A Translation of the Complete Lithuanian Original LIETUVOS KATALIKŲ BAŽNYČIOS KRONIKA Nr. 56 Documenting the Struggle for Human Rights In Soviet-Occupied Lithuania Today
Translated by: Rev. Casimir Pugevičius Translation Editor: Marian Skabeikis
Published by the Lithuanian R.C. Priests' League of America 351 Highland Blvd. Brooklyn, NY 11207
©Lithuanian Roman Catholic Priests' League of America 1983
Franciscan Fathers Press 341 Highland Blvd. Brooklyn, NY 11207
On the cover:
Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, Pastor of the parish in Viduklė, Lithuania, leading a procession of kneeling pilgrims at the Marian Shrine of Šiluva, August 12, 1982. Detais of his arrest and detention in this issue of the CHRONICLE.
In 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania by force, 85.5% of the country's more than 3 million inhabitants were Roman Catholic, 4.5% Protestant, 7.3% Jewish, 2.5% Orthodox and 0.2% of other persuasions.
In the two archdioceses and four dioceses were: 708 churches, 314 chapels, 73 monasteries, 85 convents, three archbishops, nine bishops, 1271 diocesan priests, 580 monks, of whom 168 were priests. Four seminaries had 470 students. There were 950 nuns.
Nuns cared for 35 kindergartens, 10 orphanages, 25 homes for the aged, two hospitals, a youth center, and an institute for the deaf-mute.
On June 15, 1940, the Red Army marched into Lithuania; the independent government was replaced by a puppet regime.
On July 14-15, rigged elections were staged. On July 21, with the Red Army surrounding the assembly house, the new People's Diet "unanimously" declared Lithuania a Soviet Socialist Republic.
On June 25, 1940, the Church was declared separate from the state, and the representative of the Holy See was expelled.
Parish lands were confiscated, clergy salaries and pensions were cut off, and their savings confiscated. Churches were deprived of support. Catholic printing plants were confiscated, and religious books destroyed.
On June 28, 1940, the teaching of religion and recitation of prayers in schools was forbidden. The University's Department of Theology and Philosophy was abolished, and all private schools were nationalized. The seminaries at Vilkaviškis and Telšiai were closed, and the seminary at Kaunas was permitted to operate on a very limited scale. The clergy were spied upon constantly.
On June 15, 1941, 34,260 Lithuanians were packed off in cattle-cars to undisclosed points in the Soviet Union. After World War II, the mass deportations resumed and continued until 1953.
Vincentas Borisevičius, Bishop of Telšiai, was arrested on February 3, 1946, and condemned to death after a secret trial. Before year's end, his auxiliary, Bishop Pranas Ramanauskas, was also arrested and deported to Siberia. Bishop Teofilius Matulionis of Kaišiadorys and Archbishop Mečislovas Reinys of Vilnius were deported
to a Siberian labor camp. Archbishop Reinys perished in prison at Vladimir, November 8, 1953. By 1947, Lithuania was left with a single bishop, Kazimieras Paltarokas, of Panevėžys. He died in 1958.
In 1947, the last convents and monasteries were closed, their communities dispersed, and all monastic institutions were outlawed.
After Stalin's death in 1953, there was a slight improvement in the religious situation. Bishops Matulionis and Ramanauskas were allowed to return to Lithuania, but not to minister to their dioceses or to communicate with the clergy or laity.
Bishop Ramanauskas died in 1959, and Archbishop Matulionis in 1963.
In 1955, two new bishops were appointed by Rome and consecrated: Julijonas Steponavičius and Petras Maželis. Steponavičius has never been permitted to administer his diocese.
Bishop Vincentas Sladkevičius, consecrated in 1957, was kept under severe government restrictions until 1982. In 1965, Monsignor Juozas Labukas-Matulaitis was consecrated in Rome to head the Archdiocese of Kaunas and the Diocese of Vilkaviškis. Two new bishops were consecrated in 1969: Bishop Romualdas Krikščiūnas was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Panevėžys, and Bishop Liudvikas Povilonis was appointed auxiliary to Bishop Labukas, and succeeded him after his death in 1979.
In 1982, Bishop Sladkevičius was permitted to return to his diocese as Apostolic Administrator of Kaišiadorys. Father Antanas Vaičius was named bishop and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Telšiai and the Prelature of Klaipėda.
Relaxation of pressure on religious believers soon revealed that the Lithuanian people were still deeply religious. It was decided in the mid-fifties to resume the attack. The principal means of attack would be unlimited moral pressure, since physical terror seemed only to strengthen and unify the faithful.
In 1972, the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, clandestinely published in that country, began to reach the free world at irregular intervals. Primarily intended to keep Catholics in Lithuania informed of the situation of the Church there, these Lithuanian samizdat also serve as a constant appeal to the free world not to forget the plight of a people struggling against overwhelming odds to defend their religious beliefs and to regain their basic human rights.
Rev. Casimir Pugevičius Editor
Read this and pass it on! Appearing since March 19, 1972
This issue is dedicated to Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, a member of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, going for the third time the way of the Gulag for his country and the Church.
CHRONICLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN LITHUANIA , No. 56
In this issue:
1. Pressure from Moscow Mounts
2. The Problem of the Cardinal
3. The Arrest of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas
4. Petras Paulaitis Released
5. Msgr. L. Pratkelis Dies
6. Searches and Interrogations
7. The Persecution of Jonas Sadūnas
8. News from the Dioceses
9. In the Soviet School
10. The Church in the Soviet Republics
11. New Publications
Lithuania ................................ February 14, 1983
PRESSURE FROM MOSCOW MOUNTS
During the summer of 1982, when the Soviet government allowed Bishop Vincentas Sladkevičius of Kaišiadorys to return to his duties, voices were heard in the West saying that the plight of the Church in Lithuania had improved. As a matter of fact, however, the vise of oppression was only tightened. The Council for Religious Affairs increased its campaign to have priests implement the Regulations for Religious Associations, and for failing to keep them, priests were warned, reprimanded, called "extremists", or even fined.
Priests as well as laity were bombarded with the idea that the real administrator of the parish was the "executive organ" which is confirmed (that is, completely controlled) by the Soviet government, while the priest is merely a hired minister of cult. Parish "Committees of Twenty" which had not entered a so-called agreement with Rayon Executive Committees were pressured to do so as soon as possible; that is, to agree at least formally to be administrators of the religious association through whom the Rayon Executive Committee might control the parish. In many parishes, the Soviet government demanded that Church property: liturgical vessels, pictures, etc., be for some reason assessed.
At the beginning of December, 1982, the official of the Council for Religious Affairs assigned to Catholic Matters came from Moscow to Lithuania. He visited the seminary, the bishops and even some of the deans, trying to convince them that it would be better for the priests if Church affairs were run not by priests, but by parish "executive organs".
In order that the will among Lithuanian priests to resist the Regulations for Religious Associations might be dissipated, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, Pastor of Viduklė, and a member of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, was arrested. The most important reasons for the arrest were the following:
The courageous stance of priests in Lithuania is arousing the greatest concern on the part of the Soviet government. The arrest of one of the boldest priests was supposed to instill fear in the rest and to force them to heed the Regulations for Religious Associations.
Functionaries of the Council for Religious Affairs blame the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights more than anything for "religious extremism"; that is, for obeying Canon Law instead of the Regulations for Religious Associations. The KGB considered Father Alfonsas Svarinskas as the soul of this Committee, so his arrest was bound to contribute to the paralyzing of the Committee's work.
The Soviet government in Lithuania has always reacted paranoic-ally to any events which disturbed it; e.g., processions to Šiluva, youth groups, etc. The arrest of Father Svarinskas shows clearly that the Soviet government feels very weak, and sees a mortal enemy in the Catholic Church in Lithuania and in every active clergyman.
With the approach of the Jubilee of Saint Casimir and the 600th Anniversary of the introduction of Christianity into Lithuania, a spiritual revival can be felt in the nation. The Soviet government, wishing to paralyze this revival, put all means of propaganda to work and when these did not help, they called on the KGB to help stifle the most zealous priests in Lithuania. Nevertheless, the enemies of the Church always make a serious mistake: Guillotines, scaffolds and labor camps always rouse the Church to new life.
THE PROBLEM OF THE CARDINAL
No one in Lithuania has failed to react to the news about the appointment of the new cardinal for the Catholic Church in Latvia. Everyone has been engaged in lively discussion of what it means.
The Catholic Church in Latvia is moribund: Children are not being given religious instruction, there are almost no young people in the churches, and there are almost no native candidates for the seminary, so that the quota set by the government is filled with candidates from Byelorussia, Ukraine and even Kazakhstan. Even though officially the Riga Seminary prepares priests for the entire Soviet Union, this year only one seminarian, it seems, was ordained to the priesthood.
Among the Latvian clergy, there is a prevailing passivity, fear and reconciliation with the idea that the Church in the Soviet Union can survive only be keeping the Regulations for Religious Associations. There is a similar idea in the completely subjugated Russian Orthodox Church.
In Lithuania, meanwhile, children receive catechetics, instruction, participate actively in religious ceremonies, increasingly more young people are seen in church, many people are actively engaged in apostolic work, and bravely go to prison for their faith; e.g., (Mrs.) Jadvyga Bieliauskienė, imprisoned in 1982 for carrying out an apostolate among the high school students of Garliava. (See Chronicle No. 55 — Trans. Note) The priests of Lithuania are successfully defending their independence of the Regulations for Religious Associations.
In view of the actual situation of the Catholic Church in Latvia and Lithuania, the appointment of a cardinal for Latvia comes as a downright shock to the priests and faithful of Lithuania. They are saying to themselves that such an appointment is a reward for the passive and submissive attitude of the Catholic Church in Latvia and an ignoring of the accumulated sacrifices of the priests and faithful of Lithuania, their persistent struggle and resolute attitude. Such an appointment comes as a great satisfaction to the Soviet government.
Statements that the new cardinal may be a bridge between Moscow and the Vatican shed little light in the present darkness. Speculation that the exiled Bishop Julijonas Steponavičius may be the cardinal in pectore is of very little comfort to the faithful and priests of Lithuania, especially since letters from Lithuanian priests in Rome indicate that somebody has defamed this honorable bishop-in-exile in the Vatican.
After the appointment of a cardinal for the Catholic Church in Latvia, the exiled Bishop Julijonas Steponavičius received some very angry anonymous letters. One of them writes:
"So-called Cardinal in pectore: So you bless the activities of the Svarinskases, Tamkevičiuses, Keinas, Zdebskises (Priest-Charter members of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights — Trans. Note) and dividers of the Church like them. So the Holy See has rewarded your little activities and those of the 'activists' in such a way that it was not Catholic Lithuania, but Protestant Latvia which received a cardinal, and one other bishop."
The anonymous note was signed by "a confrere expressing the opinion of most priests", who probably has the epaulettes of a KGB officer. Another anonymous letter urges the Pope, the bishops and priests to pray "that the Evil One would not work to the detriment of the Church through Bishop Steponavičius".
Vile anonymous letters, born in the offices of the KGB, were received also by Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas and Algimantas Keina.
From left to right:
Bishops Antanas Vaičius, Liudas Povilonis, Vincentas Sladkevičius and Julijonas Steponavičius at the Cathedral of Kaišiadorys, August, 1982.
The priests of Lithuania are amazed, not by the anonymous letters (even though they are often interesting in that they give an insight into what the KGB is thinking about this or that issue), but by letters reaching Lithuania from some Lithuanian priests in Rome. In one of them, Bishop Julijonas Steponavičius and "activist priests" are blamed for the fact that the Pope appointed a cardinal, not for Lithuania but for Latvia.
How to explain this unfortunate coincidence: That the KGB in Lithuania and some priests in Rome are saying the same thing? The answer is just this: The KGB has masterfully disinformed at least some influential Lithuanian priests in Rome, and by the same token, the Apostolic See. It is just fortunate that the Holy Father did not give Lithuania as cardinal someone taking a passive and conformist position. For this decision of the Apostolic See, the priests and faithful of Lithuania are truly grateful.
That the Apostolic See has been misled by the KGB is witnessed by the following fact: The Washington Archdiocesan weekly printed an article by a Father Doyle in which he wonders why a cardinal was appointed for Latvia and not for Lithuania. In the article, he bases himself on trustworthy information received from Lithuania by Msgr. Ladas Tulaba, which has it that Moscow has announced that if Bishop Steponavičius is publicly elevated to cardinal, the Vatican would be faced with a difficult decision, since Moscow would demand that he be exiled to a labor camp in Siberia or would force him to leave for the Vatican, from where he would never be able to return to Lithuania.
This announcement by Moscow is just plain blackmail by the KGB to prevent the Apostolic See from appointing a good cardinal for Lithuania (A cardinal would never be sent to labor camp!). If a good cardinal had been appointed for Lithuania, then no matter where he was — in labor camp or in Rome — priests and faithful would be morally supported. Unfortunately, in Lithuania today only the KGB is rejoicing while the most zealous priests and laity feel left "entirely alone".
Word has reached Lithuania (we are unable to ascertain its objectivity), that the Holy Father is supposedly displeased that in Lithuania there is no unity among the priests, and therefore Lithuania did not get a cardinal. Priests in Lithuania do not believe that the Holy Father could misunderstand the real situation in Lithuania.
The KGB has suborned some of the priests and they are lashed on to do, write and say whatever the Soviet government wants. They are the greatest destroyers of priestly unity. It is possible that they are the ones who mostly disinform the Vatican while the true voice of the Church in Lithuania is silent, rarely reaching the Apostolic See, and discredited by KGB collaborators.
In this difficult hour for the Catholic Church in Lithuania, when the most zealous priests are being arrested and their zeal seems not to be appreciated, it is important for the priests and faithful of Lithuania not to become confused but to continue their pristine respect for and loyalty to the Apostolic See. Providence itself will see that true loyalty triumphs. The Christian triumph always begins with the cross.
Lithuanian, do not forget!
Father Alfonsas Svarinskas Sergei Kovalev
Antanas Terleckas Anastazas Janulis
Docent Vytautas Skuodis Viktoras Petkus
Mečislovas Jurevičius Vytautas Vaičiūnas
Gintautas Iešmantas Povilas Pečeliūnas
Julius Sasnauskas Algirdas Statkevičius
Balys Gajauskas and others
who bear the shackles of captivity so that you might live and believe in freedom!
THE ARREST OF FATHER ALFONSAS SVARINSKAS
On January 25, 1982, Deputy Chief Miniotas of the Raseiniai Traffic Pol ice summoned Father Alfonsas Svarinskas to come in on January 26 in connection with an accident which had occurred in the fall ( a moose had jumped onto his car as he was driving down the highway).
On January 26, just as the pastor returned from a funeral at about half-past-two, a phone call came from Raseiniai demanding that he come immediately. The matter was supposed to be brief. Leaving his parishioners to discuss the funeral. Father Svarinskas left quickly for the Traffic Police without eating, promising to return immediately.
In this deceptive manner they arrested Father Svarinskas after he had been summoned to the Raseiniai Traffic Police: hungry, without money and without the most basic clothing or articles.
That same day, after evening services, two militiamen stopped some guest clergy on the way back from church, demanding to see their papers. They told Father Jonas Boruta to come to Militia Headquarters at Raseiniai the next day at 3:00 P.M., and left their telephone number (Father Boruta, born in 1934, graduated from the University of Vilnius in 1970, and worked as a Junior Research Fellow in the atomic theory section of the Academy of Sciences Institute of Physics. In 1982, he defended his doctoral dissertation in physics and mathematics; after completing seminary studies by correspondence, from December, 1982 to January, 1983 [one month], he worked as associate pastor of the Catholic parish in Grečioniai, Region of Chmelnick, Ukraine.)
Learning of this, the parishioners immediately called a telephone number which had been left them, and inquired where they should come, since about twenty of them were going to accompany the priest.
Father Alfonsas Svarinskas
come since about twenty of them were going to go with the priest. Apparently, afraid of disturbances, the militia said that they knew nothing and gave other telephone numbers until finally someone said that it was unnecessary to come. But the next day, at about 6:00 PM, the militia came to the rectory and ordered Father Boruta to leave Viduklė within three hours.
That day, more militia arrived in Viduklė and soldiers were even brought to the nearby woods. People said that the government feared an insurrection. In the firehouse across from the church, and in the House of Culture, right next to the rectory, disguised security agents sat at the windows.
At 9:00 PM, on the way back from evening devotions (in those days people used to pray longer in church), militia lay in ambush for the priests; however, seeing how many people had accompanied the priests to the rectory and remained, they departed without accomplishing anything. In this way, the parishioners protected the guest priest for two days and two nights.
The arrest of the pastor shocked the parish of Viduklė, and they began to gather signatures on a written protest. The atheists began calling meetings everywhere, while in school, teachers said that no one should sign protests. Some teachers even ordered such lists to be torn up.
The faithful of Viduklė, in their protest to the Prosecutor of the LSSR, write:
"We the faithful of the parish of Viduklė wish to express our protest of the arrest of our pastor, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, and accusations against him of anti-Constitutional, anti-state activities. We have heard his sermons. Our pastor always used to emphasize that keeping the principles of the Constitution will guarantee freedom of conscience for believers.
"Never has our pastor urged anyone to deride the government or to impair the public welfare. On the contrary, he has always struggled against the moral vices rampant among us, thus doing much for the good of all, not just the faithful. . .
"All of us parishioners are very grateful to our pastor for his conscientious work and sacrifice . . .
"We strongly protest the unjust arrest of our pastor, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas and demand that he be released."
The petition is signed by 1326 believers.
On Sunday, January 30, a half hour before the main Mass, all the bells of the church of Viduklė tolled mournfully, announcing to the parish that it had lost its shepherd, who had loved them so faithfully and defended them so staunchly against atheistic blackmail and persecution.
In church, the hanging mourning ribbons constantly remind the faithful that their pastor's words about the love of God and country were not empty: He has left for the third time on the prisoner's thorny road. Before the principal Mass, young people dressed in surplices and folk costume and parishioners went on their knees from the front door of the church to the main altar in solidarity with their pastor going his way of sorrows, and praying for help from the Lord for the struggling and suffering Church. During sermon time, the priests spoke beautifully about the meaning of Father Svarinskas' sacrifice, urging the people never to tire of praying for their pastor.
After the main Mass, the priests and all the people recited the prayer "Remember, O Most Blessed Virgin Mary", with upraised hands. A forest of hands rose toward heaven praying for God's help and the Virgin Mary's intercession.
On February 1, it was learned that Father Svarinskas was being held in the isolation prison of the Security Committee (KGB). He was given five kg. of food (his ration for one month).
(Miss) Monika Gavėnaitė, the housekeeper at the Viduklė rectory, was summoned to the Vilnius Prosecutor's Office for questioning as a witness. Investigator Bičkauskas first accused her of organizing a collection of signatures. Afterwards, she was questioned about Father Svarinskas personally: What kind of sermons he preached, whether the people loved the pastor, whether she had not written documents of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, where they were sent, what the Committee had been organized for, etc.
(Miss) Gavėnaitė described the pastor as a conscientious, zealous, saintly and dedicated priest, but she said nothing about activities of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, for the KGB is well aware of everything, since the Committee works publicly.
After the pastor's arrest and the gathering of signatures, investigation and intimidation of parishioners of Viduklė began. Summoned to militia headquarters for gathering signatures were: Ignas Paulauskas, Vincas Paulauskas and Petras Kačiušis. Summoned to the Social Security Section were: (Mrs.) Elzbieta Ba-varskienė, (Mrs.) Bronė Jarmoškienė, (Mrs.) Marytė Šaukienė and (Mrs.) Bronė Grumbliauskienė. On February 3, the KGB once more questioned Petras Kačiušis, Bronė Jarmoškienė and (Mrs.) Salomėja Kaplanienė.
Nor was the school to be outdone. Two pupils, the sisters Jūratė Kaplanaitė and Asta Kaplanaitė were interrogated by a KGB agent in the principal's office. He threatened the girls, saying that the church would be closed; he demanded that they not pray publicly for such intentions as "the enemies of the Church", "our martyr pastor", since this hurts the atheists' feelings.
On February 7, (Miss) Gavėnaitė again received a summons to KGB Headquarters in Vilnius for interrogation by Investigator Bičkauskas.
All of the retireees were summoned to Viduklė District Headquarters where the atheists tried to show that the pastor had been arrested justly. In school, they explained to the children that the pastor had murdered people, had belonged to mobs, etc. Wherever there is any gathering of people, the atheists conduct a smear campaign against Father Svarinskas.
In the Rayon newspapers, articles appeared libeling Father Svarinskas. In the Raseiniai Rayon newspaper, Naujas Rytas (New Morning), three articles were published. In one article, the teachers of Raseiniai Middle School II complain that Father Svarinskas has "led youth astray", interfering with the school in its task of educating the younger generation in a spirit of atheism, and support the Republic Prosecutor General's Office, which has removed such a man from society.
In another article, the teachers and parents of Ariogala agree with the decision of the Prosecutor's Office. Most likely, there will be more such people "agreeing" and slavishly kissing the occupant's foot.
Throughout Lithuania, prayers are being said and signatures are being collected demanding freedom for Father Svarinskas.
The priests and faithful of Lithuania, especially those of Viduklė, were comforted and encouraged by the letter of Cardinal Josyf Slipyj in which the prince of the Church writes:
"The circumstances and reasons for the arrest of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas are not known, but one thing is certain: This dedicated priest, loyal to the Church of Christ and the gospel of Christ, has committed no crime, neither against the state nor against the law. The only offense which can be ascribed to him by those who are prejudiced is love of God and people, service of neighbor, and the carrying out of Christ's command to preach the gospel throughout the world. What is Father Svarinskas being punished for?" asks Cardinal Slipyj.
"Twenty years ago, we used to meet often with Father Svarinskas. We were both bearing the harness of prisoners in the "katorga", (penal labor — Trans. Note) when we were arrested and sentenced to strict regime camp, we both bore the same cross of suffering, humilation and terror. Father Svarinskas was very patient and loyal like Titus to whom the Apostle Paul wrote. From him I experienced much comfort, strength and sustinence. Father Svarinskas is the pride and glory of the Catholic Church in Lithuania and of the Lithuanian nation.
"The news of his arrest and his impending sentence is very painful," writes Cardinal Slipyj, "but it reminds us of Christ's apostles. When the apostles were arrested and scourged, they left the council rejoicing that in Jesus' name they had earned opprobrium, For this arrest we express our deepest sympathy to Father Svarinskas and to the Lithuanian nation which is losing a zealous priest, but at the same time, praise be to God that He has granted this courageous Confessor and the Faith the grace of witnessing Jesus Christ the Redeemer in the chains of oppression. The voice of confessors bound by the chains of oppression is very powerful, when they proclaim freedom and truth in Jesus Christ... May the merciful Lord lead Father Svarinskas along his way of suffering. May our prayer obtain for him strength and comfort. I wish you the blessings of the Lord."
Dear Cardinal, that in this hour so difficult for us, the faithful of Lithuania, you are with us in heart and with our suffering brother, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas.
Father Alfonsas Svarinskas is described by his parishioners in Viduklė:
"Father Alfonsas Svarinskas has been working in our parish since August, 1976. Observing him, I became convinced that there can be no better priest. He always used to tell us to pray much, to love Christ and to be good children of Lithuania. He used to tell children and teenagers to obey their parents and teachers and to study well. At the end of his sermons, he used to tell us to pray for peace, the elderly and those in Blinstrubiškė.
"For funerals he never took a kopek; he used to bury all the dead of the parish free of charge. To those who were not so well off, he would offer financial assistance. Father Svarinskas renovated our parish church, repaired the paths, gardens and environs. Such a priest is an example to all other priests. Our pastor campaigned especially against the use of alcohol at funerals and anniversaries. He used to say that when there is joy, you are able to rejoice, but now, it is sad and we must mourn."
PETRAS PAULAITIS RELEASED
On October 30, 1982, after thirty-five years of imprisonment, Teacher Petras Paulaitis was released from the KGB Isolation Prison in Vilnius.
Petras Paulaitis was born on June 29, 1904, in the District of Jurbarkas, Village of Kalnėnai. In 1922, he went abroad to Italy where upon finishing high school, he studied philosophy and education for two years. In 1928, he left Italy and worked for four years in education in Lisbon, Portugal. In 1936, Paulaitis returned to Italy and studied theology in the International Theological Institute of Turin.
Upon completion of theological studies, he pursued political economics for two years, and specialized in Latin. In 1938, in Rome, Paulaitis received diplomas in the aforesaid specialties and returned to Lithuania. On June 17, 1939, when the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania, Paulaitis was arrested but that time he was able to get off. They were satisfied with discharging him from his duties as teacher.
Paulaitis was in danger of being arrested again, so he withdrew to Germany, from where in June of the following year, he returned to Lithuania. When the winds of war had blown over Lithuania, Paulaitis taught Latin and the fundamentals of philosophy at the Jurbarkas junior college. In the fall of 1942, the German Gestapo arrested Paulaitis in class. On the way to Kaunas, Paulaitis succeeded in getting away. After that, he lived and worked illegally.
On April 12, 1947, Paulaitis was arrested by the militia, and after seven months of terrible interrogations and torture, he was sentenced to twenty-five years of imprisonment. In 1956, the Special Commission of Moscow reviewed Paulaitis' case and allowed him to go free, but after a year, they arrested him and sentenced him once more to twenty-five years.
As the end of his sentence drew near, the Lithuanian KGB became concerned about Paulaitis' return. While he was still in labor camp, chekists at various levels used to summon him for conversations in which it was mentioned that he might not be allowed to return to Lithuania. Paulaitis refused to engage in such conversations, saying, "I will return either to Lithuania or to any other non-Communist country where I have lived earlier."
After some time, the chekists demanded that Paulaitis write a request to the Lithuanian SSR for permission to settle in Lithuania. Paulaitis refused this requirement as well, saying, "I think that after giving thirty-five years of my life, I have earned the unconditional right to return to my homeland."
Outside, the chekists also tried to dispose people suitably toward Paulaitis' release. On October 27, 1982, in Tauragė, KGB Agent Vitkevičius summoned Leonas Laurinskas and warned him repeatedly not to plan any welcoming for Paulaitis on his return, since any gathering at Paulaitis' place of residence or with Paulaitis would be treated as a crime, and offenders would be held responsible. On
October 18, 1982, Paulaitis was clandestinely taken from the camp in Mordovia without allowing him to bid farewell to his comrades with whom he had shared a common lot.
Taking him to the airport, while keeping him as concealed as possible, the chekists put Paulaitis on a plane, handcuffed him, and in order that no one might notice this symbol of Soviet freedom, covered them with a newspaper. (And this is how they treated a seventy-nine year old man, returning after thirty-five years to "freedom", or, in prison jargon, to the "big zone".)
Watchfully accompanied by three special escorts, Petras Paulaitis was brought back to the Vilnius KGB Headquarters. In their final talks, the chekists asked, almost begged, Paulaitis to confess at least partially that he was guilty. "I am guilty only insofar as I am the son of a small nation — a nation which was unable to defend itself from the Russian army of occupation," said Paulaitis. The next to last day in prison, the chekists took Paulaitis to the department store in Vilnius, and from money in his camp account, bought him clothing and took away his prison uniform.
On October 30, 1982, chekist Lieutenant Colonel Staškevičius, seeing that negotiations had failed, stated, "We will not try you again; if you try to write any memoirs, you will disappear, and no one will know anything about you."
"Yes, I know that people disappear 'n your custody," Paulaitis replied, "you can refuse to let me go, even now."
The last day, after driving Paulaitis around Vilnius and showing him new building projects, the chekists placed him in a car and sent him off to his relatives in Šakiai.
Most recently, Paulaitis has been residing at Kretinga, Vytauto 90. On December 3, 1982, the Kretinga Rayon KGB imposed on Paulaitis an administrative control, in accordance with which for a year he may not leave the house between 9:00 PM and 9:00 AM, he is forbidden to travel outside the rayon, and every Sunday, he is required to report to the militia.
In the country, the camp and abroad, the name of Petras Paulaitis is pronounced with love.
At the Sacharov Hearings in Copenhagen, Paulaitis was described as a paragon of moral rectitude.
In the opinion of many, God kept Paulaitis for thirteen years in the terrible prison of Mordovia, the so-called "stone bag", so that Paulaitis might teach, encourage and strengthen prisoners of more than one nation, especially the youth as they began their Golgotha.
In the Mordovia Prison to which he was transferred for six months, Paulaitis remained for thirteen years. For a long time, he used to distribute food to the prisoners, pour their soup and everyone was satisfied with his fairness.
In prison, Paulaitis worked in the kitchen. As soon as the barley porridge was cooked (without fat, it used to scorch, sticking to the sides of the kettle), it was necessary to scrape the kettle im-mediately with a spoon, so that it might be possible to cook the water for the evening. A "katorga" (penal labor — Trans. Note) job! The kettle was hot, but one had to lean over the kettle half naked, protecting oneself with a leather apron, to scrape the bottom. Paulaitis used to scrape himself this scorched porridge, and give his ration of bread to cell-mates. And so, for days on end, he would content himself with burnt porridge.
It is a great gift of God that Paulaitis, after thirty-five years of imprisonment, is going to spend the last days of his life (he is seventy-nine) in his own country.
May the grace and blessing of God lead the steps of this noble Lithuanian's life.
MSGR. LEOPOLDAS PRATKELIS DIES
On January 7, 1983, in the hospital at Pakruojus, Father Leopoldas Pratkelis, President of the Panevėžys Cathedral Chapter and Pastor of Linkuva, died of a heart attack. He was one of the enlightened and courageous personages in the Catholic Church in Lithuania.
Msgr. Pratkelis was born June 5, 1912, in St. Petersburg. After his parents returned to Lithuania, he lived in the District of Zarasai, Parish of Antalieptė, Village of Paciškiai. Upon finishing Antalieptė Elementary School, he attended Utena High School, and later entered the seminary in Kaunas. On June 11, 1938, Leopoldas Pratkelis was ordained priest and served for a time as Associate Pastor of Klovainiai, in Pabiržė. In 1942, he was appointed Chaplain to the Boys' High School in Panevėžys. When the Russians occupied Lithuania, Bishop Kazimieras Paltarokas appointed Father Pratkelis Chancellor of the Panevėžys Diocese. The chancellor's place should have been in the cathedral; however, persecuted and under surveillance, he left Panevėžys to work in Rokiškis, later in Seduva. For three years, he served as pastor in Rozalimas where in 1950, he was arrested and spent six years in Russian prisons.
Returning to Lithuania, Father Pratkelis worked in Pumpėnai, at first as an associate pastor, and later, as pastor. In 1950, he was appointed as a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter.
In 1964, Msgr. Pratkelis was transferred to the parish of Smilgiai, simultaneously serving as Dean of the Šeduva Deanery. Before two years were up in Smilgiai, he was transferred to Debeikiai. In Debeikiai, a criminal case was being prepared against Msgr. Pratkelis for teaching children catechism, but protests from parishioners helped him avoid a trial. In 1972, he was assigned to Linkuva.
Msgr. Pratkelis was always busy, full of new plan and ideas. For over ten years, he was a member of the Liturgical Commission of Lithuania. To his last days, Msgr. Pratkelis was concerned about all the affairs of the Church: pastoral work in parishes, religious education of the children (he himself used to prepare children for First Communion), the seminary, the fight against alcoholism in the country, etc. The monsignor loved people, he knew how to get along with priests and parishioners. Wherever he served, everyone remembered him warmly.
On January 10, 1983, Msgr. Pratkelis was buried in the churchyard of Linkuva. Participating in the funeral were Bishops Julijonas Steponavičius, Vincentas Sladkevičius, Romualdas Krikščiūnas, Antanas Vaičius, over 160 priests and a large crowd of the faithful. Sermons were preached by Bishop Steponavičius, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, Canon Bronius Antanaitis, Canon P. Žiuke-lis, Father Vincas Arlauskas and others.
The death of Msgr. Pratkelis has been the greatest loss to the Diocese of Panevėžys after the death of Bishop Kazimieras Paltarokas.
SEARCHES AND INVESTIGATIONS
On January 26, 1983, about thirty KGB agents surrounded the
apartment of Father Jonas Kauneckas. Some of them stole into
the priest's study and presented the LSSR Prosecutor's order for a search in connection with the case of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas and the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. The search began at 3:00 PM. Directing the search was Prose-
Father Jonas Kauneckas
cutor Jakavičius of the Republic Prosecutor's Office for Investigations. Witnesses to the search were: (Mrs.) Rima Pavlova, daughter of Česlovas, residing at Žemaitės 21 in Telšiai; Antanas Vidva, residing at L. Pelėdos g. 3-16 and Jurgis Parakininkas, residing at Laisvės 12-34.
Carrying out the search were KGB agents who would not give their names. They examined every bit of paper, and turned over every page in every book. They looked carefully for something even under the jackets of government books, went through all the old newspapers and scraps of paper found in the wastebasket. They confiscated everything written in Father Kauneckas' hand: un-mailed letters, sermons, sermon outlines, various notes and notebooks. In all, about ten thousand pages. Also seized were greetings from acquaintances, letters, telegrams, even envelopes received from soldiers.
They took books: Maceina's Niekšybės paslaptis (Mystery of Iniquity), J. Gedgauda's Lietuvos istorija (History of Lithuania) (pre-history), Grinius' Lietuviškojo charakterio problema (The Problem of Lithuanian Character), Bartkus' Psichologo pastabos (A Psychologist's Notes), Nacionologijos klausimai (Questions of Nationology), five small booklets about St. Casimir, Documents of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, Numbers 1-25, a songbook, three copies of Bernardas Brazdžionis' poetry, Svetimi kalnai (Foreign Hills) (all in typescript) — about twenty books in all.
Confiscated were the Chronicle of the Catholic Church Number 53, six copies of a letter from priests of the Diocese of Telšiai to Brezhnev, a statement by Fathers J. Paliukas and K. Velioniškis of Tverai (fifty pages) with a supplement to the Bishop of Telšiai, the Priests' Council and the Editors of Tiesa (Truth) and Father Gedvila's letter to the Administrator of the Telšiai Diocese concerning his refusal to participate in a meeting with Commissioner for Religious Affairs Petras Anilionis.
Also confiscated were many photographs: Members of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, a youth procession to Šiluva, one to the Hill of Crosses, and one of the funeral of Father Virgilijus Jaugelis, of demolished Wayside Crosses, etc.
From the housekeeper's room, the KGB agents took an Optima typewriter and issue number 32 of Aušra (The Dawn). Every scrap of paper was picked from Father Kauneckas' pockets, and from his coat pocket, the chekists confiscated three Czarist five-ruble gold coins which a woman had donated for gold plating the tabernacle and liturgical vessels at Žemaičių Kalvarija.
(Miss) Stasė Činskytė, who comes to cook, was detained throughout the search. Anyone who came to keep an appointment during that time was searched and questioned, (Father Kauneckas was on call at the time.) even a man who came to drive the priest to visit a patient. A woman KGB agent interrogated and practically stripped (Miss) Rita Bumbliauskaitė who had stopped by. (Miss) Genovaitė Šalkauskaitė who had stopped in to get a key from
(Miss) Činskytė was taken off to the Militia Station where KGB Agent Mrs.) Danutė Dapkūnienė, searched even her shoes.
During the search, the KGB agents repeatedly went out into the hallway to communicate via radio which they had brought. The search lasted until 1:00 AM.
On January 27, 1983, in all factories, offices, schools and even kindergartens of Telšiai, meetings were conducted on the theme: "Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, already twice imprisoned for cooperating with post-war criminals who shot people, has been arrested. Like him is Father Juozas Kauneckas of Telšiai so a search is being carried out at his place and he is being questioned. Do not believe anything else the churchmice or priests say."
At 11:00 AM on January 27, 1983, Father Kauneckas was summoned for questioning by Prosecutor Jakavičius. During the interrogation, along with the prosecutor, a KGB agent took part, giving instructions. During the interrogation, questions were asked about "anti-Soviet publications" found. Father Kauneckas stated that during the search there were no anti-Soviet publications in his possession. "Books are produced privately because they are not allowed to be published by printing houses, and neither priests nor faithful can live without religious or historical books. There would be no Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, nor Chronicle, if no one violated the rights of the faithful," said Father Kauneckas.
During the interrogation, a KGB agent brought a judge who said, "Now your case will be considered," Father Kauneckas was led direcdy from the investigator's office to the courtroom, because he was fined fifty rubles by the Telšiai Rayon Administrative Committee, for "organizing" an All Souls procession in Viešvėnai. Seeking justice, Father Kauneckas went to court. The trial was announced for 10:00 AM, January 26; however, after services on the evening of January 21, Judge (Miss) Paulauskaitė summoned Father Kauneckas, announcing that the case was being postponed since the court had, at the time, many other cases and was unable to consider them all.
There was no one in court, but the judge proclaimed it a public proceeding. Father Kauneckas stated that this case concerns all the faithful and their rights, so that he would have agreed to participate in such a trial; but they would not allow him to leave the courtroom.
Charter Members of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. From left: Fathers Vincas Vėlavičius, Alfonsas Svarinskas, Sigitas Tamkevičius, Juozas Zdebskis, Jonas Kauneckas.
Chairwoman (Mrs.) Liubinavičienė of the Telšiai Rayon Administrative Committee stated that the Committee consisting of Militia Chief Mickevičius, Financial Section Director (Mrs.) Raudonienė, Savickas and others had penalized Father Kauneckas justly, for this, after all, was confirmed by a statement received from Viešvėnai District workers, Mr. and Mrs. Bumbliauskas. Assistant Prosecutor (Mrs.) Butnorienė also supported the accusation. Father Father Kauneckas stated that he did not understand why the court gave no consideration at all to the arguments submitted in his complaint. The panel was embarrassed.The court affirmed that Father Kauneckas had been sentenced justly. Judge Paulauskaitė paid no attention at all to the Rule of Civil Proceedings, that the court must set aside the fine if the Administrative Committee imposes it for acts more than thirty days past. (Civilinio proceso kodekso komentaras — Commentary on the Code of Civil Proceedings, Par. 262, 18 and 33) In this case the Telšiai Administrative Committee fined Father Kauneckas fifty-nine days after the fact.
At 2:00 PM on January 26, 1983, a search was carried out at the home of Father Algimantas Keina, Pastor of Valkininkai, for the purpose of seizing Documents of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights and other material relevant to the case. Directing the search was Attorney Bičkauskas. The search was carried out by seven KGB agents with two witnesses present. Organist (Miss) Rita Lengvenytė and the pastor, Father Keina, were searched. In the course of the raid, two notebooks of Father Keina's sermons were seized, along with Documents of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, and a typewriter.
On January 27, 1983, Father Keina was interrogated at the offices of the LSSR Prosecutor. Investigator Bičkauskas asked Father Keina who the chairman of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights is, who drafts the documents, where the members meet, how the Committee Documents reach foreign countries, etc.
The priest explained that the Committee has no chairman. All members are equal, the documents are drafted jointly, and how they reached foreign countries he had no idea. The interrogation lasted four hours.
Garliava (Rayon of Kaunas).
(Mrs.) Jadvyga Bieliauskienė, arrested November 29, 1982, in Garliava, is presently being held in the KGB Isolation Prison in Vilnius.
(Mrs.) Bieliauskienė, in the words of Investigators Pilelis and Urbonas, is accused of organizing a religious group among high school students in Garliava, of collecting signatures under believers' petitions, of writing a complaint to the Kaunas City Prosecutor about the terrorizing of children, and illegal interrogations, etc. For such anti-Soviet activity, she is being threatened with seven years in prison.
During the era of Stalinist repression, (Mrs.) Bieliauskienė was sentenced to ten years in prison.
On December 8, 1982, with Lieutenant Colonel Vilimas in the lead, KGB agents broke into the apartment of (Mrs.) Irena Skuodienė (Vandentiekio 44-4) carried out a search with the purpose
"of seizing literature with libelous content and other documents pertaining to the case."
Seized during the raid were: a visitor's card with the inscription "Edward Wayne Merrylecend, Secretary, Embassy of the United States of America", a visitor's card inscribed, "Daniel Prid, Vice Consul, USA", and a pocket calendar with various entries.
On December 17, 1982, (Mrs.) Skuodiene wrote the Prosecutor of the SSR a complaint as follows:
"On December 8, 1982, a search was made of my apartment under rather dramatic circumstances, with the purpose of finding libelous literature. Directing the search was Investigator Vilimas, participating were Vlacov Kondrasevsky, N. Bozk and Mickus, with witnesses Sheshtakov and Ribakov.
"I consider this incident to be but one more act in the chain of persecution of the family of Vytautas Skuodis, beginning at the end of 1979.
"Elements of this constant persecution are: surveillance, phone tapping, accusations at work, confiscation of mail and its delay. Occasionally the routine is varied by more drastic measures: For example, in 1981 I was summoned for a semi-official talk about the family, in which I was obliged to accept responsibility for any information concerning Vytautas Skuodis and his condition in his place of punishment.
"On April 2, 1982, they threatened to take me to court on Par. 68 of the LSSR Criminal Code for my statement and conviction that my husband is a conscientious man who has served the public, has firm beliefs and is in no way a criminal. I reject this threat as unreasonable, even though legal "arguments' were used, especially since in the first warning (1981) we find the sentence: 'We do not punish people for their beliefs.' Thus it is my deep conviction that Soviet officials completely disregard the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
"I protest against the constant persecution of Vytautas Skuodis' family, capped by breaking down the door of my apartment.
"On the morning of December 8, some woman rang the door bell, desiring to 'deliver' a telegram. I asked her to give it to me through the crack in the door, leaving the chain on. However she demanded that I allow her in, ostensibly for me to sign . . . Suspecting a trick I slammed the door but when she would not stop ringing the door bell I was forced to disconnect it. Then I
heard knocking on the door. A man's voice shouted, 'Open up, bitch, or I'll break the door down!"
"Frightened I summoned the militia. However by the time someone came, Lieutenant Colonel Vilimas was already raging in my apartment, 'I'm the boss here!' I don't think any comment is needed . ..
"The KGB has been interfering in one way or another in our apartment, my family's places of employment, and consider themselves the masters of our fate, while I, the powerless victim of persecution dare to call your attention to such brutal actions on the part of police officials."
On May 6, 1982, as she was getting off the train in the Riga railroad station, Šiauliai resident (Mrs.) Stasė Tamutienė was detained. At the militia station the chekists, without showing or presenting any search warrant, carried out a detailed search of the things she had with her and of her person. Nothing except a rosary and prayer book were found in the course of the search. After the search, which took an hour, Mrs. Tamutienė was allowed to go.
On December 8, 1982, a search was carried out in Mrs. Tamutienė's apartment (Šiauliai, Ežero 65-35), storage space and garage. Directing the search was a KGB investigator from Vilnius, Major Valaitis. Three chekists from the city of Šiauliai carried out the search in the presence of two witnesses. During the search, looking for anti-Soviet literature and for documents, the local chekists were most disturbed. Finding photographs of prisoners or exiles, they tried to prove that they were reprinted in order to send them abroad. They carefully read Christmas greetings written to relatives and acquaintances living abroad. Members of the family quipped that after such censorship the letters and greetings would surely reach the addressees.
Confiscated in the course of the search were: the book Ąžuolai vėtroje (Oaks in the Gale) (two copies), a notebook and addresses in Belgium.
When she refused to sign it, the chekists did not leave the search order.
After the search, (Miss) Dalia Tamutytė was taken to the Šiauliai City KGB for interrogation. Major Valaitis was interested in knowing why Dalia went to Moscow, what she had passed on to foreigners working in Moscow, where and what she had heard about events in Vilnius after the football game in the fall of 1982, etc. The investigator demanded that no one be told about the interrogation which took about six hours.
On December 17, 1982, (Miss) Tamutytė was once again summoned to Vilnius KGB Headquarters to see Investigator Valaitis. The chekist asked the woman whether she had not noticed any psychological aberrations in the behavior of (Mrs.) Edita Abrutienė. (She had been arrested December 8, 1982, and Criminal Case No. 105 had been filed against her according to
Par. 199 of the LSSR Criminal Code for allegedly disseminating deliberate calumnies defaming the Soviet government and system.) She was asked why she had been to Moscow, whether she knew certain foreigners,. Whether she or her mother had not met with foreign correspondent and other foreigners. The investigator was interested in knowing what (Miss) Tamutytė knows about the Chronicle and other underground publications.
Investigator Daugalis, arriving during the interrogation, was dissatisfied with (Miss) Tamutytė's answers, and threatened that they would meet elsewhere and talk in another fashion. The interrogation lasted approximately three hours.
On November 23, 1982, (Miss) Bernardeta Mališaitė was forcibly taken by militia to Vilnius KGB headquarters. Investigator Vili-mas asked her what she knew about Ukrainian exile Zorian Po-padiuk, where she had obtained his address, whether she had sent him packages, etc.
She refused to sign the interrogation report.
After the interrogation, (Miss) Mališkaitė was questioned by yet another chekist (who called himself Major Sasnauskas). The chekist was interested in knowing why (Miss) Mališkaitė had quit teaching, praised her teaching skills, told her to reconsider and to go back to work at the school. He offered his own recommendation, since without it, it was doubtful whether anyone would hire her. Most recently, (Miss) Mališkaitė has gone to work for the church in Virbalis.
At 10:00 AM on November 29, 1982, (Miss) Ona Šarakauskaitė was summoned to see Investigator Kovalev at Vilnius KGB Headquarters.
At KGB Headquarters, a chekist presented himself to (Miss) Sarakauskaite, and stating that Investigator Kovalev was occupied and would be able to receive her only after noon, said that therefore he would like to have a friendly chat with her. To (Miss) Šarakauskaitė's demand that the next time they be more accurate in telling her the appointment time, and that she be allowed to leave the office because she was in no mood to listen to the chekist's lecture — no one paid attention.
During the talk, the chekist, making himself out to be a good Communist, said that he had been assigned to concern himself with (Miss) Šarauskaitė's future, and so he knew the members of her family and her friends well. The subject replied that she was satisfied with her life, and asked him not to inconvenience himself for her future. When (Miss) Šarakauskaitė said that she was going to tell everyone young and old about the KGB agents who had dared to speak to her sister, (Miss) Zita Šarakauskaitė in the most vile and libelous terms about priests, the KGB agent became terribly angry, and warned her that for this, she could be punished. The chekist expressed regret that in post-War Lithuania, all convents had been closed, since now it was difficult for the government to keep them under control. He mentioned that in the near future, the KGB would begin showing more concern about religious communities working underground, assigning each young woman religious an overseer like him, and summoning them and their parents for talks with the KGB.
In his talk, the chekist emphasized that he was worried about the environment in which Onutė lives and works (she lives and works at the church in Kybartai), and he tried the whole time to convince her that she is out of touch with life, blindly stubborn and exploited, but just did not feel it so far. He suggested that she change her way of life and her work; he tried to convince her not to bury her talents, and to go on to higher studies.
During the interrogation after lunch, Kovalev asked (Miss) Šarakauskaitė where she knew Ukrainian Zorian Popadiuk from, and what she knew about him. (Miss) Šarakauskaitė refused to sign the interrogation report.
After the interrogation, the KGB agent mentioned above came in to finish his "friendly" chat. Failing to "communicate", he promised that they would meet more than once in the future.
On November 11, 1982, Zita Šarakauskaitė, a student in the fourth class at the O. Suchackienė Normal School, was summoned to see Investigator Kovalev at the Vilnius KGB Headquarters. The investigator explained that the girl had been summoned as a witness in the case of the Ukrainian Zorian Popadiuk. He asked where she had obtained the address of the prisoner, what she wrote in her letters, whether she had been to visit him in exile, etc. (It is customary in Lithuania for people to send greetings, letters and packages to prisoners of conscience, in prison or in exile.)
(Miss) Šarakauskaitė refused to sign the interrogation report. After the questioning, a chekist who did not give his name tried to recruit (Miss) Šarakauskaitė as an informer. He wanted to know where her sister, Ona, worked, whether Zita visited her frequently, and whether she received illegal publications to read. He explained that her sister, getting mixed up with (Miss) Ona Vitkauskaitė and (Miss) Genovaitė Navickaitė, kad gone astray.
During the talk, the chekist denigrated active priests with libelous inventions and taking his leave, promised that she would have to see him again.
Joniškėlis (Rayon of Pasvalis).
The pastor of Joniškėlis, Father Benediktas Urbonas, was questioned on December 6, 1982, at Pasvalis Rayon KGB Headquarters as one having ties abroad. The KGB agents especially wanted to know to whom and where the priest had sent copies of the petition in which Father Urbonas complained about being fined for teaching children. (See Chronicle, Number 54 — Trans. Note) "Say that you gave the information to Father Antanas Balaišis, pastor of Saločiai, and everything will be alright," demanded the chekist. Father Urbonas refused to have any part in such contrived testimony.
On July 19, 1982, KGB Agent Jonas Matulevičius delivered to (Miss) Daiva Tamošiūnaitė a summons to go to the KGB on July 20. Going to the KGB, the girl found the same agent, Matulevičius. The chekist was very pleasant to the girl, saying that he wanted to see how "little Daiva" is getting along, so he had delivered the summons himself. In an effort to win the schoolgirl's acceptance, the agent told her about himself, asked her about school, and gave her advice on how to choose a career.
However, Daiva was uncommunicative. Then he began asking where she had obtained prisoner's addresses, why she was writing letters, and who had put her up to it. The girl stood her ground. The chekist began threatening that he would inform the school and the ministry and there would be much unpleasantness. He told her to think it over quickly and to come to the public library on July 27. Daiva did not keep the appointment.
On August 31, 1982, Arūnas Kavaliauskas was summoned to the Military Commissariat. There, after the usual preliminaries, an officer told him to go into an office which was entered simultaneously by KGB agent G. Matulevičius. The KGB agent told Arūnas to write an autobiography including his religious beliefs. The questioning began. The KGB agent asked whether the young man went to church of his own will, or did his parents pressure him. Arūnas said that he went of his own accord. The chekist further asked whether he knew Fathers Svarinskas and Kauneckas, and whom he knew from among those who went to the church in Petrašiūnai, especially among the youth.
Arūnas said that he did not know anyone. Then the KGB agent tried to recruit the young man to work for them, offering him money, an apartment and an exemption from military service. If he did not agree to their proposal, he could expect much unpleasantness. Arūnas refused to sign on. At the end of the interrogation, KGB Agent Matulevičius warned the young man to say nothing to anyone about the meeting, and made two appointments: September 6, at 2:00 PM, he was to come to the Girstupis Store, and if anything prevented him — on September 7 at the same hour. Again he was warned to come to the meetings alone.
On the agreed date, the KGB agents did not see Arūnas. They phoned him at home, but not finding him, they stopped looking.
By such methods, promises and threats, the KGB recruited other young people and did not hesitate to suggest to some of them specific assignments. Special efforts were made to recruit the young people attending church in Petrašiūnai.
On June 17, 1982, pupil (Miss) Vilija Masytė of Kaunas Middle School XXI was called to school for a talk with KGB Agent Jonas Matulevičius. The girl came to the meeting with her mother, but the chekist ordered the mother out of the office. With exaggerated politeness, the chekist questioned the student about her graduation farewell party and about her plans for the future, of which he seemed to have been informed by someone or other.
Afterwards, he began to inquire whether she read underground literature. The girl answered in the negative. Then the KGB agent pulled out a few letters which she had written to prisoners and began to question her: Why had she written to political prisoners?
Where had she obtained their addresses?, etc. The girl acknowledged that she had written and explained that everyone has a right to correspond with whomever they wish, and that that she had learned of the addresses through Vatican Radio broadcasts.
The KGB agent boasted that he knew everything, but that he wanted her to acknowledge everything herself. The chekist wasted much time trying to convince the student that political prisoners have been justly sentenced, since some of them are real murderers. He knew some of them himself, and spoke mostly of Docent Skuodis, Balys Gajauskas and Paulaitis. Vilija paid no attention to his tales, because she felt that they were routine lies.
The chekist complained that litters and holiday greeting cards intergere with a prisoner's "rehabilitation".
KGB Agent Matulevičius demanded that the student write a statement telling why she wrote letters to prisoners, what she plans to do in the future, and where she obtained the addresses. The girl did not write an explanation; what she plans to do later is her own business.
The KGB agent, as usual, began to intimidate the girl, saying that she would not get into any institution of higher learning, and besides, she might even end up in prison. After a long talk, the chekist once more tried to get a statement out of her, saying that when he returned, it would be necessary to show what he had accomplished.
The interrogation lasted three hours.
When all the graduates were being given their reports, Vilija Masytė received none. Her homeroom teacher explained that her report did not yet have the entry, "She consorts with political prisoners."
To: The Prosecutor of the LSSR From: Henrikas Ratautas and Janina Ratautienė Residing at Kaunas, Komunos 8-1
We address you, Prosecutor, regarding the following matter. Our son, Henrikas Ratautas, is being intimidated and forced to sign up to work as a KGB agent-informer.
On October 13, 1982, at 10:00 PM, our son was leaving Vilnius on family matters. At the 27km. point on the road from Vilnius to Kaunas, an accident happened. It was dark, raining, and my son ran over a drunken citizen, who had already been struck mortally by a preceeding car. Since he was very close, the driver of the other car tried to stop my son, but the latter, blinded by oncoming headlights, failed to stop his car in time.
KGB Agent Jonas Matulevičius, taking advantage of this unfortunate incident, is threatening my son with five years in prison.
On May 7, 1982, our son reported to the Soviet Army, but was exempted by the Republic Medical Commission on the basis of his medical history. According to the Judgement of the Republic's Medical Commission, the military Commissariat of the City of Kaunas, the Rayon of Panemunė, issued a certificate acknowledging that he was unsuitable for military service.
On January 13, 1983, my son was summoned to the Military Commissariat where KGB Agent Matulevičius was waiting for him. He began to warn my son about avoiding the Soviet Army, and threatened him with five years of prison — obviously, if he did not sign on as a KGB agent-informer.
The next day (January 14, 1983), after the summons to the Military Commissariat, my son and I had to go to the Trakai Militia Substation. There the same KGB agent, Matulevičius, met my son. He said, "If your medical history is confirmed by the military hospital (there we terrorized you more) then under cover of an accident, it will be easier for us to do a job on you." The only out was to sign up to work as a KGB agent-informer.
We are surprised that without force and blackmail, the KGB cannot recruit cadres for itself on a free-will basis.
Honorable Prosecutor, we ask you to explain why the same laws apply unequally: in one way for those who do not sign up, and in another way for those who do. We ask you, Prosecutor, to give directions to the appropriate agencies, to leave our son in peace.
We await your reply in writing. January 28, 1983
THE PERSECUTION OF JONAS SADŪNAS
In the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, Number 55, it was written that a search had taken place at the home of
Jonas Sadūnas, and, while he was in the hospital, an investigation was begun. Events further transpired as follows.
From November 11, 1982, Jonas Sadūnas was being prepared for an operation to alleviate angina. In the hospital, he wrote to the Chairman of the Lithuanian SSR State Security Committee (KGB) the following petition:
"On October 11, 1982, a search was carried out in my apartment at Architektų g. 27-2, in connection with Case Number 57-2-031-81, looking for examples of my handwriting. As a matter of fact, the searchers were interested not in my handwriting, but in letters, addresses, mail receipts, etc. Assistant Prosecutor (Miss) R. Juciūtė was being forced by someone to hurry, and she questioned me even in the hospital. It is very likely that someone wants to get rid of me. Some of the arguments force one to think that it is all the work of the KGB:
"1. The KGB was very displeased by my correspondence with prisoners of conscience and with many people in the West.
"2. On October 22, 1974, after two days of interrogation, KGB agent Vincas Platinskas forced me to go to Simnas, to Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, and tape an interview with the priest. Two KGB agents took me to Alytus and presenting me with a miniature tape recorder, sent me to see Father Sigitas Tamkevičius. Because I did not tape our conversation, Vincas Platinskas became very angry with me.
"At the end of June 1975, Vincas Platinskas summoned me to the KGB Headquarters, and taking me to a safe-house at Cvirkos g. 17, used all sorts of threats to force me to become a KGB collaborator. Very regrettably, I did not have the strength then to repel the pressure and formally agreed to help Vincas Platinskas. Since I never gave the KGB agents any information about anything, it is understandable why I am now being persecuted.
"I declare to you, Chairman of the Internal Security Committee: "1. I firmly refuse to cooperate with the KGB at any time.
"2. I protest against the fact that I, even though innocent, am being persecuted.
"3. I am ready to be sentenced, remanded to a psychiatric hospital, or to be completely destroyed, but I will never act against my Christian conscience."
The day after the petition had been sent out, at 9:00 AM, Doctor
Jonas Sadūnas, his wife Marytė and daughter Marija.
(Mrs.) J. Blažienė, told Sadūnas that he would have to enter the X-ray chamber repeatedly, since he was still suffering from a cough and a temperature of 37.7 C. Fifteen minutes later, Sadūnas was summoned by the nurse to go into Dr. Blažienė's office, where he was told that he was being discharged from the hospital and being recommended for treatment at the Vilnius V Polyclinic.
At noon, they gave him an excuse from work, and a certification of illness from the Vilnius II Hospital. Sadūnas, taking leave of fellow patients in the ward, was preparing to go, but a nurse coming in asked him to wait because Dr. Blažienė wished to give him a supplementary certificate of illness.
Instead of the certificate, five minutes later, Militia Sergeant Dvilev entered the ward and without a warrent, arrested Sadūnas. Taking him down and seating him in the car where, along with three militiamen there was another civilian, he showed him a piece of paper with some sort of text, but allowed him to read only (Miss) Juciūtė's signature, and asking whether he was acquainted with her, drove him off to N. Vilnios Psychiatric Hospital VI, the Men's Psychiatric Testing Section. In the section were thirtyfour men under bad conditions. Sadūnas was summoned by Doctor (Mrs.) Regina Ražinskienė She asked whether he had not been a patient in a psychiatric hospital earlier, whether his parents had suffered from psychiatric disorders, and whether he had ever received a blow to the head.
Sadūnas replied that nothing of the sort had happened to him. Doctor Ražinskienė praised the Soviet government for being so humane: If Sadūnas were to be acknowledged mentally ill, the case against him would be dropped . . . After a month or so, she would tell him whether "treatment" were necessary, and if so, would transfer Sadūnas to another section for "treatment". After two or three years, he might be released.
On November 18, 1982, Jonas Sadūnas' wife, Marytė, and his sister, Nijolė Sadūnaitė, wrote expressions of protest to the Prosecutor of the LSSR, with copies to the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. In her statement to the prosecutor, Nijolė Sadūnaitė writes:
"At the end of 1970, in the offices of the KGB, during an interrogation in connection with the case of Father Antanas Šeškevičius, KGB Agent Gudas, while warning and threatening me with various penalties, said, among other things, 'It's going to be bad for your brother.'
"After my arrest in 1974, my brother Jonas Sadūnas was pressured by KGB agents in all sorts of ways.
"On October 11, 1982, under the direction of a man in civilian clothes who did not give his name, nor sign the report, a search was carried out, not only in my brother's room, but also in mine, even though there was no warrant for the search. The purpose was to accuse my brother of libel.
"Finally, on the 18th, realizing the absurdity of the accusation, the militia took my brother from the hospital where he was being prepared for an angina operation, and placed him in the Naujosios Vilnios Psychiatric Hospital.
"My brother is completely healthy. This can be testified by anyone who has known him, among them, our uncle, the physician Kazimieras Rimkus, citizen of the United States, who visited us this summer with his wife.
"I protest against this terrible arbitrariness, and demand that my brother Jonas Sadūnas be discharged as soon as possible from the Psychiatric Hospital."
At 11:30 AM on November 22, 1982, Jonas Sadūnas was visited in the Psychiatric Hospital by his sister, Nijolė Sadūnaitė. Before they had a chance to talk, Doctor Ražinskienė came running out of her office and began to shout, "Who are you, anyhow? What are you doing speaking with the patients? What do you want here?" (Miss) Sadūnaitė explained that she was Sadūnas' sister and had the right to visit her brother. Doctor Ražinskienė fell into hysteria, began to put on airs, to become sarcastic, to stick out her tongue, and afterwards, she began to shout, "Get out of here immediately, or I'll call the militia and they will throw you out!"
Nijolė Sadūnaitė left. That same day, she wrote the Prosecutor of the LSSR a petition in which, describing how Dr. Ražinskienė had without reason ordered her from the hospital, she asks: "Who gave Doctor Ražinskienė the right to forbid me to visit my brother, and to shout at me in front of everyone there? Please punish those who break Soviet law and order and please release Jonas Sadunas as soon as possible from the psychiatric hospital."
To the November 22, 1982 petition of Nijolė Sadūnaitė, Third Class State Consultant to the Prosecutor's Office of the Lithuanian SSR A. Kiriyenka responded:
"December 1, 1982, Number 13/119-80.
"In response to your statement of November 22, 1982, I wish to inform you that for your brother, Jonas Sadūnas, on trial in a criminal case on the basis of Par. 132 lid of the Lithuanian SSR Criminal Code, by order of the Vilnius Rayon Prosecutor's Office, an expert examination has been ordered, to be carried out at the N. Vilnios Psychiatric Hospital."
After ordering Nijolė Sadūnaitė from the hospital, Doctor Ražinskiene stated to her brother Jonas Sadūnas that a KGB agent and two militiamen had helped her to write the report that Nijolė Sadūnaite had insulted her and was now going to get at least a year in prison camp.
After November 22, militiamen looked for Nijolė Sadūnaitė at the home of (Miss) Bronė Kibickaitė (Vilnius Tiesos g. 11-38) three times, and a KGB agent once, but they never found her.
November 23, 1982, Nijolė Sadūnaitė, in a petition to the Minister for Health Care, writes among other things: "If it were not for the white coat which Doctor Ražinskienė was wearing, I would have thought that it was an aggressive psychiatric patient. After I had left, Doctor Ražinskienė began to interrogate my brother, 'Are you
Catholic? Why did you write greetings to the bishop?' Since when is it considered a crime in the Soviet Union to believe and at holiday time, to greet clergy?"
In November, 1982, Jonas Sadūnas was discharged from the hospital and declared healthy. Investigator Juciūtė of the Prosecutor's Office, without regard for the fact that Jonas Sadūnas had an excuse slip from work and was taking treatment, nevertheless sent invitations to present himself to the Prosecutor's Office for interrogation. The case is continued.
NEWS FROM THE DIOCESES
In 1982, right after the Feast of All Saints, District Chairman B. Kringelis, coming to the Viduklė parish rectory, wrote up a complaint that the pastor, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, on November 1, 1982, at 2:15 PM, committed an offense against the procedure established in Par. 50 of the Regulations for Religious Associations, confirmed July 28, 1976, by order of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the LSSR, by organizing a march from the church of Viduklė, to the cemetery and back.
That religious march was organized without obtaining permission of the Raseiniai Rayon Executive Committee, thus violating the order of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the LSSR, dated May 12, 1966, entitled, "Administrative Responsibility for Offenses Against Religious Cults".
On November 25, 1982, the Administrative Commission of the Raseiniai Rayon Executive Committee, consisting of Chairwoman (Mrs.) O. Stonienė (Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee), Secretary (Mrs.) D. Kleivienė and members: (Mrs.) O. Pikelienė (Chairman of the Raseiniai City Executive Committee), P. Korol-kov (Raseiniai Militia Chief) and J. Ažubalis (Director of the Finance Section) fined the faithful of the Viduklė Parish who had actively participated in the All Souls' Procession and their pastor:
1. The pastor, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, fifty rubles (ad-
ministratively fined six times).
2.Juozas Norvilą, fifty rubles (also fined in 1981).
3.Alfonsas Staskevičius, fifty rubles.
4.Izidorius Irmoška, forty rubles.
5. Jonas Supranas, thirty rubles. 8. Antanas Steponaitis, forty rubles.
7. Remigijus Kučinskas, forty rubles, and expulsion from the Communist Youth League.
Remigijus Kučinskas refused to accept the decision and took the Administrative Commission to the Peoples' Court of the City of Raseiniai. January 14, 1983, was the date scheduled for consideration of the Kučinskas case.
The government atheists, frightened by the people who gathered, transferred the trial to the Judge's chambers.
Interrogated by the Administrative Commission, all the people of Viduklė boldly defended their faith, the Church and their pastor, affirming that next year, too, they would go in procession to the cemetery, regardless of fines or persecution.
"For forty-two years I have been carrying the processional cross," said Antanas Kazlauskas, "and as long as I have the strength, I will continue to carry it."
The fine imposed on Remigijus Kučinskas was deducted from his pay, even before the Court's final decision.
On January 13, 1982, Regimantas Strumskis, the Chief of Administration in the local farm transport communications accrediting section, was summoned to Vilnius KGB Headquarters. The chekists, without even introducing themselves, threatened Strumskis with dismissal from his duties if he did not rehabilitate his sister, (Miss) Janina Strumskytė, living in Rokiškis. In their opinion, (Miss) Strumskytė organizes children to participate in church services and works along with the Associate Pastor of Rokiškis, the extremist Father Vladas Braukyla.
Rokiškis ' ,
On October 29, 1982, Staff members of the Rokiškis Rayon Executive Committee: Eduardas Firas and (Mrs.) Simanavičienė scolded the Associate Pastor of Rokiškis, Father Vladas Braukyla in the rectory for not consulting with them before giving a sermon, since according to them, "By not consulting, harm is done to atheism."
"In Lithuania, the Church is separated from the state, and therefore there is no ned for the priest to mix with the enemies of the Church — the atheists. The parish is large, and there is enough church work," replied Father Braukyla.
Vice Chairman Firas accused Father Braukyla of passing information on to the Vatican.
On December 30, 1982, (Mrs). Zina Cicenienė, Directress of the Pastry Section of the Dainava Restaurant in Vilnius, announced that the section would be working on Sundays. Pastry cook (Miss) Joana Bukaveckaitė protested: "I will not work on Sundays or religious holidays. Will you allow me to make up for it on other days?"
Directress Cicenienė would not agree to such compensatory time.
"Perhaps she is abnonnal! We'll have to take her to Vasaros gatvė (Vasaros gatvė is the location of the psychiatric hospital.) We will get rid of that fanaticism. If you just try to skip work, we will take care of you, we'll fire you," Cadre Division Chief (Mrs.) Pelenienė lectured (Miss) Bukaveckaitė, uninhibited by people who had come in to pick up their orders.
On January 4, 1983, Section Chief (Mrs.) Cicenienė announced to (Miss) Bukaveckaitė that a truancy report had been written up on her for not coming to work on Sunday. "They will discharge me if they find out that I am giving you compensatory time. You cannot work among young peoole. You're so young to have such convictions," the directress marvelled.
On January 5, 1983, the restaurant director also refused to allow (Miss) Bukaveckaitė compensatory time, ordering her to submit a written excuse for days missed, and threatened to discharge her for truancy.
On September 11, and on December 18, 1982, (Miss) Bukaveckaitė refused to participate in organized volunteer Socialist work, and for this, she was discussed repeatedly in meetings.
Lauksoda (Telšiai Rayon)
On January 11, 1983, in the parish of Lauksoda, (Mrs.) Marijona Bumbliauskienė was being buried. As Father Jonas Kauneckas was hearing confessions, three young men, leaving church, said loudly, "That priest doesn't talk about sins in confession, but tells people to fight the Russians." Hearing this, a man behind them remarked, "None of them went to confession, nor even knelt down in church, and they dare to denigrate the priest like that!"
Lately, the KGB in the City of Telšiai has been summoning school children who are believers, and threatening that they will have to pay a penalty for going to church. At the same time, they tell them to go to confession to Father Kauneckas, and afterwards, to come and give them reports denigrating the priest. They are preparing to move against Father Kauneckas.
In December, 1982, in the Republic of Kaunas Clinical Hospital, a student of the Kaunas seminary, third-year seminarian Bronius Tamelis died.
On December 22, 1982, the remains of the deceased were transferred from the Cathedral Basilica of Kaunas to the Church of Ukmergė where priests and a throng of the faithful were waiting. The funeral took place December 23. The rayon government forbade seminarian Bronius Tamelis to be buried in the churchyard. The funeral procession: The casket containing the remains of the deceased, seminary students and the faculty, approximately twenty priests and a large throng of the faithful, marched singing along the streets of Ukmergė to the new city cemetery in Bukstynas (4.5 km from Ukmergė).
After the funeral, the priests of Ukmergė: The pastor, Father Antanas Danyla and associate pastor Father Juozas Kakanevičius were summoned for interrogation. Rayon Executive Committee Chairman Bernotas accused the pastor, Father Danyla, of organizing the procession during the funeral.
Co-workers of the deceased seminarian's father expressed their sympathy in the rayon newspaper. Some time later, the neighbors also wished to express their sympathy to the parents. However, the expression of sympathy never appeared.
Simnas (Alytus Rayon)
Three Sundays before Christmas, 1982, the priests in the church of Simnas announced to the faithful that on the second day of Christmas, Santa Claus would be visiting the churchyard.
The pastor, Father Juozas Matulevičius and his assistant, Father Juozas Gražulis, were summoned to see Alytus Rayon Executive Committee Vice Chairman Makštutis, who demanded that even if Santa Claus came, there be no Christmas tree in the churchyard.
On December 26, 1982, the choir and other parishioners were getting ready in the churchyard to welcome Santa Claus. They were decorating Christmas trees and putting up the lights. The Simnas Executive Committee Chairman Šuoliūnas appeared and demanded that the Christmas trees be removed from the churchyard, but no one would listen to his wishes. Among those working in the churchyard was shop teacher Vyšniauskas of the Simnas Middle School.
The Christmas party took place in a joyous holiday spirit: Many believers were there, Santa Claus came and extended holiday greetings to everyone, giving the children little gifts.
After the holidays, the investigations began. Teacher Vyšniauskas was repeatedly summoned to the office of Principal (Mrs.) Mikalauskienė of Simnas Middle School. The principal scolded the teacher because he, although being an educator, dared to help take care of the lighting in the churchyard. He harassed him for participating in the church choir. Shortly thereafter, Teacher Vyšniauskas was summoned to the Alytus Rayon Department of Education where they tried "gently" to convince him, as an uncertified specialist, to resign as teacher. (Teacher Vyšniauskas resigned.)
Choristers A. Gurčius and Geraltauskas were interrogated by the Alytus Militia Intelligence Section.
The one who most terrorizes the pupils in Simnas Middle School is (Mrs.) Apanavičienė: She drafts them into the Pioneers Organization and forces them to wear kerchiefs. The persecution of pupils who are religious believers has intensified in the Mergalaukis Elementary School. The most notorious here is Teacher Černiauskas.
Simnas (Alytus Rayon)
The Simnas parish priests, the pastor, Father Juozas Matulevičius and his associate, Father Juozas Gražulis, were visiting their parishioners. After they had visited several villages, the atheists of the rayon moved.
Father Matulevičius, the pastor, was summoned to the Simnas Executive Committee to see Chairman Šuoliūnas, who tried to explain that kalėdojimas is forbidden. (Trans. Note — Traditional annual visitation of parishioners' homes, involving certain formalities.) "We are not engaged in kalėdojimas, but just visiting parishioners and not taking any donations." said Father Matulevičius.
On January 24, 2983, Father Matulevičius and Father Gražulis were both summoned to see Vice Chairman Makštutis. The vice chairman scolded the priests for organizing the Christmas party and forbade them to visit parishioners.
On November 9, 1982, the Administrative Commission of the Vilkaviškis Rayon assessed the pastor of Kybartai, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, an administrative fine because on November 1, 1982, he had organized a procession of the faithful from the church to the cemetery.
On January 23, 1983, that same administrative commission again assessed Father Sigitas Tamkevičius an administrative fine "to warn" him for "organizing ceremonies in the churchyard without permission of the Rayon Executive Committee," thus violating the July 28, 1976 order of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council. The so-called "ceremonies" were as follows: On December 26, after evening devotions, Santa Claus arrived in the churchyard, greeted the children gathered there, and distributed little gifts among them. It appears that Santa Claus is also being treated as a serious threat to the government and the atheists of Lithuania.
Užuguostis (Prienai Rayon)
On January 17, 1983, the pastor of Užuguostis parish, Father Zenonas Navickas, wrote to thank A. Matulaitis, author of the article, Aklos neapykantos akys (Eyes Blinded by Hatred), in which the writer libeled and derided the priest with various inventions, and the editor of Naujas Gyvenimas (New Life) which had printed the aforesaid article. In the words of Father Navickas, people reading this fantastic article became interested in many questions, became clearly convinced whose side the truth was on, and church attendance increased.
Mikoliškės (Kretinga Rayon).
On December 5, 1982, the parish committee and the faithful of the parish of Mikoliškės sent Chairman Barkauskas of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the LSSR a petition signed by 793 persons. Following is a summary of the text:
"In the third section of the instruction adopted July 28, 1976, by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the LSSR, it says: 'A religious association has the right to obtain means of transportation.' Since no organization gives us a bus, and no one changes their route, we, on the basis of this instruction, request permission to obtain a used bus. Many of the Mikoliškės parish people live 4-11 km. from the church, while buses to the remote villages travel a route such that the faithful can never get to church.
"Believers have approached the Administation of the J. Janonis Communal Farm in the Rayon of Klaipėda where they work, and asked to rent a bus for three hours, but the request remained unfilled. The Klaipėda and Kretinga Terminals refused to change the routes. The Ministry of Transport likewise did not pay attention to the people's requests. The Klaipėda Rayon Communal Farm Organization said to the faithful, 'We have buses for going to the theater, but not for going to church.
"Surely it is not polite or humane so to treat people who have given their entire lives to the communal farm. Why such fanaticism and discrimination?"
Palėvenėlė (Kupiškis Rayon)
December 18, 1982, Chairman Osvaldas Gasiūnas of the Palėvenėlė District, Kupiškis Rayon, detained letter-carrier (Mrs.) Teresė Petrulienė, demanding that she turn over the Christmas wafers she was carrying. When Petrulienė refused to surrender the Christmas wafers, the district chairman ordered her into the communal farm office where he searched her arbitrarily and took away about thirty blessed Christmas wafers. Right then and there he threatened that the letter-carrier would be discharged from her duties. Not long after, the Supervisor of the Kupiškis Rayon Communication Section reprimanded (Mrs.) Petrulienė, threatening to withold a bonus due her.
(Mrs.) Petrulienė wrote a complaint to First Secretary Tamošiūnas of the Kupiškis Rayon Party, concerning the illegimate search and threats. Secretary Tamošiūnas replied that (Mrs.) Petrulienė was guilty and that she had been treated fairly.
Mikoliškės (Kretinga Rayon) To: LSSR Council of Ministers
From: The Mikoliškės Parish Church Committee and Believers
In 1954, every parish in the Diocese of Telšiai received from the Diocesan Chancery Communication Number 577, written on July 7, 1954, which directed:
"Crosses may be erected not only in the churchyard and cemeteries, but also in the yards of the faithful." Obviously, this announcement was made only with the agreement of the then Commissioner for Religious Affairs. For in Lithuania, it was an old custom to erect crosses and wayside shrines. No one to date has rescinded this permission.
On this basis, we began in October of this year to erect a small wayside shrine (1 m. x 1.2 m.) for a statue of Mary in the Mikoliškės churchyard, but a committee organized by Forester Mazonas came and wrote up a report calling it "private construction". We found out that we had to go to the architect. We went to the Kretinga Executive Committee with a petition carrying 185 signatures, and asked permission to finish the shrine. We received a reply: "The shrine is to be demolished within a month; if you do not take it down, the forestry department will knock it down."
We now come to you, earnestly asking you to stop the destruction of the shrine, and to give us permission to complete it, since we need it for purposes of worship. We erected it, not arbitrarily, but on the basis of the general permission.
The permission given in 1954 was never rescinded, so we were convinced that was the only thing necessary.
Its demolition would evoke the angry reaction: "The Communists are demolishing shrines and crosses in churchyards with bulldozers."
The Kretinga Rayon Executive Committee last year bulldozed a shrine erected in the yard of a certain woman believer. People not only in Lithuania, but abroad, were shocked by such behavior. They proclaim religious freedom with words, but demolish it with bulldozers.
We appeal to you, since the Commissioner for Religious Affairs is of a mind with the Kretinga Rayon Executive Committee: it would not even allow a cross to be erected in the cemetery, but Moscow made them allow it.
We sincerely ask you to stop the demolition of our shrine as soon as possible, and to give us permission to complete it.
November 7, 1982
Signed by approximately 200 faithful
To: The Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Council of Peoples' Deputies, Rayon of Biržai
Church law obliges pastors to be responsible not only for care of the church building, but also for parish cemeteries.
With the approach of All Saints' Day, I inspected the cemeteries located in the Papiliai and Kvetkiai parishes. Seeing that some of the graves were quite neglected, I called for a volunteer group to clean up the cemeteries. We cut out the weeds, pruned the trees, and raked up the leaves in the Kvetkiai Cemetery. In the same way, we straightened out the Papiliai Cemetery.
Chairman A. Martinkėnas of the Executive Committee of the Papiliai District Council of Peoples' Deputies had promised the people to provide the machinery for hauling out debris and weeds, piles of which have lain just outside the Kvetkiai Cemetery fence from time immemorial. However, he showed no initiative toward cleaning up the cemetery, or hauling away debris.
After the cemeteries had been put in order, on the eve of All Souls', we gathered in the cemeteries at Papiliai and Kvetkiai to pray. On November 9, I was summoned to a meeting of the Council Religious Affairs connected with the Executive Committee of the Papiliai District Council of Peoples' Deputies, in which District Chairman A. Martinkėnas, his wife the Principal of the Papiliai Middle School and Veterinary Doctor Morkauskas, Director of the Papiliai District Veterinary Station participated.
I was accused "because during a livestock disease quarantine, people had gathered in the cemetery and because I had not requested district permission to pray in the cemetery, and thereby violated the Regulations for Religious Associations."
1. The ban against public gatherings in connection with the livestock epidemic quarantine, I have never received.
2. No laws forbid praying in church, in the churchyard or cemeteries. In 1982, in the bulletin Socialist Truth, the third issue, Petras Anilionis in an article entitled "Monitoring the Implementation of Laws Concerning Religious Cults", page 34, line 16, writes:
"Believers, among them children with their parents, are allowed without restriction to fulfill their religious requirements in
houses of prayer, churchyards and cemeteries; rites and ceremonies organized in these locations require no permissions."
On what basis does the interference in the internal affairs of the Church take place, and why are believers ridiculed? For example:
1. Veterinary Doctor Morkauskas, when requested by communal farm workers to certify animals for sale to the state, and when summoned to treat animals, insults believers by saying: "Go to the prist, let him give you the certification, and let the pastor treat your animals."
2. A pensioner, A. Kasmauskas, a veteran of the Great War for the Homeland, worked as a guard at the Papiliai Cemetery. District Chairman A. Artinkėnas discharged him form his job as cemetery guard without paying him even for the month's time, and saying, "If you go to church, you are an unsuitable man."
3. By someone's order, a sensational novelty has taken place in Papiliai. Right in front of the main doors of the church, a children's playground has been constructed. The place is full of various kinds of swings, housses and other playthings.
Why is it necessary to annoy believers and to ridicule them, to hang around the church and to disturb the peace? They bring the deceased to church, services take place there, and here, at the very main door of the church, children are screaming.
Strange, is there really no piece of land in all of Papiliai where it would be possible to construct a children's playground? In the yard of the District Executive Committee, fountains flow and flowers grow, and there are rock gardens. Under their windows is peace, but under the church windows, noise and distrubance as nowhere else.
You, Vice Chairman, summoned me to the Executive Committee of the Biržai Rayon for a talk with you five times, but I did not come and I will not come:
1.Until the ridiculing of believers and interference in church internal affairs is ended.
2.Until you do re-establish peace in the vicinity of the church by relocating the children's playground.
Under present circumstances, I refuse to come to you for any kind of talk.
December 1, 1982
Rev. S. Krumpliauskas, Pastor of Papiliai and Kvetkiai Parishes
IN THE SOVIET SCHOOL
On October 29, 1982, in the Edvardas Tičkus Middle School in Rokiškis, the leader of the atheist group, Teacher (Mrs.) Milda Dilienė, summoned believing pupil (Miss) Gita Tervydytė, Class 6C, and tried to convince her to be responsible in her class for atheism, and demanded that the girl bring two books of religious content or a prayerbook. "During atheist meetings we will read the prayerbook and have a laugh at the crazy prayers," Teacher Dilienė added, grinning. Gita Tervydytė refused to obey such demands of the teacher.
On Sunday, October 31, 1982, during evening devotions, Teacher Milda Dilienė, leader of the E. Tičkus Middle School atheist group of Rokiškis, together with the leader of Pioneers at the same school, came to church spying to find out who serves at Mass. After rudely disturbing he order in church, they chased away schoolchildren who were serving at the altar during Holy Mass.
On December 11, 1982, a parents' meeting took place in the E. Tičkus Middle School of Rokiškis. At the meeting were Party Committee Instructor (Mrs.) Karolina Naprienė and Rayon Executive Committee Vice Chairman Firas.
Instructor Neprienė angrily scolded those parents whose children go to church, and forbade he children as a group to celebrate Christmas, Easter or other religious holidays. In her talk, (Mrs.) Naprienė tried to convince the parents that the Russian language is essential, even for kindergarten children, and that without it comtemporary life is impossible. "All parents must make their children study the Russian language well," said the instructor. During the meeting, (Mrs.) Naprienė was especially annoyed at the behavior of Rokiškis Associate Pastor, Father Vladas Braukyla, because the latter in his sermons urges parents to bring their children to church, participate in processions and she considered such work on the part of the priest to be criminal.
Throughout the meeting, (Mrs.) Naprienė constantly read paragraphs from the Criminal Code, addressing them to Father Braukyla. "We are taperecording all of his sermons. For such activity, we will put him in jail," Instructor Naprienė fumed. "Only-atheism may be taught to the child from kindergarten on; religion may be taught from the age of eighteen," (Mrs.) Neprienė ended her talk.
On September 30, 1982, a meeting of the Educational Council took place at Telšiai City Middle School III, to which the parents of pupil Elena Gudaitė were summoned. After the meeting, it was announced to the whole school that Elena Gudaite's conduct mark had been lowered to "2", on account of her anti-Soviet behavior at Žemaičių Kalvarija. (During the religious festival, she had worn a green dress.)
THE CHURCH IN THE SOVIET REPUBLICS BYELORUSSIAN SSR
In the City of Varanavo, already in Krushchev's time, the church was closed and later demolished. Believers in the city gather somewhere in the homes of neighbors, so that they might be able to pray. On May 1, 1981, the City Militia deputy and other representatives of the Executive Committee came to see Feliksas Ščygla, where people had gathered for May Devotions. For receiving believers into his home, the Administrative Committee of the Varanavo Rayon fined Ščygla fifty rubles. For the same kind of offense, Wanda Versyla was fined fifty rubles. Representatives of the Administrative Commission warned that if those fined tried a second time to organize "illegal" meetings, i.e., devotions, they would be fined between 300 and 500 rubles. A third offense would bring one to threee years imprisonment.
Four km. from Varanavo rises the stone church of Armoniš-kės. It was also closed during the Krushchev Era. The faithful have been struggling for a long time to regain their church, but all their efforts have been like water off a duck's back.
During Lent, 1982, in the Village of Markovshchyzna, Parish of Armoniškės, the faithful gathered at Juralaitis' to pray the rosary. At the end of March, Juralaitis was visited by Vice Chairman Kuz-mičius of the Executive Committee, together with the district chairman. Finding the faithful gathered, the arrivals wrote up a report and fined Mykolas Juralaitis and Vaclovas Griška, who had led the rosary, fifty rubles each.
The Rayon of Varanavo borders on the Rayon of Ivjė. Six km. from Ivjė is the wooden church of Dūdai. In Krushchev's time it was closed and for twenty years had been used as a warehouse. Lately the church was a warehouse for mineral fertilizer.
In April, 1980, the faithful decided secretly to repair the disintegrating church. Obtaining the keys, they quickly hauled the fertilizer out of the church and began the repair work. From the Ivjė Rayon came three carloads of militia. To wreck the altar, they brought in a tractor. The Russian tractor-driver refused to wreck the altar. At that point, a militiaman seated himself on the tractor, but women kneeling and weeping would not let him near the altar. The militia became nervous. More and more people were gathering at the church, and the militia left. Even though the Rayon interfered very much, nevertheless, at the cost of great efforts and suffering on the part of the faithful, the church was beautifully renovated. Now the faithful gather every Sunday in the church which they won back.
In the Rayon of Ivjė at the present time, there is only one priest, living in Lipniškės and simultaneously serving the church at Ivjė.
At the end of 1982, the youth magazine, Lietuvos Ateitis (Lithuania's Future), Number 4, appeared.. In the lead article, entitled, "We Are for Self-Renewal in Love", the problem of lack of love in today's civilized world is considered. In the publication, much room is given to the experiences of our fellow countrymen when the Russians occupied Lithuania, and problems of faith, morality and nationality are analyzed.
Aušra (The Dawn) Number 32 appeared in August, 1982. The more significant articles: "Unity under the Flag of Christ", "Freedom of Speech", "In the Atheists' Smithy", "Youth under Pressure", etc. In the publication, the atheists' plans to wreck the Church from within are revealed. Quite a bit of space is given to throwing light on the plight of Lithuanians living in Byelorussia. The tragedy of the Village of Musteika, Varėna Rayon, is reported, when on June 24, 1944, the Bolsheviks cruelly murdered fifteen men, burned down many homes, and sacked the entire village.
INDEX OF PERSONS
Abrutienė, Edita, 27 Anilionis, Petras, 21, 46 Antanaitis, Father Bronius, 19 Apanavičienė, (Mrs.), 42 Arlauskas, Father Vincas, 19 Artinskas, A., 47 Ažubalis, J. 38
Balaišis, Father Antanas, 30 Barkauskas, 43 Bartkus, 21 Bavarskienė, Elzbieta, 12 Bičkauskas, 12, 13, 24 Bieliauskienė, Jadvyga, 6, 24 Blažienė, Dr. J., 35 Borisevičius, Bishop Vincentas,l Boruta, Father Jonas, 9, 10 Bozk, N., 25 Braukyla, Father Vladas, 39, 40, 48 Brazdžionis, Bernardas, 21 Brezhnev, 21 Bukaveckaitė, Joana, 40 Bumbliauskaitė, Rita, 21 Bumbliauskas, 23 Bubliauskienė, Marijona, 40 Butnorienė, (Mrs.), 23
Černiauskas, 42 Cicenienė, Zita, 40 Činskytė, Stasė, 21, 22
Danyla, Father Antanas, 41 Dapkūnienė, Danutė, 22 Daugalis, 28 Dilienė, Milda, 48 Doyle, Father Dvilev, 35
Firas, Eduardas, 39, 40, 48
Gajauskas, Balys, 9, 32 Gasiūnas, Osvaldas, 44 Gavėnaitė, Monika, 12 Gedgaudas, J., 21 Gedvilą, Father, 21 Geraltauskas, 42 Gražulis, Father Juozas, 41, 42 Grinius, 21 Griška, Vaclovas, 50 Grumbliauskienė, Bronė, 12 Gudaitė, Elena, 49 Gurčius, A., 42 Gudas, 36
Iešmantas, Gintautas, 9 Irmoška, Izidorius, 38
Jakavičius, 20, 22 Janonis, J., 44 Janulis, Anastazas, 8 Jarmoškienė, Bronė, 12 Jaugelis, Father Virgilijus, 21 Juciūtė, R., 34, 35, 38 Juralaitis, Mykolas, 49, 50 Jurevičius, Mečislovas, 9
Kačiuš, Petras, 12 Kakanevičius, Father Juozas, 41 Kaplanaitė, Asta, 12 Kaplanaitė, Jūratė, 12 Kaplanienė, Salomėja, 12 Kasmauskas, A., 47 Kauneckas, Father Jonas, 19-3, 31, 40 Kavaliauskas, Arūnas, 31 Kazlauskas, Antanas, 39 Keina, Father Algimantas, 6, 24 Kibickaitė, Bronė, 37 Kiriyenka, A., 37 Kleivienė, D., 38 Kondrasevsky, Vlacov, 5 Korolkov, P. 38 Ko vale v, Sergei, 8, 28, 29 Krikščiūnas, Bishop Romualdas, 2, 19 Kringelis, B., 38 Krumpliauskas, Father S., 47 Krishchev, 49, 50 Kučinskas, Remigijus, 39 Kuzmičius, 49
Labukas-Matulaitis, Bishop Juozas, 2 Laurinskas, Leonas, 16 Lengvenytė, Rita, 24 Liubinavičienė, (Mrs.), 23
Maceina, 21 Makštutis, 41, 42 Mališaitė, Bernadeta, 28 Martinkėnas, 46 Masytė, Vilija, 31, 32 Matulaitis, A. 43 Matulevičius, Father Juozas, 41, 42 Matulevičius, Jonas, 30, 31, 32, 33 Matulionis, Bishop Teofilius, 1, 2 Mazonas, 45 Maželis, Bishop Petras, 2 Merrylecend, Edward Wayne, 25 Mickevičius, 23 Mickus, 25 Mikalauskienė, (Mrs.), 42 Miniotas, 9 Morkauskas, Dr, 46, 47
Naprienė, Karolina, 48, 49 Navickaitė, Genovaitė, 30 Navickas, Father Zenonas, 43 Norvilą, Juozas, 38 P., 14
Paliukas, Father J., 21 Paltarokas, Bishop Kazimieras, 2, 18, 19 Parakininkas, Jurgis, 20 Paul, 13 Paulaitis, Petras, 15-18, 32 Paulauskaitė, (Miss), 22, 23 Paulauskas, Ignas, 12 Paulauskas, Vincas, 12 (Pavlov), Česlovas, 20 Pavlova, Rima, 20 Pečeliūnas, Povilas, 9 Pelenienė, (Mrs.), 40 Petkus, Viktoras, 9 Petrulienė, Teresė, 44 Pikelienė, O., 38 Pilelis, 24 Platinskas, Vincas, 34 Popadiuk, Zorian, 28, 29 Povilonis, Bishop Liudvikas, 2, 7 Pratkelis, Msgr. Leopoldas, 18-19 Prid, Daniel, 25
Ramanauskas, Bishop Pranas, 1,2 Ratautas, Henrikas, 32 Ratautas, Henrikas, (Jr.), 32-33 Ratautienė, Janina, 32 Raudonienė, (Mrs.), M. 23 Ražinskienė, Regina, 36, 37 Rainys, Archbishop Mečislovas, 1, 2 Ribakov, 25 Rimkus, 36
Sacharov, 17 (Sadūnaitė), Marija, 35 Sadūnaitė, Nijolė, 36, 37 Sadūnas, Jonas, 33-38 (Sadūnienė), Marytė, 35, 36 Saint Casimir, 21 Šalkauskaitė, Genovaitė, 21 Šarakauskaitė, Ona, 28, 29, 30 Šarakauskaitė, Zita, 29, 30 Sasnauskas, 28 Sasnauskas, Julius, 9 Šaukienė, Marytė, 12 Savickas, 23 Ščygla, Feliksas, 49 Šeškevičius, Father Antanas, 36 Sheshtakov, 25 Simanavičienė, (Mrs.)? 39 Skuodienė, Irena, 24-27 Skuodis, Vytautas, 9, 25, 26, 32 Sladkevičius, Bishop Vincentas, 2, 4, 7, 19 Staškevičius, 17 Staskevičius, Alfonsas, 38 Slipyj, Cardinal Josyf, 13, 14 Stalin, 2 Statkevičius, Algirdas, 9 Steponaitis, Antanas, 39 Steponavičius, Bishop Julijonas, 2, 6, 7, 8, 19 Stonienė, O., 38 Strumskis, Regimanttas, 39 Strumskytė, Janina, 39 Suchackienė, O., 29 Šuoliūnas, 42 Supranas, Jonas, 39 Svarinskas, cover, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9-14 19, 22, 23, 30, 38
Tamelis, Bronius, 41 Tamkevičius, Father Sigitas, 6, 23, 34, 43 Tamošiūnaitė, Daiva, 30 Tamošitnas, 44 Tamutienė, Stasė, 27 Tamutytė, Dalia, 27, 28 Terleckas, 8 Tervydytė, Gita, 48 Tičkus, Edvardas, 48 Titus, 13 Tulaba, Msgr. Ladas, 8
Urbonas, 24 Urbonas, Father Benediktas, 30
Vaičiūnas, Vytautas, 9 Vaičius, Bishop Antanas, 2, 7, 19 Valaitis, 27 Velavičius, Father Vincas, 23 Velioniškis, Father K., 21 Versyla, Wanda, 49 Vidva, Antanas, 20 Vilimas, 24, 25, 26, 28 Vitkauskaitė, Ona, 30 Vitkevičius, 16 Vyšniauskas, 42
Zdebskis, Father Juozas, 6, 23 Žiukelis, Father P., 19
INDEX OF PLACES
Alytus, 34, 41, 42 Antalieptė, 18 Ariogala, 13 Armoniškės, 49
Belgium, 27 Biržai, 46, 47 Blinstrubiškė, 14 Bukstynas, 41 Byelorussia, 5, 49
Debeikiai, 19 Dūdai, 50
Garliava, 6, 24 Germany, 16 Grečioniai, 9
Hill of Crosses, 21
Italy, 15, 16 Ivjė, 50
Joniškėlis, 30 Jurbarkas, 15, 16
Kalnėnai, 15 Kapsukas, 29 Kaunas, 1, 2, 16, 18, 24, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 41 Kaišiadorys, 1, 2, 4, 7 Kazakhstan, 5 Klaipėda, 2, 44 Klovainiai, 18 Kretinga, 17, 43, 44, 45 Kupiškis, 44 Kvetkiai, 46, 47 Kybartai, 28, 29, 43
Latvia, 5-8 Lauksoda, 40 Linkuva, 19 Lipniškės, 50 Lisbon, 15
Markovshchyzna, 49 Mergalaukis, 42 Mikoliškės, 43, 44, 45 Mordovia, 17 Moscow, 6, 8, 16, 27, 28, 45 Musteika, 50
Pabiržė, 18 Paciškiai, 18 Pakruojus, 18 Palėvenėlė, 44 Panemunė, 33 Panevėžys, 2, 18, 19 Papiliai, 46, 47 Pasvalis, 30 Petrašiūnai, 31 Portugal, 15 Prienai, 43 Pumpėnai, 19
Raseiniai, 9, 13, 38, 39 Riga, 5, 27 Rokiškis, 18, 39, 48 Rome, 2, 7, 8, 16 Rozalimas, 18
St. Petersburg, 18 Šakiai, 17 Saločiai, 30 Šeduva, 18, 19 Šiauliai, 27 Šiluva, 5, 21 Simnas, 34, 41, 42
Tauragė, 16 Telšiai, 1, 2, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 40, 41, 44, 49 Trakai, 33 Turin, 16 Tverai, 21
Ukmergė, 41 Ukraine, 5, 9 United States of America, 25 Utena, 18 Užuguostis, 43
Valkininkai, 24 Varanavo, 49, 50 Varėna, 50 Viduklė, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 38, 39 Viešvėnai, 22, 23 Vilkaviškis, 1, 2, 43 Vilnius. L 9, 12, 15, 17, 24, 27, 28, 33; 37,39,40 Virbalis, 28 Vladimir, 2
Zarasai, 18 Žemaičių Kalvarija, 21, 49
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Places mentioned in the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania No. 56