Athanasius, Bishop And Hieromartyr Of Skvirsk

Bishop Athanasius, in the world James Afanasyevich Molchanovsky, was born in 1887, the son of a church reader from the village of Yaranachei, Belotserkovsky region, Kiev province (according to another source, in the village of Parkhomenk, St. Petersburg province). He graduated from the Kiev Theological Academy, where he was leader of the Academy's choir. On leaving the Academy he was ordained to the priesthood. He served in Kiev in the church of the Entrance of the Mother of God in Podol, and then in the Pritisko-Nikolsky church in Kiev. He separated from his wife and in 1924 became a monk.

From August, 1924 to September, 1925 he was in prison in Kiev. In 1925 (according to another source, 1924) he was secretly consecrated bishop of Skvirsk and Berdichev, a vicariate of the Kiev diocese, in the Near Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra by Archbishop Macarius of Uman and Bishop Parthenius of Ananiev. In 1925-26 he lived in the Holy Trinity Ioninsky monastery in Kiev, where he constantly served, temporarily administering the Kiev diocese. He was a fine preacher. In May, 1926 he was exiled to Kursk, whence, in September, he was exiled to Moscow, and in October - to Omsk.

It was planned that he should continue to serve as a priest, and serve as a secret bishop only when that became necessary. It became necessary after the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius in 1927. He broke communion with Sergius at that time.

According to one (dubious) source, in 1928 Vladyka Athanasius signed the decisions of the so-called "Nomadic Council" of the Catacomb Church through Monk Paisius.

In 1929 he was arrested in Omsk and sentenced to three years in the camps. From 1929 to 1930 he was on Solovki, but was released early, in 1930.On February 5, 1933 he was arrested and sentenced to three years in the camps. From 1933 to 1934 he was in prison on Solovki and on December 2, 1934 he was arrested "for anti-Soviet activity and beating up a prisoner". He was sentenced to five years in the camps, which he served from 1934 to 1938 in Siberia. In 1938 he was arrested in camp, sentenced and shot on September 23, 1938. According to another source, he died in about 1934.

(Sources: Russkye Pravoslavnye Ierarkhi, Paris: YMCA Press, 1986, p. 17; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1957, vol. II, pp. 90-91; M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyatejshego Patriarkha Tikhona, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, p. 964; Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Moscow: Krutitskoye patriarsheye podvorye, 1996, p. 607; Ikh Stradaniyami Ochistitsa rus', Moscow, 1996, p. 60; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Katakombnaya Tserkov': Kochuyushchij Sobor 1928 g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 3 (7), 1997, p. 20; "Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997gg.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4(8), 1997, p. 11; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' Ogn' Muchenij i Vody Slyoz", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, p. 268)

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