Biography of Father Bolesƚaw Żyliński

Born in 1894. Studied at the Archdiocesan Seminary in St. Petersburg and Zhytomyr Seminary; after they were closed he completed his studies in Tarnów, Poland, and was ordained in 1920 for the Diocese of Lutsk-Zhytomyr. He was sent by Bishop Ignacy Dub-Dubowski to serve in Ukraine, and thus on November 23, 1923, he illegally crossed the Soviet border. He served in Ovruch, Veledniki, Labun and Olevsk, Volyn oblast, where he was arrested on February 12, 1926. In March he was transferred to Chernihiv Prison for further investigation. August 6, 1926 – sentenced to death, and for four years and eight months he was on death row in Chernihiv Prison. Even the ambassador of France appealed to Litvinov, deputy of the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, regarding his case. The Polish Red Cross placed his name on lists for prisoner exchanges more than once, but the GPU agents regularly crossed it out. In December 1929 he was transferred to Butyrka Prison; June 28, 1930 – sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp. July 21, 1930 – he fled from the transit prison outside Arkhangelsk and on September 11 he made it to Warsaw. Until 1937 he served as administrator of the parish in Powórsk, Kowel deanery; from 1937 he was in Ludwipol, outside Korzec. Fr. Bolesƚaw tragically died in 1939, during the Soviet occupation (exact date and place of death unknown). In 1931 Fr. Bolesƚaw’s memoirs were published in Poland; in his memoirs he stated he believed his active pastoral ministry and his patriotism were the causes of his arrest and hard sentence. “Of the 8,000 Poles in the four parishes I tended, there were only seven Bolsheviks; Polish youth firmly held onto their Catholic faith; I baptized sick children who had not even been registered at the village council; I saved brother priests, and I preached to my parishioners that Poland is their homeland.” Source: Dzwonkowski, pp. 542-543; GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 1721; Madała, p. 181
Variant Names:
Żyliński, Bolesƚaw; Zhilinskiĭ, Boleslav I︠U︡zefovich
Saint Petersburg (Russia); Z︠H︡ytomyr (Ukraine); Volynsʹka oblastʹ (Ukraine); Chernihiv (Ukraine); Tarnów (Województwo Małopolskie, Poland); Povorsk (Ukraine); Warsaw (Poland)
male; clergy and religious; died in prison