(The archive of Federal
Security Service Directorate of the Khabarovsk Territory, file № P-94276)
The archpriest Vladimir Ivanovich
Izvolsky was born in 1890 in the Tula province. The only thing we know about his
family is that it belonged to clerical order. Brought up in Orthodox traditions, the
future Martyr consciously chose devotion to God and to His Church as his course
of life. After he graduated from the Theological Seminary, he got married and
was consecrated a priest, and then was appointed a teacher of the Solikamsk
Theological School. In 1918 after liquidation of that school Fr. Vladimir
petitioned the Chief of the Russian Spiritual Mission in China
for a new position. Soon afterwards he was enrolled on Mission's staff and was
sent to Urumqi (formerly Dihua迪化) in Northwest China.
Fr. Vladimir went to China in May
1919, when the army of Kolchak conquered Solikamsk. He crossed the border with
detachment of Kolchak's army, which he joined in Omsk — the army of the White
General started retreating. The way to Urumqi wasn't easy: on the way, in
Onahai, he had typhus. But, God willing, in spite of difficulties Fr. Vladimir
got to the destination.
In 1924 the Chief of the Mission
sent him to Changchun in Northeast China to become a rector of a church.
Fr. Vladimir also started working as a volunteer director of Changchun gymnasium for children of Russian
emigrants, besides teaching them the law of God and Latin.
At that time numerous Russian
political refugees were moving to China, and many of them were in need. In order to
help them in the midst of white emigrants a charitable organization called
"International committee" was established. The committee's functions included
the establishment of orphan's houses, homes for invalids, comprehensive schools,
industrial schools, ambulance stations, chemists shops, free canteens, libraries
The committee basically performed
the work for charitable donations. One of the main contributor was the famous
Russian patron Elizaveta Nikolaevna Litvinova, who was the widow of the
well-known merchant S.V. Litvinov.
The bishop of Hankou Jonah
the head of the committee. He was an eminent pastor and preacher, man of faith
and wonderworker, he had a spiritual connection with elderly monks of the Optina
Hermitage and the Sedmiezersk Hermitage, while alive he has already been
honoured as a saint. (In 1996, Bishop Jonah was glorified by the Russian Orhodox
Church Abroad, memory October 7(20). ref.: Koncevich I.M. "The Optina
Hermitage and its time", 1995, pp. 580-589). Bishop Jonah noticed Fr.
Vladimir Izvolsky's pastoral zeal, considered him as a man who thought and felt
the same way as him, so he made him his assistant. About that time, Fr. Vladimir
was elevated to the rank of Archpriest for his zealous service to the
In October 1925 Bishop Jonah
reposed. According to his will, supported with directions of the Chief of the
Mission, in November of that year Archpriest Vladimir Izvolsky was transferred
from Changchun to the town of Manzhouli and was appointed the chairman of the
International Committee in place of him.
The new chairman appeared to be the
worthy successor of Bishop Jonah. At that time Fr. Vladimir was appointed
the metochion's steward of one of the Russian monastery in Manchuria.
He often had to go on Committee
business to Beijing to the Chief of the Mission Archbishop Innokenty, and to
Shanghai to Innokenty's vicar Bishop Simon (Vinogradov). In 1927 in Shanghai Fr.
Vladimir has met such eminent white emigrants as former Russian Counsul-General
in China V.F. Grosse, and General M.K. Diterihs, who formerly was the main
helper of Admiral A.V. Kolchak and was responsible for his administration in Far
His tireless active service to God
and neighbors was the background for his main feat in his mortal life — the feat
of martyrdom in Christ's name. On January 10, 1930 soon after the Sino-Soviet
conflict on the Chinese Eastern Railway, Archpriest Vladimir Ivanovich
Izvolsky was taken out of China and sent to Habarovsk by counterintelligence
agents of the Unified State Political Department's Permanent Mission of the Far
East Region. They brought the indictment against him pursuant to infamous
article 58, paragraph 4: "participation in counterintelligence
organization" the Soviet government meant the Charitable International
Committee, as it helped indigent white emigrants and their children. During the
interrogation Fr. Vladimir was also accused of "his escaping to China with the
detachment of Kolchak's army in 1919". As well he was accused of "making
counerintelligence leaflets", by which interrogators meant spiritiul leaflets,
devoted to the memory of Bishop Jonah. Besides, he was inculpated in
"distribution of monarchial and fascist literature", that were books published
by Russian emigrants.
During the inquisition they also
mentioned Fr. Vladimir's "contacts with eminent white emigrants" - the only
meeting with Grosse and Diterihs in Shanghai. They as well remarked he
frequently served offices for the dead — the executed Imperial Family and Grand
Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich.
He was also charged with "giving
monetary assistance to Chinese policemen funded from white emigrants", by
what they meant sending 25 rubles as
reward for detecting theft from the church. Policemen refused to take the
money, but instead just asked Fr. Vladimir for blessing. But this fact wasn't
found extenuatory. Habarovsk KGB serviceman remembered that in the early 1920s
when Fr. Vladimir was still living in Urumqi, he had posted the
Proclamation by the Holy Patriarch Tikhon near his church. That proclamation
invoked defending the Church from the heathen.
Fr. Vladimir during all the
interrogations was acting very brave. "In respect to politics, I should say, I
am not a supporter of the Soviet government", - he directly declared at his last
questioning. According to decree of May 14, 1930 by the Unified State Political
Department, Archpriest Vladimir Ivanovich Izvolsky was sentenced to death by
firing squad. The martyr died on May 16, 1930.
Holy Hieromartyr Vladimir, pray for