In February the curate of the parish in Simnas, Father S. Tamkevičius, was summoned to the Procurator's Office of the LSSR in Vilnius. The procurator reproached him for slandering Soviet reality in his sermons and instructed him to be loyal to the Soviet government and to desist from the teaching of religious truths to children. Otherwise, criminal prosecution would threaten, with up to two years' loss of freedom.
At the end of April, a "high-level warning" was arranged for Father S. Tamkevičius. Six representatives of the government and the following witnesses took part:
Father Grigaitis, the dean of Alytus; Father Turčinskas, the dean of Daugai; and Father Matulevičius, the pastor of the parish in Simnas. Father Tamkevičius was accused of passing information abroad, of slandering the Soviet schools, and of engaging in other anti-Soviet activities. He was not allowed to explain himself.
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The apartment of Father Šalčius, a retired priest in the parish of Aleksotas, was searched in April. During the search "samizdat" literature was sought.
In March a thorough search was made in the rectory of the parish in Prienai. Prayer books and "samizdat" literature were sought.
On March 13, Fathers Laurinavičius and Žemėnas were summoned to the office of the commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs. The commissioner berated Father Zemėnas for signing the petition sent to the Soviet government demanding that Bishop J. Steponavičius be allowed to perform his duties, and that a large edition of prayer books for Catholics be published, etc. (see Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, no. 1). The agitated commissioner called Father Zemėnas "Satan," claimed he was being insolent, and declared that he would probably like to see clericalists sitting in the Kremlin!
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On April 4, 1972, the KGB summoned the Rev. V. Merkys, who in 1959 had been forcibly expelled from the seminary by order of Rugienis and had been ordained illegally in i960. The interrogator declared that Father Merkys would receive work in a parish (he presently works at the Vilnius arboretum), if he would describe in great detail in writing who had ordained him, where he had said Mass and preached sermons, etc.
During the months of April and May Commissioner Rugienis and the Kapsukas Rayon administration tried to force the pastor of the parish in Liubavas, Father V. Užkuraitis, to banish from the altar the children who served mass. Rugienis had even summoned the Liubavas Parochial Committee. He threatened that, if the children were not stopped from serving mass, the parish would be left without a pastor. The pastor refused to banish the children, basing his refusal on the fact that the children were not his, but their parents', and that he did not have the right to interfere in the affairs of other people's children.
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While Father P. Bubnys was serving his sentence at the strict-regime prison camp in Kapsukas, it was suggested to him that he write an appeal for clemency. Father Bubnys refused to do so because of his feeling that he had been convicted though innocent, for it is the duty of every priest to teach the tenets of the faith to children.
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On April 27, 1972, [Miss] Ramanauskaitė, a homeroom teacher at Kapsukas Secondary School No. 5, brought to class a questionnaire sent by the Ministry of Education and told the students of class 9B to fill it out. In answer to the question "Which shortcoming do you want to get rid off?" the teacher ordered the students to reply "Religion." "Even if you're a nonbeliever," explained the homeroom teacher, "write in 'religion' anyway."
Not one student answered "religion"; instead, they wrote down "laziness."
On April 12, 1971, [Mrs.] Miknevičienė, a teacher of class 10C at the secondary school in Kybartai, told the students who had been to church on Easter to write an essay on the topic "The nearer the church, the farther is morality." The other students were allowed to write on a topic of their choice. The best students in the class, [Miss] L. Šalčiūnaitė and [Miss] T. Menčinskaitė, did not write the atheistic theme. For that the teacher gave them a failing grade. Afterward they had to go to see the head of the science department to explain themselves.
The parents of the persecuted students wrote a complaint to the LSSR Ministry of Education, which was forwarded to the Vilkaviškis Rayon Department of Education for consideration. After a few months, this reply arrived:
"In reply to your complaint to the LSSR Ministry of Education, the Education Department of Vilkaviškis Rayon would like to inform you that the matters brought to our attention were investigated on the scene. The accusations made against teacher [Mrs.] Miknevičienė have not been confirmed because the topics for the Lithuanian language and literature essays were found to have been selected from a prescribed program." It was signed by the head of the education department, J. Šačkus.
The complaint to the Ministry of Education of the LSSR had not been sent in regard to the program, but because the teacher was discriminating against the churchgoers and forcing them to write statements contrary to their convictions, thus forcing them to be hypocrites.
On March 16, 1972, [Miss] Dalgėdaitė, the principal of the eight-year school in Paringys, together with the teachers Milašius, Šadrecovas, [Miss] Misiūnaitė, and Vai-tulionis, summoned three fifth-class students—A. Bivainis, B. Gaižutis, and C. Patiejūnas—to the faculty room and through intimidation forced them to sign a statement the adults had composed, at the same time demanding that the students would stop going to church. The teachers said that for every child that goes to church the priest will have to pay a fifty-ruble fine.