the Directorate, FSB, Arkhangelsk oblast; GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 5429; Sandormokh Memorial Cemetery, p. 123; Osipova (1996), p. 215; Protocols of Sessions of Special Troika, NKVD, Leningrad oblast; Reznikova, p. 23; Investigatory Matter 590614, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation
Variant Names:
Eroian, Stepan; Eroi︠a︡n, Stepan Nercesovich
Axalkʻalakʻi (Georgia); Italy; Tʻbilisi (Georgia); Anzerski Island (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; executed