Biography of Father Aleksander Bilakiewicz

Description:
Born in Kovno March 26, 1872. Married. Finished Theological Seminary and was ordained a priest of the Eastern Rite in 1896. In 1899 he was arrested for “Uniate propaganda.” Banished to Siberia by the Kovno Dist. Ct.; released in 1917. Served in Tsaritsyn, where he was arrested in 1923 for “counter-revolutionary propaganda,” but released three months later. He continued to serve in Tsaritsyn, but then moved to Kiev in December 1925. Served at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Kiev and St. John Nepomucene Church in Lubar. From 1926 he was pastor of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Bazalia, Vinnytsia oblast, where most of the parishioners were Poles. In 1930, after the arrest of Fr. Adolf Kaszczyc at Mass in Transfiguration of Our Lord Church in Belgorodok, Father Alexander appealed to the faithful for material support for convicted priests. From 1930 he also served the parish in Krasilov. In August 1934 he transferred to the Latin rite. From 1934 he was pastor of the parish in Kazatin, Vinnytsia oblast. He engaged in nurturing a religious spirit in children, trying to protect them from the influence of atheism. He was an active organizer of, and participant in, efforts to help priests, laity and their families who were serving sentences. He hindered all attempts to close the churches; he believed that parishioners who signed petitions for church closures did so under pressure of the authorities. August 20, 1935 – arrested. January 12, 1936 – sentenced to seven years in corrective labor camps with loss of rights for three years [Special Collegium, Vinnytsia Dist. Ct.]. Sent to Belbaltlag, Kem camp sector (at age 66) – his family soon came to join him. His parishioners also came to him and with great difficulties nevertheless managed to go to him for confession and to receive his blessing. August 10, 1938 – died in the camp. Source: Dzwonkowski (1998), pp. 163-164; Osipova (1996), p. 152; Parafiial'na gazeta, 1995, No. 45, p. 4; Investigatory Matter 1733 fp, TsGAOO (Ukraine); Sokolovskyi, pp. 14-15
Variant Names:
Bili︠a︡kevich, Aleksandr Kazimirovich; Bilakiewicz, Aleksander
Dates:
1872-1938
Locations:
Kaunas (Lithuania); Siberia; Volgograd (Russia); Kiev (Ukraine); Vinnyt︠s︡ʹka oblastʹ (Ukraine); White Sea-Baltic Canal (Russia)
Subjects:
male; clergy and religious; died in prison