Biography of Father Sebastian Sabudziński

Born into the family of a bureaucrat in Kamianets-Podilskyi in 1876. Graduated from the Orthodox Seminary in Kamianets and was ordained an Orthodox priest in 1898. From 1898 he served in the parish in Subachy, Ushyts district, Podilskyi province; from 1915, at the Church of St. John the Theologian in Berezivka, Haisyn district; from 1915 [sic], in Kulibabintsy; from 1919, in Bila, Yampil raion. In his search for truth he was drawn to the Renovationist [“Living Church”] Movement, but he did not find there what would satisfy his spiritual needs. In Fr. Sebastian’s opinion, Orthodoxy was in a state of serious disaffection and disintegration, and many trends and heresies had arisen. Knowing well the history of Christianity, he believed that such disintegration would not be found in the Catholic Church; thus in 1925 he left the Renovationist Movement and decided to convert to Catholicism. He was acquainted with Fr. Makary Karoweć and Fr. Jan Świderski, the Vicar General of Kamianets Diocese, who accepted him into the bosom of the Catholic Church in 1927. He served at a parish in Bar, Vinnytsia oblast, and later was the administrator of Vinnytsia Diocese. During Mass, he himself – or one of the parishioners at his request – would collect money for the church and for aiding those serving sentences and their relatives, as well as all the needy. After the arrest of Fr. Jan Świderski, Fr. Sebastian sent him money to Zhytomyr Prison and then after his conviction, to the camp; he helped others in the same way (e.g., Fr. Jan Lukacz and his relatives and the organists Selecki and Niesmertelnyi). In 1929 he was arrested and internally exiled for three years. Sent in September to Temir-Tau, Novosibirsk oblast; released in September 1932. Returned to Bar, Vinnytsia oblast, and continued his ministry in his parish. January 12, 1935 – arrested in a case against Catholic clergy and laity (Sabudziński et al.). January 13 – sent for further investigation to Vinnytsia Prison, then to Kiev Prison. April 20-23, 1935 – at a closed trial, Fr. Sebastian was sentenced to five years in corrective labor camp with loss of rights for three years [by Order of a Special Collegium, Vinnytsia District Court]. Sent to a lagpunkt for the disabled, Tayga Station, at Siblag, where he arrived May 26. In September 1936 the camp sentence was commuted to exile. Settled in Stavropol. His last letter to the Polish Red Cross was received from Stavropol in April 1937. June 28, 1938 – the Polish Red Cross received word that Fr. Sebastian had been arrested in the second half of 1937. It is possible that he was sentenced to death and shot. Excerpts from his case file: April 22, 1935, at the closed trial, Fr. Sebastian stated: “In accordance with my inner convictions, I am not in agreement with the Communist program and I therefore consider myself an enemy of the Soviet regime. The investigator at the preliminary questioning did not properly formulate my statements. According to Christian beliefs, all people are equal – be they kulaks, average peasants or the poor – and all need help. I did not conduct active agitation or have conversations against the Soviet regime with everyone. Christian ideology and teaching differ from the Communist program and therefore a Christian cannot be a proponent of the Soviet regime. I collected aid not only for arrested priests, but for all in need. In my view, the Soviet regime sometimes punishes those who are innocent; but the concept of guilt is relative – in principle, there is nothing here except the concept of mercy. I heard that they tried priests for counter-revolutionary activity, but I fulfilled the will of the parishioners and according to Christian teaching, we ought to help our enemies.” Sources: GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 4278; Dzwonkowski, pp. 421-422; Madaƚa, p. 136; Investigatory Matter 1733 fp, Archive TsGAOO (Ukraine); Sokolovskyi, pp. 180-181; Parafiial'na gazeta, 1995, no. 49, p. 8
Variant Names:
Sabudziński, Sebastian; Sabudzinskiĭ, Sevastʹi︠a︡n Sevastʹi︠a︡novich
Kam'i︠a︡net︠s︡ʹ-Podilʹsʹkyĭ (Ukraine); Vinnyt︠s︡i︠a︡ (Ukraine); Z︠H︡ytomyr (Ukraine); Kiev (Ukraine); Temirtaū (Kazakhstan)
male; clergy and religious; executed