Biography of Father Jan Lewiński

Born in Kamenets-Podolsky in 1871. Graduated from Zhytomyr Seminary and was ordained in 1893. From 1893 he was a religion teacher in the secondary schools in Vinnytsia; from 1902, vicar of the cathedral in Lutsk; from 1913, religion teacher at the vocational school and boys and girls high schools in Vinnytsia. It is possible that he also taught in illegal Polish schools run by the Oswiata Society. September 18, 1913 – the head of the Lutsk-Zhytomyr Diocese asked the governor of Podolsk province for his consent to the appointment of Father Jan as pastor of St. Mary of the Angels Church in Vinnytsia, but the governor refused. After some misunderstandings with the authorities, Father Jan finally became pastor of that church and he also looked after seven Third Order groups. In May 1920 he took part in a conference of Catholic clergy where the question of the erection of the Kamenets Diocese was discussed. May 16, 1920 – during the Polish-Soviet War, with the approach of the Red Army, he left for Poland with the Polish troops; but in 1921 he returned to Vinnytsia, illegally crossing the border, and continued his ministry, also serving the parish in Strizhavka. May 5, 1922 – arrested in Vinnytsia for “concealing church valuables” and sentenced to four months in prison and forced labor [Podolsk Revolutionary Tribunal]. The payment of a huge tax by the parish community became the condition of his release from prison. From 1928 he was head of the deanery, where another six priests also served; he looked after two Rosary groups in the parish. July 19, 1929 – arrested, but soon released. January 18, 1930 – arrested in a case against Catholic clergy of Ukraine. Spent time in prisons in Vinnytsia, Kharkiv and Kiev. June 27-30, 1930 – closed trial at which he was sentenced to death under Articles 54-3, -4, 6, -10, and -11 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR, commuted to ten years in prison with loss of rights for five years [Special Troika, OGPU Collegium]. In September he was sent to Kotlas; November 8 – transferred to the solitary confinement block at Yaroslavl Prison. January 18, 1931 – included by the Polish Red Cross on a list of prisoners for exchange. February 8 – released from prison and left for Poland, where he served in Tuzhisk (Turzysk), Kowel deanery. From 1932 he lived in Sarny on the Volyn with his friend Father Jan Świderski; from September 1939 he was the pastor of the parish there and dean, remaining there during the Soviet and German occupations. In June 1945, after the end of the War, he and his parishioners left for Poland. He became the chaplain at the cemetery chapel in Doly, outside Łodz. He died in Łodz May 27, 1952. In 1995, when the church in Sarny was being renovated, parishioners erected a memorial plaque in honor of Father Jan Lewiński. Sources: GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 5647, l. 4, 10; Dzwonkowski, pp. 321-323; Osipova (1996), p. 180; Sokolovskyi, pp. 114-115
Variant Names:
Levinskii, Ian Innokent'evich; Lewiński, Jan
Kam'i︠a︡net︠s︡ʹ-Podilʹsʹkyĭ (Ukraine); Z︠H︡ytomyr (Ukraine); Vinnyt︠s︡i︠a︡ (Ukraine); Lut︠s︡ʹk (Ukraine); Poland; Kiev (Ukraine); Łódź (Poland)
male; clergy and religious; survived