Batchinsky, Evhen (Eugene) Vasylovych

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Batchinsky, Evhen (Eugene) Vasylovych

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Evhen (Eugene) Vasylovych Batchinsky was born on 24 August, 1885 in Katerynoslav (now Dnipropetrovs'k), Ukraine. After completing his secondary education in a military cadet school, Batchinsky served in the tsarist army as artillery lieutenant, and from 1905 until late 1907 was a member of a group of army officers with revolutionary aims. In November 1907 Batchinsky was arrested by tsarist authorities , spent several months in prison, and then left the Russian Empire for Western Europe. He first settled in France where he lived from 1908 till 1914, and was active in the Ukrainian Hromada (community) in Paris. Batchinsky travelled throughout Europe in 1910, was arrested in Bukovyna (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), and spent three and a half months in jail for agitating for a Ukrainian university in L'viv. He then returned to France via Switzerland, and prior to World War I contributed a number of articles to Ukrainian newspapers in the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires.

In 1914 Batchinsky moved to Geneva. From 1915 till 1917 he was a representative of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine (Soiuz vyzvolennia Ukrainy) in Switzerland, and was editor of La Revie ukrainienne [sic], one of the official publications of this organization. In 1917 he founded, together with P. Chykalenko, a Ukrainian bookstore in Lausanne which was in business for four years, and from May 1917 to August 1919, Batchinsky was editor of the weekly L'Ukraine and deputy director of the Ukrainian Press Bureau in Lausanne, headed by V. Stepankivsky. He participated in various diplomatic and political activities in Switzerland on behalf of the Ukrainian National Republic.

From 1919 to 1922 Batchinsky was general secretary of the Chambre de Commerce Ukraino Suisse in Geneva founded by P. Chyzhevsky, an emissary of the Ukrainian National Republic, and was editor of its organ, Vistnyk (The Herald). During the interwar period he continued his journalistic activities and was an accredited journalist to the League of Nations for several Ukrainian newspapers.

From August 1922 until its dissolution, Batchinsky was the official Plenipotentiary for Western Europe of the Sobornopravna (Conciliar) UAPTs (Ukrains'ka Avtokefal'na Pravoslavna Tserkva - Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church), based in Kiev, and in this capacity helped to organize Ukrainian Orthodox parishes in France, attended numerous religious conferences and conventions and published the religious bulletin Blahavisnyk (French edition L'Annonciateur).

In 1939 Batchinsky founded the Central Aid Committee of the Ukrainian Red Cross in Exile, and was its director until 1950 when it was disbanded. Despite the unofficial nature of this organization (it was not officially recognized by the International Red Cross) and a severe lack of resources, Batchinsky helped a large number of Ukrainian refugees during and immediately after World War II with advice, documents and occasional material assistance. The documents that Batchinsky prepared helped save a number of Ukrainian refugees from forced repatriation to the Soviet Union after the war.

In May 1955 Batchinsky was consecrated bishop of the UAPTs (Sobornopravna), Western European diocese. Since this was a very small branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the diaspora, with few adherents, Batchinsky's status in this church was not widely recognized. He had few formal ecclesiastical duties to fulfill, and devoted much of his time to religious polemics.

Batchinsky died on 30 October 1978 in Bulle, Switzerland where he had lived for several years.


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