Chronology of Life


  •     January 30       Marian Żelazek is born in Palędzie near Poznań, as the seventh of sixteen children of Stanisław and Stanisława (including two adopted ones)
  •     February 10       baptism in Skórzewo

Baptism Book in Skórzewo (fot. Feliks Kubicz SVD)



  • beginning of education at the local primary school



  • Żelazek’s family moves to Poznań



  • beginning of education at the St. Maria Magdalena Gymnasium in Poznań

rodzina zelazkow minZelazek's family. Marian standing in top row first from the right (fot. Fr. Marian Zelazek's archive) 



  • beginning of adventure with the Society of the Divine Word: further education in the lower seminary, officially known as SVD Male Gymnasium in Górna Grupa in Pomerania



  •     September 8       beginning of the novitiate in Chludowo near Poznań



  •     September       beginning of philosophical studies



  •     September 4       taking the first religious vows



  •     May 20       graduation from philosophical studies
  •     May 22       deportation to Fort VII in Poznań
  •     May 25       concentration camp in Dachau
  •     August 2       concentration camp in Gusen



  •     December 8       return to the concentration camp in Dachau



  •     April 29       liberation of the Dachau concentration camp by US troop
  •     from November       theological studies at the Anselmianum University in Rome



  •     September 8       perpetual vows
  •     September 18       priestly ordination in Rome after the third year of theology



  • completion of studies in Rome; one month in Poland (after 9 years), first Mass in Poznań
  • one year of work among Polish refugees in Bagnoli near Naples



  •     March 3       setting off from Genoa on board of the Dutch merchant ship "Laurenskerk" on the mission to Sambalpur in India in the state of Orissa
  •     March 21       arrival in Bombay (today Mumbay)
  •     April 4       beginning of the mission among Adibasi, the original ethnic groups in India

Fr. Marian at the beginning of his missionary work in Sambalpur (fot. Fr. Mariana Żelazek's archive)



  • headmaster of primary school and the only gymnasium (lower seminary) in Hamirpur



  • Kesramal, supervisor of all 171 Catholic schools in the Sambalpur mission

sambalpur01 minFr. Marian with pupils in Sambalpur (fot. Fr. Marian Zelazek's archive)



  • parish priest of the new mission in Bondamunda with 5 stations
  • opening of the sanctuary of the Holy Mother of Częstochowa



  •     June 1       beginning of work in the holy Hindu city of Puri on the Bay of Bengal

Fr. Marian and the Hindu temple in Puri (fot. Feliks Kubicz SVD)



  • opening of a leprosarium in Puri



  • opening of Beatrix School for children from lepers' families



  •     December 11       consecration of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Puri, with ceramics of the artist Janina M. Karczewska-Konieczna from Gdańsk
  • inauguration of the Centre of Spirituality and Dialogue (Ishopanthi Ashram) with the Christian library

puri kosciol minThe church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Puri (fot. Andrzej Danilewicz SVD)



  • opening of a shelter for homeless lepers "Dharamsala"



  •     November       "Karunalaya - Cottage of love and mercy", a small hospital for lepers in critical condition

The hospital for lepers in Puri (fot. Andrzej Danilewicz SVD)


  • resignation from the post of the parish priest; Father Żelazek becomes a bonopasi - hermit in an ashram; he continues looking after the lepers' village



  • Golden Jubilee of Priesthood - Poznań
  •     June 16-24       "Zamek" Cultural Centre: "In the Indian land. 48 years of life among Adibasi and lepers" - photographic exhibition on the occasion of the 80th birthday and 50th anniversary of priesthood of Father Marian Żelazek, SVD (organized by the Humanitarian Aid Foundation “Redemptoris Missio”)
  •     June 22       hall of the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań, conferring the medal inscribed "To those who do good" by the Humanitarian Aid Foundation “Redemptoris Missio”
  •     September 4       photographic exhibition "The missionary of lepers - Father Marian Żelazek SVD", organized by the "Wspólnota Polska" Association at the Polonia House in Warsaw
  • "May God Repay" medal awarded by the magazine "Powściągliwość i Praca"

Fr. Marian in his ashram in Puri (fot. Feliks Kubicz SVD)



  •     April 9       Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, presented by the Polish Ambassador to India
  •     October 3       medal of Karol Marcinkowski awarded by the Medical Academy in Poznań for merits in providing charity and medical aid to lepers



  •     November 12       India. Khrist Jayanti. Millennium Celebration Certificate of Merit. Diploma of recognition of the Catholic Diocese of Rurkel for 2000 years of Christianity awarded to Father Marian as an expression of gratitude for his work



  •     May 26       the BBC broadcasts a 45-minute documentary "New Face of Leprosy", in which the work of Fr. Żelazek is shown

Fr. Marian Żelazek in a School Complex in Chludowo near Poznań (fot. Feliks Kubicz SVD)



  • notification of candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize
  •     January 9       Amber Order of the Lotus Flower with the Cross for Contribution to the Missionary Cause, awarded by SVD Mission and Charity Foundation of Blessed Józef of Szantung Mission in Pieniężno
  •     January 30       World Day of Leprosy, in the Congress Hall of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, a charitable concert was organized: Touch and understand. Poznań Nightingales sing for lepers. Purpose of the concert - to support leprosy centers established and run by Poles, fundraising for the extension of the integration school in Puri, and promotion of the person of Father Marian Żelazek SVD, candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize
  •     June 14       Nationwide Missionary Congress in Gdańsk, Poland - exhibition dedicated to Marian Żelazek's missionary work
  •     June 15       School Complex in Chludowo near Poznań is conferred the name of Fr. Marian Żelazek
  •     August 3       Pompeian Room of the Episcopal Palace in Poznań - handing the "Golden Hipolit" statuette and the Honorary Diploma of "Outstanding Personalities of Organic Work" (on the initiative of the Poznań County and the Hipolit Cegielski Society)



  •     January 21       opening of the Dialogue Center - Ishopanthi Ashram
  •     April 30       Father Marian Żelazek dies in Puri, at the moment when he ends his visit in a leper colony
  •     May 2       funeral at the SVD cemetery in Jharsuguda, India

grob puri minThe tomb of fr. Marian Zelazek in Puri decorated for 100th anniversary of missionary's birth (fot. Andrzej Danilewicz SVD)