Biography of Father Alexander Astramovich

Born November 26/December 7, 1878, in Novosady, Vilnius province. He was a Roman Catholic priest and a poet [pen name – Andrej Ziaziula]. Studied in Halshany (1888-1890) and Ashmyany schools (1890-1892). From 1901 to 1903 he was in military service. In 1903-1904 he unsuccessfully attempted to enroll in Vilnius Catholic Seminary. In 1905 he went to St. Petersburg and again began to prepare for entry into the seminary. In January 1906 he passed the pharmacy apprenticeship examination. From 1906 to 1911 he studied at the Mogiliev Archdiocesan Seminary in St. Petersburg. Ordained in 1910. During his studies, under the influence of a fellow countryman, A. Lisovski, he joined the Belorussian cultural and religious movement. He organized an association of Belorussian clerics. From 1909 he published in the Belorussian press. He served as a priest in Traby, Rakaw, Sverzhen, Smilovichi, Oboltsi and Senno. He was a proponent of the “Belorussification” of the religious life of Belorussian Catholics and used Belorussian in his pastoral work. He was the author of a collection of poems Z rodnaha zahonu (Vilnius, 1914, reprinted in 1931). His patriotic poem “Slowa praudy ab mowie i doli bielarusa” was issued as a separate brochure (1917). Together with A. Grinevich, he recorded and published Belorussian folk songs. He was one of the organizers of the First Congress of Belorussian Catholic Priests (Minsk, May 24-25, 1917). After the proclamation of the Belorussian National Republic [White Ruthenian Democratic Republic, March 1918], at the behest of the People’s Secretariat, he organized regional councils in Mogiliev province. He was persecuted by Bolshevik authorities for his nationalistic and religious activity; he was arrested and spent several weeks in the prison of the Vitebsk Cheka. The last year of his life he worked in Senno. Died January 17, 1921; buried in the local cemetery. Source: Several sources, but all seem to relate to his poetic works
Variant Names:
Astramovich, Alexander; Astramovich, Aleksandr
Vilniaus apskritis (Lithuania); Golʹshany (Belarus); Ashmi︠a︡ny (Belarus); Saint Petersburg (Russia); Mahili︠o︡ŭ (Belarus); Smilavichy (Belarus); Traby (Belarus); Si︠a︡nno (Vitsebskai︠a︡ voblastsʹ, Belarus); Vitsebsk (Belarus)
male; clergy and religious; survived