St. Alexander Hotovitsky (+August 19, 1937)
Commemorated on December 4
St. Alexander was born in the city of Kremenetz, into the pious family of Archpriest Alexander. He received a good Christian upbringing from his parents, who instilled in him love for the Orthodox Church and for the people of God.
St. Alexander was educated at the Volhynia Seminary and the Saint Petersburg Theological Academy, from which he graduated with a Master’s degree in 1895.
After graduation from the Academy, St. Alexander was sent as a missionary to the Diocese of the Aleutians and North America. After his marriage to Maria Scherbuhina, a graduate of the Pavlovsk Institute in Saint Petersburg, he was ordained to the diaconate, and soon after, on February 25, 1896, to the priesthood by Bishop Nicholas (Ziorov) of the Aleutians.
St. Alexander established Orthodox parishes in large and small towns throughout North America as well as an aid society providing material aid to Austrian Carpatho-Russians, Macedonian Slavs, Russian troops in Manchuria, and to Russian prisoners of war in Japanese camps. He also was very involved in constructing the architecturally remarkable and majestic Saint Nicholas Cathedral in New York.
From 1914 to 1917, St, Alexander served as a priest in Helsinki, Finland, where the majority of the population was Protestant. In August 1917, St. Alexander was transferred to Moscow where he participated in the deliberations of the Church Council of 1917-18. He stated that, as the fate of Russia was at stake, the Church and the Council in particular should not shy away from the struggle to save the nation.
In May 1920 and November 1921, St. Alexander was arrested for brief periods. He was accused of violating the decrees concerning the separation of the Church from the state, and the school from the Church, by holding church school for the children. In 1922, the Church was subjected to harsh tribulations when the sacred vessels, icons, and other holy things were violently confiscated by the state.
After two court cases against the Church, which resulted in the executions of hieromartyrs and martyrs, a new trial of clergy and laity began in Moscow on November 27, 1922.
On December 11, defendants were given an opportunity to say a final word to the court. In his comments, St. Alexander attempted, first of all, to obtain the court’s leniency and mercy for his brother clergy. On December 13, the guilty verdict of the revolutionary tribunal was announced. Appeals for pardon, made by those who were sentenced to the longest terms of imprisonment including that of St. Alexander, were rejected.
Following his liberation in 1923, St. Alexander was not assigned to a parish but served by invitation at various churches in Moscow.
He remained free for only a short time. On September 4, 1924, thirteen clergy and church leaders of Moscow, were subjected to administrative exile. St. Alexander was on the list and was exiled to the Turuhan region for three years. His already failing health was further weakened by his travel in the far north.
Following his return from exile, St. Alexander was raised to the rank of protopresbyter. In the fall of 1937, St. Alexander was arrested again.
A majority of oral reports testify to his death as a martyr.