Biography of Father Chryzogon Przemocki

Description:
Born into a peasant family in Drysa [nka Verkhnyadzvinsk], Vitebsk province, in 1863. In 1879, after completing the pro-gymnasium, he enrolled in the Catholic Seminary in St. Petersburg and was ordained May 4, 1886, for the Archdiocese of Mogiliev. He completed a master’s degree in theology at the Catholic Theological Academy in St. Petersburg. Served as vicar of a parish in Minsk; from November 24, 1888, served as assistant to the Inspector of the Theological Academy in St. Petersburg; from August 31, 1889, he was an adjunct professor of Biblical Archeology at the Seminary and Academy. From September 17, 1890, he was a religion teacher in a gymnasium and a real school in Gurevich and in the Aleksandrov Cadet Corps in St. Petersburg; he also fulfilled the duties of Inspector and instructor at the Seminary. On September 17, 1893, he was awarded the pectoral cross. From September 1893 he was vicar of St. Catherine parish and a religion teacher in girls’ high schools in St. Petersburg; in December he was sent to serve in Novgorod Diocese. From October 1896 he was pastor of the parish in Cherikov, outside Mogiliev, and dean of Cherikov-Chaussy; in December 1899 he was appointed pastor of the parish in Bykhov and dean of the Rogachev-Bykhov deanery. From 1904 he served at St. Barbara Church in Vitebsk; from 1906 he was pastor of the parish in Nesvizh and dean of Slutsk; from 1908, pastor of the parish in Dvinsk; from 1910 he was again at St. Barbara Church in Vitebsk. In 1914 he served for a short time in at [Holy Trinity] parish in Rositsa. From 1914 he served at the parish in Omsk and was dean of Siberia. There is evidence that he was being persecuted by tsarist authorities. In June 1921 he arrived in Smolensk where he became pastor and also tended parishes in Bryansk and Tula. Parishioners noticed his kindness, attentiveness and justice. Under his active participation, the construction of a church in Mazaltsevo, outside Smolensk, was resumed. He also took care of the sisters of the Congregation of Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who were living in Vasilievsk, outside Smolensk. February 23, 1922 – the valuables at Fr. Chryzogon’s church were seized and he actively protested. In December 1923 a case was brought against Fr. Chryzogon on charges of “hiding and misappropriating church valuables when they were being seized by government decree” [OGPU Collegium, Western Krae]. May 17, 1924 – case closed for “insufficient proof.” But the OGPU did not cease to watch him – he was required to get the authorities’ permission for all his travels among his parishes. Perhaps it was for this reason that there was a split in his parish and Fr. Chryzogon left Smolensk and went to serve in Roslavl, Smolensk oblast, where he lived with his elderly aunt, A. Wojtkiewicz. He tended the parish in Orel. June 29, 1927 – he was again arrested and sent for further investigation to Smolensk Prison. The charges stated that “as pastor of the Smolensk parish he had systematically led certain anti-Soviet agitation, speaking out in his sermons in the church, he expressed his overt dissatisfaction with the fact that the Polish population were nurturing their children in a Communist spirit, allow them to attend Soviet schools and theatres and even allowing them to sing revolutionary songs, saying that this was no good, that soon the Bolsheviks would be gone, that this regime was temporary.” His recommendations for parishioners at the Polish consulate for their exit visas to Poland also became a serious charge against him, as it gave the investigators grounds for presenting him as an “agent of the Polish bourgeois state.” Fr. Chryzogon did not acknowledge himself guilty. His parishioners from Roslavl more than once tried to gain the release of their powerless pastor, but they were unsuccessful. In his serious physical and moral state, Fr. Chryzogon more than once requested the investigator to send him a priest for his confession, and his relative Anna Szejkus actively helped him in this respect; after long and persistent petitioning to the GPU and the Polish Red Cross she finally managed for the invitation of a priest for his confession. April 22, 1930 – sentenced under Article 58-10 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to five years in corrective labor camp with loss of rights for three years [Special Troika, Smolensk Dist. Ct.]. He was supposed to have been sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp, but on September 10, 1930, he died in Smolensk Prison. Thanks to the efforts of Maria Komarovskaya (Sr. Magdalina, OP), a Catholic of the Eastern Rite and a Dominican Sister of the Abrikosova community, his body was buried in the Catholic cemetery next to the church. Sources: Archive of the Directorate, FSB, Smolensk oblast; GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 3974; Ilkevich, pp. 60-79; Osipova (1996), p. 191; Dzwonkowski, pp. 398-399; Madała, pp. 127-128
Variant Names:
Przemocki, Chryzogon; Przhemot︠s︡kiĭ, Khrizogon Terent'evich
Dates:
1863-1930
Locations:
Saint Petersburg (Russia); Mahili︠o︡ŭski rai︠o︡n (Belarus); Minsk (Belarus); Chėrykaŭ (Belarus); Vitsebsk (Belarus)
Subjects:
male; clergy and religious; died in prison