Biography of Father Shio Batmanishvili

Born in 1885 in Akhaltsikhe, Tiflis province. Finished seminary in Stambul and theological academy in Rome; ordained in 1912. Served in a parish in Kutaisi and later was pastor of the parish in Akhaltsikhe. He made several trips to Constantinople in 1921 and 1922. From 1922 he was head of the Constantinople Georgian Catholic Monastery. In November 1925 he and a group of Eastern Rite Catholic priests were received in an audience in the Vatican by Pope Pius XI. From 1925 he was Apostolic Administrator of Georgian Catholics. October 16, 1927 – arrested in Tiflis. January 16, 1928 – sentenced under Articles 68 and 58-6 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to ten years in corrective labor camps “without application of amnesty” [OGPU Collegium]. Sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp, where he arrived February 12. In 1930 he was transferred to Anzer Island where, on July 5, 1932, he was arrested in a case against Catholic clergy that was accused of “creating an anti-Soviet group that was carrying out anti-Soviet agitation, secretly celebrating liturgy and religious rituals and had established illegal contact with a free person for transmitting abroad information of an espionage nature about the situation of Catholics in the USSR.” The investigation sought to have him isolated from all other prisoners until the end of his term. May 31, 1935 – transferred to Belbaltlag, Kuzema Station, Kirov Railroad. June 12, 1936 – returned to Solovetsky. In 1937 he was moved into the prison block. He was charged with “being an active member of a counter-revolutionary group of priests, manifesting an anti-Soviet attitude, repeatedly organizing worship services in the barracks, systematically giving counter-revolutionary speeches to the priests.” October 14, 1937 – sentenced to death [Directorate, NKVD, Leningrad oblast]. November 1, 1937 – shot in Sandormokh, outside Medvezhegorsk. Excerpts from Indictment, October 11, 1927. Being the head of the Georgian Catholic Men’s Monastery of the Immaculate Conception in Constantinople, Batmanishvili accommodated, in quarters belonging to the monastery and situated on the grounds of the aforementioned monastery, a concentration of Georgian counter-revolutionary emigrants, expelled from Georgia during Sovietization in 1921 … The emigrant mass [sic] was at the monastery up through 1923. In addition to the rooms given to the emigrants for living quarters, the monastery administration, over the course of several years, had put at the full disposal of anti-Soviet organizations, the printing press that belonged to the monastery, which they used for printing anti-Soviet brochures, newspapers and other materials aimed at undermining and discrediting the Soviet regime in Georgia. To the question as to whether he would admit that allowing the emigrants the use of the printing press was a political mistake, Batmanishvili stated, “I do not consider allowing the emigrants the use of the printing press to have been a political mistake.” Source: GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 239; Sandormokh Memorial Cemetery, p. 33; Osipova (1996), p. 149; Protocol of the Conferences of a Special Troika of the Directorate, NKVD, Leningrad oblast; Reznikova, p. 20; Investigatory Matter 590614, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation; Sokolovskyi, p. 11; Dzwonkowski (1998), pp. 153, 579; Madała, p. 22
Variant Names:
Batmanishvili, Shio; Batmanishvili, Shio Grigor'evich
Axalcʻixe (Axalcʻixis raioni, Georgia); Constantinople; Tʻbilisi (Georgia)
male; clergy and religious; executed