At a regular meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on Friday, January 23, 2009, the following act was issued.
Into the List of Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia is Added the Name of Archimandrite Neophytus (Osipov)
On Friday there was a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Patriarch’s Residence in Danilov Monastery.
At the meeting a report was read by the chair of the Synodal Committee for the Canonization of Saints, Metropolitan Juvenally of Krutitsy and Kolomna. The report was about the materials received by the committee regarding the canonization of new-martyrs and confessors of Russia who suffered in different dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Holy Synod ordered to include into the list of new-martyrs and confessors of Russia of the 20th century the name of Archimandrite Neophytus (Osipov; 1875 – November 3, 1937), material about whom was presented by the Moscow diocese, and to inform about his canonization to the heads of all the Local Orthodox Churches for inclusion into the calendar.
Press Service of the Moscow Patriarchate
I have gathered the information which I was able to find on the internet concerning St. Neophytus and have compiled and translated the following.
Neophytus (Nikolai Aleksandrovich Osipov)
St. Neophytus (Nikolai Alexandrovich Osipov) was born into the family of a military doctor on May 5, 1875, in the city of Avgustov in the Suvalsk Province. He studied at the Kholm Theological School and Seminary finishing in 1897 after which he went to study at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy at which he became a candidate in Theology in 1901. While in the academy in 1900 he was tonsured as a monk followed by ordination as a deacon and priest. He soon returned to Kholm where he was an instructor in the Kholm Theological School from 1901 to 1902.
In 1902, he went to Peking to be a member of the Peking Mission where he, an expert in Chinese (as well as Ancient Hebrew) translated services into Chinese. From 1903 to 1905 he was an inspector at the Tikhvin Theological School. He next returned to Kholm where he was the rector at the Kholm Theological Seminary followed by being rector at the Samara Theological Seminary where he was promoted to Archimandrite. He next went to St. Petersburg where he became a member of the Educational Committee of the Holy Synod, senior censor of the Theological Censorship Committee, and a member of the St. Petersburg Diocesan Committee.
He held these posts until 1917 when the Holy Synod was dismissed whereupon he lived his monastic life in Holy Trinity-St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra. He soon moved to Moscow where he was dean and sacristan at the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles in the Kremlin until it was closed in 1918. From 1918 to 1922 he co-served with Patriarch Tikhon at the Holy Trinity Patriarchal Podvorye at Samotyoka, St. Sergius Church (Patriarch’s chapel) until it was seized by the Renovationists in 1922.
Archimandrite Neophytus’ first arrest, as someone close to Patriarch Tikhon, was on May 5, 1922. He was sentenced by the Commission of the NKVD for the administration of deportation on November 25, 1922. He was accused of taking “part in the anti-Soviet activity of Patriarch Tikhon” and sentenced, according to statute 60 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, to three years of exile in the Zyiryan territory. In the verdict, written by Tuchkov, it is said,
The case of Osipov, N.A. was opened in relation to the case of Patriarch Tikhon, Osipov suspected in taking part in the counter-revolutionary activities of the latter. Although no concrete evidence was presented by the investigation which could accuse him, still, taking into account his intimacy with Tikhon as his personal secretary and a member of the Educational Committee of the Synod, which together with Tikhon was definitely conducting counter-revolutionary policy, I consider the further presence of Osipov in Moscow, from a political point of view, unacceptable and, therefore, I would suggest that Citizen Osipov Nikolai Alexandrovich be sent, through administrative channels, to the Zyiryansk District for a period of one (1) year with the necessity to register in the local department of the GPU. The investigation should close his case, joining it to the present case of Tikhon.
During the investigation (May-December 1922), Archimandrite Neophytus was held in the Tagansk prison in Moscow. He was in exile in the village of Ust-Vyim in the Komi (Zyiryan) District. In August 1925, Archimandrite Neophytus appealed to E.P. Peshkova at the Political Red Cross with a request for material aid and shortly received it. On August 24, 1925, he wrote the following to E.P. Peshkova, “I ask you to receive my gratitude for your service of mercy in exceptionally difficulty conditions, gratitude to benefactors who consider church freedom necessary for freedom of society, those benefactors who don’t consider exile to be convincing proof that we don’t have persecution and arrests. Sent “as an archimandrite and secretary of Patriarch Tikhon,” Archimandrite Neophytus Osipov
After his release from exile, he returned to Moscow and lived from 1925 to April 29, 1927, at 28-33 Trubnaya Street. Not being in aggreement with Metropolitan Sergei (Stragorodskii) he departed from him and later joined with the Josaphites. After returning from exile he didn’t serve; he occupied himself with “the study of the Psalter and works” (as he said at an interrogation).
On September 26, 1927, Archimandrite Neophytus was arrested and accused for “distributing among church goers documents recommending for the Church to continue anti-Soviet politics.” At the interrogation he said, “I can’t name Church works with an opinion about the current Church events… I don’t remember where but I read the Solovetsky declaration. I agree with it because it doesn’t teach against the support of the state with one’s work and prayers and doesn’t demand anything not consistent with Orthodox truth.”
On January 6, 1928, he was sentenced by a Special Session of the board of the Joint State Political Directorate under statute 58-10 part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to three years in exile through a representation of the Joint State Political Directorate in Siberia. At the same, time due to an amnestry of June 11, 1927, the sentence was reduced to one quarter of the time.
This time he was exiled for a year to the Novosibirsk region after which he was immediately exiled again on November 23, 1929, under statute 58-10 part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to three years in exile without the right to live in six points of the country with the requirement to register at the place of residence.
After the additional sentencing he was sent through many different prisons and ended up at Mariinskii labor camp in the Kemerovo District. In all he was in exile from 1927 to 1934.
He next returned to Moscow where he was arrested on April 10, 1934, and sentenced to five years in a labor camp under statute 58-10 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Socialists Federative Socialist Republic by a Special Session of the board of the Joint State Political Directorate on June 14, 1935, for “participation in a counter-revolutionary group.”
Sent to the Antibes camp in the Novosibirsk District, Archimandrite Neophytus worked as an orderly, director of storage, statistician, and then in common labor from July 13, 1935, to October 10, 1937, when he was arrested.
The document given by the supervisor of the camp said that, “Nikolai Alexandrovich Osipov…during his time in Antibas camp of NKVD Siblag [Siberian camps] actively took part in a counter-revolutionary group headed by the former professor of the agricultural department, Terekhin, and personally corresponded with him, actively encouraged counter-revolutionary agitation among the inmates. At the end of August, Osipov said to the prisoners, ‘outside they’re arresting people in large numbers accusing them for no reason according to statute 58 and sending them to camp.’ In September he also said to the prisoners, ‘that outside there is nothing in the stores, unlike the abundance we used to have.’ In addition he conducted religious services while working with the crew which distracted the prisoners from work and was persuading them in the truth of religion during the intense time of harvesting work.”
At the only interrogation which was on October 11, 1937, Archimandrite Neophytus categorically denied any participation in counter-revolutionary activity although he didn’t deny his being acquainted with Terekhin, which he met in the camp. The words ascribed to him he heard from someone else but didn’t see anything special in them as all of the prisoners waited hope for release but there was no ground for this. In the presented accusations he did not admit guilt. During the investigation, Archimandrite Neophytus, already a feeble old man was kept in an isolation cell. During a review of the case in 1984 no guilt of the accused besides “a common, everyday conversation” was proved, therefore the accusation “in the encouragement of anti-Soviet agitation and participation in anti-Soviet agitation can’t be considered as having ground.”
On October 28, 1937, he was convicted by a troika of the primary NKVD of the Novosibirsk Region with the accusation that, “while in camp he became a member of a counter-revolution group… favored the activities of the latter and at the same time conducted counter-revolutionary activities among the inmates… performed religious services, openly preached religious views.” Under statute 58-10 and 58-11 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Socialist federative Socialist Republic he was sentenced to capital punishment – execution by shooting in the case named “case of Archimandrite Neophytus (Osipov) and Terekhin M. A. 1937.”
On November 3, 1937, Archimandrite Neophytus was executed at the Mariinskii camp in the Novosibirsk District. His place of burial is unknown (according to the words of Archimandrite Sergei (Gavrilov), a cousin of Archimandrite Neophytus)
Archimandrite Neophytus was rehabilitated on December 21, 1984, by the Presidium of the Kemerovo District Court.