Hieromartyrs, Martyrs And Confessors Of Elisavettgrad Region

In 1918 a priest of the Elizavetgrad province, Kazansky, was killed.

(Source: Vladimir Rusak, Pir Satany, London, Canada: "Zarya", 1991, p. 33)


In May, 1927, after the OGPU had exiled Bishop Onuphrius of Elisavettgrad, and then his successor Bishop Macarius, Archimandrite Barsonuphius (Yurchenko) went to Elisavettgrad illegally and organized a meeting of the local clergy. At this meeting a protocol was drawn up handing the right of administering the diocese, in accordance with the wishes of Bishop Onuphrius, to Fr. Gregory Seletsky. The latter, a graduate of Zurich universtiy, had been exiled to Kharkov in 1926. He arrived in Elisavettgrad from Kharkov in September, 1927, shortly after the publication of Sergius' declaration, settled in the flat of the dean, Protopriest N.V. Vinogradsky, and conducted a meeting of the clergy. During this meeting Fr. Gregory strongly criticized the declaration, but only three out of the six priests present supported him.

Protopriest Nicholas Vasilyevich Vinogradov was born in 1868 in Tiraspol, in the family of a priest. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood and served in the church of SS. Peter and Paul in Elisavettgrad. In 1926 he was under investigation on a charge of anti-soviet agitation, but was released after two months. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years exile in the northern regions.

After finding little support in Elisavettgrad, Fr. Gregory went to Moscow. His attempt to influence Metropolitan Sergius in a personal meeting proved fruitless. He met M.A. Novoselov, who strongly criticized Sergius and spoke of the necessity of breaking with him. He also met Professor A.F. Losev, and Protopriests Mechev and Vorobiev.

Meanwhile, in Elisavettgrad, after Metropolitan Michael of the Ukraine issued his sergianist declaration in December, 1927, the three sergianist parishes in the city de facto broke with Sergius. In this decision the influence of Fr. Gregory was evident. However, the situation changed in the spring of 1928. The authorities first closed the Znamenskaya "Bykovskaya" church. Thenthey handed over the Pokrov church on Kovalevka, whose superior had once been Fr. Gregory, to the renovationists. And then, in May, there took place a schism in the remaining church of SS. Peter and Paul - the priests M.I. Romanovsky, V.P. Sokolov and S.P. Kovalev accepted the declaration and joined Metropolitan Sergius. In January, 1929 they succeeded in organizing their own community and received the Skobyashchenskaya church in Nikolayevskaya slobodka from the authorities. However, these priests later joined the True Church.

Protopriest Michael Ivanovich Romanovsky was born in 1870 in the village of Chashino, Kashin uyezd, Tver province, in the family of a reader. In 1894 he finished his studies at the Tver theological seminary. He was a reader in the Pokrov yedinovertsy church in Torzhok. In 1897 he was ordained to the priesthood. He served in the church of the cavalry school in the Caucasus, from 1904 - in Elisavettgrad, and from 1920 - in the cemetery church. In 1932 he was arrested and sentenced to six months' hard labour. On July 15, 1927 he was arrested and accused of antisoviet agitation, but was released after two months. He was raised to the rank of protopriest. He served in the Skorbyashchenskaya church. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the northern regions.

Fr. Basil Petrovich Sokolov was born in 1883 in the village of Drapino, Spassky uyezd, Tambov province, in the family of a priest. He finished his studies at the Tambov theological seminary and the Kiev Theological Academy. Until 1914 he was a teacher in Kiev, from 1914 to 1917 - in St. Petersburg, and from 1918 - in Oster, Chernigov province. In 1920 he was ordained to the priesthood and served in the church in the village of Krivokolenovo, Uman uyezd, and from 1923 - in the SS. Peter and Paul church in Elisavettgrad. He rejected the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, but refused to joined Archbishop Demetrius. In 1927 he was under investigation on a charge of antisoviet agitation. The charge was dropped. On February 15, 1930 the interview of Metropolitan Sergius denying the persecution of religion in the Soviet Union was published. Fr. Basil was upset and decided to separate from Sergius. On May 22, 1930 he met Bishop Paul (Kratirov) in Kharkov and presented his view on the sergianist hierarchs as being subject to ecclesiastical trial, but not deprived of grace (that was the opinion of the Elisavettgrad Josephites). Vladyka supported Fr. Basil and received him into communion. Fr. Basil left the Skorbyshchenskaya church, but was not accepted by the clergy of the SS. Peter and Paul church, who demanded public repentance from him. Fr. Basil did not agree with this condition, and until his arrest lived in Elisavettgrad, serving in flats. Besides Bishop Paul, he maintained links with the Kievans - the priests Fr. Anatolius Zhurakovsky, and the professors Ekzemplyrsky and Kudryavtsev. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the camps.

Protopriest Semyon Pantaleimonovich Kovalev was born in 1876 in Elisavettgrad, in the family of a priest. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood. In 1921 he was arrested, but released within a month. He served in the Skorbyshchenskaya church in Elisavettgrad. In 1927 he was arrested on a charge of antisoviet agitation, but was released after two months. He was raised to the rank of protopriest. On March 10, 1931 he was arrested as the leader of the Elisavettgrad cell of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the north.

The Josephite clergy in the SS. Peter and Paul church were: Protopriest Nicholas Vinogradov, the priests Plato Kupchevsky, Paul Dashkeyev, John Lyubansky and Victor Ognevtsev, and the deacons Michael Donne and Azbukin.

Fr. Plato Fedotovich Kupchevsky was born in 1866 in the village of Orzhipol, Odessa province, in the family of a priest. In 1887 he finished his studies at the Odessa theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood and served in the Greek church in Odessa, and later in the SS. Peter and Paul church in Elisavettgrad. In 1923 he was under investigation on a charge of antisoviet agitation. In July, 1929 he was arrested, but was soon released. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the northern regions.

Fr. Paul Grigoryevich Dashkeyev was born in 1870 in Belgorod, Kursk province, in the family of a deacon. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood and served in the SS. Peter and Paul church in Elisavettgrad. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church and as a participant in the "military officers' counter-revolutionary organization". On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the northern regions.

Fr. Ivan Nikolayevich Lyubavksy was born in 1863 in the village of Philippovo, Zaraisk uyezd, Ryazan province, in the family of a reader. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood and served in the church of SS. Peter and Paul in Elisavettgrad. On April 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the northern regions.

Fr. Victor Ivanovich Ognivtsev was born in 1867 in the village of Syrtsovo, Kursk province. He finished his studies at a theological seminary and served in a church in Elisavettgrad. In 1924 he was arrested and sentenced to one year's hard labour. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the northern regions.

Fr. Michael Dmitrievich Donne was born in 1883 in the village of Malo-Rovnoye, Elisavettgrad okrug. He was not well educated. He was ordained to the diaconate and served in the church of SS. Peter and Paul in Elisavettgrad. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the camps.

In the summer of 1928 (or according to other sources, in January, 1929) Frs. Gregory Seletsky and Nicholas Vinogradov took a written petition from the Elisavettgrad diocese to come under the omophorion of Bishop Demetrius (Lyubimov). Vladyka Demetrius agreed, gave them an official document and appointed Fr. Nicholas dean. He also gave the latter some Josephite appeals and ten books from the former library of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. However, he advised them in case of necessity to be served by Bishop Paul, since he was the nearest Josephite archpastor. It is interesting that Fr. Gregory brought from Protopriest Theodore Andreyev in Leningrad a letter from Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), first-hierarch of the Russian Church in exile.

Archbishop Demetrius also ordained priests for the Elisavettgrad Church (for example, Deacon Gabriel Bandurko), consecrated antiminses, provided holy chrism and imposed ecclesiastical penances. Because of the long distances involved, he did not make appointments or transfers, but entrusted these to Fr. Nicholas. Candidates for the priesthood always had to receive a recommendation from the dean before going to Leningrad for ordination. Fr. Nicholas was Fr. Gregory's spiritual father and enjoyed a high reputation among the village parishes of the Elisavettgrad okrug.

Fourteen churches entered into Fr. Nicholas' deanery: in the city of Bobrinsk and the villages of Savichevka, Kampaneyevka, Lelyakovka, Bolshaya Vyska, Ositnyzhki, Krasnovershka, Sasovka, Gubovka, Severinovka, Gilniya, Fyodorovka, Orlovo-Balka, and Palievka. Besides, in January, 1929 the parishes in the villages of Tarasovka and Kalinovka joined the Josephites; in Kalinovka the laypeople expelled the sergianist priest. Also in 1929 a group of priests from the Blagodatsky region decided to go over to Archbishop Demetrius: Joseph Korolchuck, Macarius Tsykin, Molodochenko and Naidovsky, who served in the churches of the village of the Blagodatnoye, Semenovka and others. Vladyka, on receiving their petition, sent to Fr. Nicholas, and in future entrusted them to his administration.

In Elisavettgrad okrug there existed one more independent Josephite deanery: the Elisavettgradskoye, led by Protopriest Nicholas Kirillovich Rossinsky. He was born in 1870 in the village of Velikaya Topol, Novozybkovsky uyezd, Chernigov province, in the family of a priest. He finished his studies at a theological seminary. He served as superior of the Kazan church in the village of Elisavettgradka and joined Archbishop Demetrius through the combined work of Frs. Gregory and Nicholas. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the northern regions.

In Fr. Nicholas Rossinsky's deanery there eight to nine parishes: inthe villages of Dmitrievka, Krasnoselye, Kazarni, Dolino-Kamenka in Znamensky region, Mikhailovka, Verkhnij Bajraki in Elisavettgrad region and others.At the beginning of the 1920s Archimandrite Barsonuphius had served in the church in Verkhnij Vajraki, and in 1929 he visited his former parishioners.

The authorities tried to stop the spread of the Josephite movement with repressions. Already in 1928 the superior of the church in the village of Ositnyazhki, Fr. Sergius Ivakhnyuk, was arrested and exiled to Siberia. His place was taken by the priest Fr. John Melnikov.

In 1930 the repressions intensified. Fr. John Melnikov and Fr. Peter Matkovskiye from the Elisavettgrad deanery were shot. The priest Tarasov,the priest Sergius Nenko, the reader of the church in the village of Akimovka, Khmelevsky region, Boris Yegorov, were exiled. And yet the movement of sergianist priests into the True Orthodox Church continued. It was accompanied by a special rite of repentance. In 1930 such repentance was offered by the priests Odnosum, Basil Alexeyev, Basil Kravchenko and others. And in 1930, as we have seen, Fr. Basil Sokolov joined the Josephites, but under Bishop Paul.

An important part in the story of Fr. Basil Sokolov was played by the tense relations between Protopriest Gregory Seletsky and Archimandrite Barsonuphius with Bishop Paul. At the same time these priests had good relations with the followers of Bishop Alexis (Buj). Thus from the summerof 1930 the watchman of the SS. Peter and Paul church was the priest Fr. Gabriel Gubarevsky, who had been exiled from the Central Black Earth region. He performed some cleaning duties and served only rarely in church.

Fr. Gabriel Yakovlevich Gubarevsky was born in 1878 in the village of Zaitsevo, Rossoshansky uyezd, Odessa province. He finished his studies ata theological seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood. In 1929 he was arrested and sentenced to five years' exile. He was sent to Archangelsk province. He was released but restricted to living in six major cities. He lived and served as a reader in the SS. Peter and Paul church in Elisavettgrad. On January 16, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the affair of the Elisavettgrad group of the Odessa branch of the True Orthodox Church. On December 14, 1931 he was sentenced in accordance with article 58-10 to three years' exile in the camps.

It was because the Elisavettgrad Josephites did not recognize Bishop Paul that they remained without a hierarch after the arrest of Archbishop Demetrius. Therefore it was planned to make Fr. Gregory a secret bishop. In May, 1930 Archimandrite Barsonuphius and Fr. Nicetas Olshansky arrived in Elisavettgrad from Alexandria okrug with the aim of putting forward the question of the election and consecration of a new True Orthodox hierarch. The secret meeting, at which all the clergy of the city were present, elected Fr. Gregory. True, Fr. Nicholas Vinogradov, wishing to remain within the limits of legality, did not want to have a secret bishop. Therefore in September Archimandrite Barsonuphius again came to Elisavettgrad and insisted on Fr. Gregory'' candidature. However, the wave of arrests in 1931 prevented the realization of this project.

On January 15, 1931 the OGPU arrested sixteen clergy in the Elisavettgrad okrug, including Fr. Nicholas Vinogradov, Fr. Basil Sokolov, Fr. Gabriel Gubarevsky, Fr. Nicholas Rossinksy, Fr. Victor Ognivtsev, Fr. Plato Kupchevksy, Fr. Paul Dashkeyev, Fr. Ivan Lubyavsky, 13 of them were charged in connection with the affair of the True Orthodox Church in the Ukraine. At the same time charges were fabricated in connection with a second affair, the "Elisavettgrad military officers' counter-revolutionary organization", which supposedly had existed in the city since 1924 under the leadership of Colonel A.S. Karpenko. From the moment of its inception the organization supposedly included among its members Fr. Michael Romanovsky, who in 1927 drew the priests Kovalev, Vinogradov, Sokolov, Dashkeyev, Kupchevsky and Lyubavsky into it. Thus on Karpenko's "orders" an ecclesiastical antisoviet cell was created. 81 people were arrested in connection with this second affair.

(Sources: M.V. Shkarovsky, "Istinno-Pravoslavniye khristiane na Ukraine",48, N 10 (586), October, 1998; pp. 23-26; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' ogn' mucheniji vody slyoz", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, pp. 300, 304, 310, 313-14, 315, 318, 323, 327, 396)





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