To: Communist Party Central Committee of the Lithuanian, SSR. First Secretary Comrade Griškevičius Minister of Public Health, Comrade Kleiza
From: The Faithful of Lithuania
On March 10 of this year, the pastor of the parish of Šlavantai, in the Rayon of Lazdijai, the Rev. J. Zdebskis was detained while driving a car in Vilnius. The individuals who stopped him were from the Department of Motor Vehicles. They said that he was drunk, and demanded that he should go to the Psychoneurological Hospital, in order to establish the degree of drunkenness. In the hospital, without even a blood analysis, although the priest demanded one, a degree of drunkenness was established. The Department of Motor Vehicles revoked his license for a year and a half and imposed a thirty-ruble fine.
Since Father Zdebskis is well-known to the faithful of Lithuania as a priest and as a person—he is a complete abstainer from alcoholic beverages—therefore we believe that his punishment is a systematic and deliberate effort to discredit and persecute the priest.
In our opinion, the doctor and the auto inspector who, forced by the KGB, agreed to sign false documents accusing Father Zdebskis of unfounded charges, acted unjustly and unscrupulously. Such individuals should not be allowed to hold public office. How can one place the life of an individual into the hands of people who lack a conscience?
On April 13, the Lazdijų Rayon newspaper The Banner of Work, published a news item that a resident of the Village of Gegutė, Juozas Zdebskis, is unable to resit a glass of alcohol and on March 23 was detained while at the wheel of a private car in Vilnius.
We ask the Central Committee to see that this slander, published in the Lazdijai rayonnewspaper, to the effect that Father Zdebskis was detained while driving in a drunken state be recalled, that as soon as possible his driver's license and monetary fine be returned to him, and to see that the employees of the Soviet Union do not make similar accusations. We would appreciate being told what means will be used to reprimand these unscrupulous employees.
We ask that the reply to this declaration be forwarded to the Rev. J. Zdebskis directly.
July 8, 1976 Signed by Faithful of Lithuania
To: Procurator of Lithuania TSR
We, the faithful have received the distressing news, that on February 10, 1976, in the City of Vilnius, an employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles Jurevich, stopped the pastor of the parish of Slavantai, the Rev. J. Zdebskis, and accused him of drunk driving. Jurevich took Father Zdebskis to a psychiatric hospital, where, without even a blood analysis, a degree of intoxication was established. Based on these accusations, the empllyees of the Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the priest's driver's license for eighteen months, and the Rayon newspaper published a slanderous article to the effect that Father Zdebskis is unable to resist a glass of alcohol.
On May 3, 1976, government officials detained Father Zdebskis in Ukmerge, revoked his motorcycle license and subjected him to a minute body search.
We, the faithful, have known Father Zdebskis, who for more than twenty years, has been ministering in many parishes, faithfully executing his priestly duties, and enjoying the high regard of clergy and faithful alike. We can also attest that we have never yet seen Father Zdebskis intoxicated because he is a firm abstainer and by word and example among the faithful battles against the evil of alcoholism. This fact can be verified by the faithful of all the parishes where Father Zdebskis had served.
It is unclear to us why the government officials persecute and slander the Rev. J. Zdebskis. Why was his drivers' license revoked? Could it be possible that the atheists believe that by such methods they will incite us, the faithful, against the priest? We the faithful, respect our priests and will intercede for those who are unjustly being persecuted and slandered. Protesting against these unfounded actions by the government officials against Father J. Zdebskis, we demand that his driver's license be returned to him.
Please send the reply to our statement direcdy to the Rev. J. Zdebskis in Šlavantai, located in the Rayon of Lazdijai.
Klaipėda, July 16, 1976 (Signed by many of the faithful)
Similar statements were send to various government offices by the faithful of Kaunas, Panevėžys and other sections of the country. They were answered by Security in the following manner: An anonymous letter was send to the Chancery of the Kaunas Archdiocese and to the Dioceses of Vilnius, by the faithful of Šlavantai. This letter complains that Father J. Zdebskis is not performing his duties and is amoral. It is unclear why, His Excellency Bishop Povilionis referred this anonymous complaint to the Dean of Lazdijai, the Rev. Strimaitis, who especially hates those priests who are being persecuted by the KGB. The Rev. Strimaitis acquainted Father Zdebskis with the content of this complaint. The priests are amazed that the chancery pays attention to anonymous complaints fabricated by the KGB.