Victor was born on [[February 13]], 1897, the first son of Fr. Alexander Andreevich and Nadezhda Petrovna (''née'' Ismailov). His father was the [[priest]] at a church in the Suhaya Rika district near Kazan, Russia. The Pokrovskys were a priestly family. Their family name was Gremyashkin, but during the time of Tsar Paul I of Russia, Victor's priestly ancestor was given the family name of Pokrovsky by his [[bishop]] who visited his parish on the day of the Protection of the Theotokos (Pokrov).
Victor studied for four years at the [[Kazan Ecclesiastical Seminary]] before entering Kazan University in 1914. As a university student he sang with the Morreff Choir, which Mr. Koltchin (later choir director of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco) also joined, and attended the conductor class at Kazan Hummert Music School. After
two years of student life, he was called into the Army as an officer, but was released after the February Revolution. He then returned to the Kazan University for his third year.
After the Bolshevik coup of 1917, he was recalled to army service in 1918 into the White Army, to advance eventually to the rank of Captain. As the Red Army advanced, he was forced to leave Kazan and retreat with the White Army across Siberia. With the end of the Civil War, he ended up in Manchuria and was discharged on [[May 12]], 1923. Having lost everything, including his family, he set to organizing a choir to earn a living. As Manchuria included a large Russian population prior to the war that supported and operated the Trans-Siberian Railway short cuts to Vladivostok, a Russian-based lifestyle was available for his choir to work in. Indeed, the Harbin Archdiocese was active, as the situation in Russia deteriorated, including supporting the [[Church of Japan]].