Aug 27 – Servant of God Fr. Igor Aleksandrovich Akulov (Epiphany, Epiphanius), (1897-1937) – Priest, Martyr, Victim of Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge

Fr. Epiphany was born 13 April 1897, Novo-Nikitskaya, Korchevsky County, province of Tver and was executed on 27 August 1937, Leningrad. He was a Russian orthodox monk and priest of the Russian Catholic Church, and a victim of Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge.

Igor Aleksandrovich Akulov was born into a family of orthodox peasant farmers. He graduated from Technical High School (2009). In 1918-1920 worked as a telephone clerk at the Moscow – Saint Petersburg Railway. During the Russian Civil War, he was mobilized and served in the Red Army as a noncombatant. From 1920 he became a postulant at the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and studied at the Petrograd Theological Institute (1920–1922). On 2 July 1921 he was tonsured a Russian Orthodox monk with the name of Brother Epiphany.

After meeting with Exarch Leonid Fyodorov, and under his influence Brother Epiphany Akulov began attending Eastern Rite Catholic Liturgies, and in the summer of 1922 was received into the Russian Catholic Church. In 1921, he was ordained as an Eastern Catholic priest by Archbishop Jan Cieplak. After August 1922 he was the Pastor of the Byzantine Catholic Church of the Descent of the Holy Ghost in Petrograd. He also served in the Latin parish of St. Boniface. According to Leonid Fedorov:

By the infinite mercy of God, and there has not left us, sent us a young priest-monk Epiphanius. He came to us in the midst of the struggle for the Church, but was not scared and did not retreat. He was not touched by Protestantism and rationalism. He serves well…”

In 1923, after the closure of the church, he secretly served at an apartment.  23 November 1923 he was arrested. After the arrests of other priests and their parishioners (during which he was not in Petrograd), he went to the police station and claimed to be a priest and Catholic. He was accused of the Catholic counter-revolutionary organization.  19 May 1924 was sentenced to 10 years in prison, was in political prison near the Irkutsk.  While Fr. Epiphanius was imprisoned, he corresponded with his elderly mother. In his letters, he tried to persuade her to remain as a steadfast Catholic. In 1927 released early and sent into exile. In 1933 he was freed from exile, he served in various churches in St. Petersburg.

In 1935 Akulov was arrested again for a short time. 26 July 1937 he was arrested and on Aug. 25 he was sentenced to death and executed on August 27. He was buried at Levashovo Mass Grave in St. Petersburg, a desolate area near the city.

O God Almighty, Your Son suffered on the Cross and died for the salvation of people.  Imitating Him, Your Servant Fr. Epiphany Akulov loved You from the bottom of his heart, served You faithfully during the persecutions, and devoted his life to the Church. Make him known in the assembly of Your blessed so that the example of his faithfulness and love would shine before the whole world. I pray to You through his intercession, hear my request ………………through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The prayer has to be used in private, as well as in public, out of the Holy Mass.
+ Archbishop Thaddeus Kondrusiewich, St. Petersburg 05.04.2004
Postulator asks to inform about the graces received through the mediation of the Servant of God.
Address: Fr. Bronislav Chaplicki, 1st Krasnoarmyskaya, D.11, 198005, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Love,
Matthew

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