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The execution of the prelate Konstantin Budkiewicz in March 1923, as well as an open court trial that took place in Moscow, shocked public opinion in Poland and abroad. Archbishop Jan Cieplak and the dean of Piotrogrod, Father Budkiewicz, were sentenced to death, while other clergy received less several sentences from 3 to 10 years in the Gulag. The governments of Poland, Germany, France, the United States, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Spain, England and other countries sent protest notes. After was shot of Budkiewicz, as a resulr of international protest, the archbishop was expelled from the Soviet Union. 13 priests return to their pastoral duties in Piotrogrod after serving their punishment. Threatened with renewed arrest, part of the priests in the exchange of prisoners left the Soviet Union until 1934. Bishop Antoni Malecki was the last to come to Poland, exhauted by prisonment and exile, a few months after return he died in Warsaw. The others died in the Gulag after arrrested or were shot in the following years.
A testimony written down by priests imprisoned in 1923 about the martyrdom of Father Budkiewicz id present to a wider group of readers. It describes almost a whole month of his life before the execution od the death sentence. For almost 20 yers Fr. Budkiewicz was the parish priest of the largest parish in St. Catherine in St. Petersburg. Several primary schools, two middle schools, a charity society and fraternities operated at the parish. The cultural and Polnish community life was also concentrated here. Father Budkiewicz, since 1908 also was the Dean of St. Petersburg, took care of more than 40 parishes and chapels in the vast area of Pskov, Novgorod and Finland. In the 1918 he became prelate and Vicar General for Bishop Jan Cieplak, who served in Petersburg. After the Bolsheviks came to power, he bravely defended the rights of the Church and organised the clergy. From 1922 he was professor in the underground seminary. Threatened with arrest, he refused to go to Poland twice. He considered it his duty to remain in the clergy under his authority and to remain faithful to the end. The protocol written down by the priests imprisoned with him was transmitted through diplomatic channels to Poland and then to the Holy See. It became a testimony to the martyrdom of the Catholic Church in the Soviet Union. Father Budkiewicz`s cause for sainthood was opened in 2003 and remains under investigation.
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