HIEROMARTYR NICETAS, BISHOP OF NIZHNE-TAGIL (+ 1937)
By Vladimir Moss
Bishop Nicetas, in the world Theodore Petrovich Delektorsky, was born in 1876 in the city of Pokrov, Orekhovo-Zuyevo uyezd, Moscow province, in the family of a priest. He finished his studies at the Vladimir and Kholm theological seminaries. On August 3, 1898 he was ordained to the priesthood, and went to serve in the St. Nicholas women’s monastery, Pereslavl, Vladimir province. He also taught the Law of God in lower educational establishments. In 1911 he entered the Moscow Theological Academy, graduating in 1915. He directed the Academy choir and was the author of a jubilee hymn. In 1915 he became assistant secretary of the Council and Administration of the Holy Trinity – St. Sergius Lavra. In 1917 he became rector of the SS. Peter and Paul cathedral in Perm, being raised to the rank of protopriest in 1919. In 1922 he became superior of the Nativity of Christ cathedral in Alexandrov, Vladimir province.
On May 9, 1924 he was tonsured into monasticism by Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) in the church of the Valaam podvorye, and on May 12 he was consecrated Bishop of Bugulma, a vicariate of the Samara diocese, by Archbishop Andrew of Ufa. The co-consecrator(s) is not known. In 1924 he was arrested in Bugulma together with a group of priests for “links with the Czechoslovaks”. Within two months he was released for lack of evidence against him. By November, 1924 he was living in Moscow. In 1925 he was arrested in Melekess, Ulyanovsk province, for “carrying out a church service without a patent” and for “commemorating Patriarch Tikhon”. After one-and-a-half months in prison he was released. In 1926 he was transferred to the see of Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Moscow province. On September 3/16, 1927 he was transferred to the see of Nizhne-Tagil, a vicariate of the Sverdlovsk diocese, where he remained until August 10/23, 1928. He was an elder distinguished by extreme non-acquisitiveness, and was a fool-for-Christ. In 1930 he was arrested in Moscow and sentenced to three years in the camps. He was sent to the building of DneproGAS, where he worked as a watchman. By 1934 Vladyka was again living in Orekhovo-Zuyevo. For two years he lived under the pseudonym “Makarov”, whose passport had been “stolen” from him during his captivity at DneproGAS. He earned his living by collecting and selling scrap. In 1936-37 he lived with the policeman Kraskov in a “saddler’s shop” room.
On October 13, 1937 he was arrested in Orekhovo-Zuyevo because “he was an illegal wandering bishop, an activist of the True Orthodox Church, conducted anti-Soviet agitation and was occupied with counter-revolutionary activity”. He was transferred to Moscow on November 10 and was cast into the Taganka prison. On November 17, he was convicted of being “an illegal bishop of the ‘True Orthodox Church’ and was sentenced to death in accordance with article 58-10. He was shot in Butovo on November 19, 1937.
(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyateishago Patriarkha Tikhona, Moscow; St. Tikhon’s Theological Institute, 1994, p. 982; Pravoslavnaya Rus’, N 14 (1587), July 14/28, 1997, p. 7; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Katakombnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997g.”, Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4(8), 1997, pp. 8-9; I.I. Osipova, “Skvoz’ Ogn’ Muchenij i Vody Slyoz”, Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, p. 258; http://www.pstbi.ru/cgi-htm/db.exe/no_dbpath/docum/cnt/ans)