Feodorov, Leonid

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Exarch; b. St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov. 4, 1879; d. Vyatka (or Kirov), Russia, March 7, 1935. Feodorov studied for the priesthood in St. Petersburg at the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Academy, then under the influence of solov'ev, but in 1902 he journeyed to Italy to enter the Catholic Church. On his way, he visited in Lvov Metropolitan Andrĭi sheptyts'kyĬ, under whose guidance he remained all his life. While studying in Rome, he defended the rights of the Ukrainian Rite Catholics in the U.S. In 1911 he was ordained in Constantinople by the Bulgarian Archbishop Mirov, and then entered the Studite monastery of Kamenitza in Bosnia. He took an active part in the conferences in Velegrad concerning reunion. In 1914 he returned to St. Petersburg, but was deported to Tobolsk by the Russian police.

In 1917 he was named exarch of the Russian Catholics of the Russian Rite by Metropolitan Sheptytskyĭ. Benedict XV confirmed his nomination and created him prothonotary apostolic (1921). Feodorov then organized the first Russian Catholic communities of this rite. In 1923 he was tried in Moscow with 15 other Catholics for defending the Church's rights and was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, but he was released in April of 1926. Two months later he was rearrested and sent to the Solovki Islands where he organized a secret liturgical life for the prisoners. He was transferred to Pinega (1929), to Kotlas (1931), and finally to Vyatka (1934).

Unlike the Latin rite clergy in Russia, Feodorov maintained that Russian converts to Catholicism should embrace the Russian rite. He also advocated that this rite be preserved in its purity, unaffected by Latin influence. Before his arrest and while in prison, Feodorov established fraternal contacts with the Orthodox clergy and with Patriarch tikhon. He used to call his communities of Russian Catholics prototypes of the corporate reunion that would take place some day.

Bibliography: p. a. mailleux, Exarch Leonid Feodorov, Bridgebuilder between Rome and Moscow (New York 1964).

[p. a. mailleux]