Biography of Father Jean Nicolas, AA

Born November 2, 1901, in Marly, France. In 1919 he graduated from gymnasium in Saint-Maur. Entered the Order of the Augustinians of the Assumptionist at the monastery in Saint-Gérard, Belgium, where he studied theology. In 1921 he was called up for military service; he served as a rank and file soldier in Nantes, France, and in Constantinople, Turkey. In 1923, after demobilization, he taught French at an elementary school in Varna, Bulgaria; in 1924 he returned to the monastery in Saint-Gérard where he continued his studies; from 1926 he was at Louvain University in Belgium, where he also taught French literature. Ordained in 1929. Served in Louvain; from September 1930 he served in Beyush, Romania. In December 1942 and July 1943, during the German occupation, he went to Odessa where he was involved in the repair of the French church [St. Pierre]. From December 23, 1943, after official registration with the authorities, he began to serve at this church along with Fr. Pietro Leoni. April 29, 1945 – arrested along with Fr. Leoni in a case against Catholic clergy and laity (Leoni et al.). September 13, 1945 – presented with the indictment, which stated regarding his activity: “Being inimically disposed against the Soviet regime, [Nicolas] carried out anti-Soviet agitation among the population of the city of Odessa, speaking out about the need for a change to the existing structure in the USSR. In May 1945, in meeting with officers of the French Army and the secretary of the French embassy in Moscow, he informed them about the situation in the city of Odessa.” November 12, 1945 – sentenced under Articles 58-6 and 58-10(2) of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to eight years in corrective labor camp [Special Board, USSR Ministry of State Security]. Transported to Moscow and held in Butyrka Prison, where he had his last meeting with Fr. Pietro Leoni who had been arrested with him in Odessa. From January 2, 1946, he was in Karlag where he worked at a furniture factory; in December 1949 he was transported to Vorkutlag where he worked in a coal mine; later he managed to get a job as a decorator-designer. April 18, 1953 – released early from the camp; remained in Vorkuta to work on office construction. Later deported to Potma and then to Syktyvkar. In early 1954 he was released from exile and on June 22, 1954, he departed for France. He spent many years writing icons and preaching missions in high schools in Lyons, Metz and Letrinen [Latresne?]. He lived his last years in Bordeaux, where he died February 13, 1984. Sources: Odesskii martirolog, p. 2; Osipova (1996), p. 187; Pokaianie, pp. 352-354; Investigatory Matter 7884, Archive TsGAOO (Ukraine); Schnurr, p. 377
Variant Names:
Nicolas, Jean; Nikoli︠a︡, Zhan Mavrit'evich
Marly-le-Roi (France); Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (France); Nantes (France); Constantinople; Varna (Bulgaria); Moscow (Russia); Qaraghandy (Kazakhstan); Komi (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; survived