Imbradas. Sixteen years since the death of the Rev. Pastor, Father V.Šamšonas.
Ten kilometers from Zarasai in the direction of Obeliai is the village of Imbradas. The wooden church is surrounded with the graves of village ancestors. Among them rest the remains of priests. The last pastor was buried there sixteen years ago. Marking his grave is a stone cross with the inscription:
R.I.P. Father Vytautas Antanas Šamšonas August 17, 1912 - January 28, 1961 The boundless love of the Lord grant him peace. To the Pastor of Imbrada of many years, From his grateful parishioners. He was so young—barely forty-eight—when death took him from his work!
The pastor loved his people, and the people their pastor. The pastor lived with his mother, who kept house for him. It was January 28, 1961. The pastor asked his mother to heat some water for a shampoo, while he went to church to pray.
When he failed to return, the mother summoned the sexton and went to look for him. To their surprise, they found the pastor lying dead in a pool of blood. The government spread the rumor that the pastor had committed suicide by jumping through a hole in the ceiling. (True, the ceiling was soiled, but from underneath.) The veins of both wrists were severed (In the opinion of physicians, a person could not do this to himself) and his skull was fractured.
The pastor was from the Parish of Papiliai. He had studied for the priesthood at the seminary in Kaunas. He was a well-educated, serious, and decorous priest. Recently, he had been summoned by the KGB many times.
A small detail: A few years after the death of Father Samsonas, the security people summoned an old priest living in Pasvalys, a Doctor of Philosophy, to the military commisariate, and there inquired how Father Samsonas died... Even after several years, they have no peace...
Liquidation of the Catholic Parish of Žalioji.
During the last war, in 1941, the wooden church at Žalioji burned down. The chairman of the parish committee, Kazys Mažeika, requested Bishop A. Karosas to assign a pastor to Žalioji.
The newly appointed pastor, Father K. Garmus, set up a church in the living-room of the stone rectory, which functioned as such until 1963.
On January 2, 1963, the Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Rayon of Vilkaviškis, Stasys Rogovas, with some local atheists, closed the church at Žalioji and forbade the parish committee to make any appeal. Vice Chairman Rogovas even threatened the parish committee chairman with jail.
The faithful of Žalioji went to Deputy Rugienis of the Council for Religious Affairs, in Vilnius, and to Moscow, but everywhere they received the same answer—Decisions regarding the parish at Žalioji were to be made by the local authorities.
On May 15, 1963, Chairman Mekšriūnas of the District of An-galai, with the assistance of the militia, seized the seal of the parish from Chairman Mažeika of the parish committee. The church was converted into a flour exchange, but the people hardly ever patronized it.
More recently, when the faithful of Slabadai demanded that their religious community be registered, the experimental farm of Rumokai, upon instructions from the government, set up a mill in the church of Žalioji. It is interesting that even people who are not too strong in their faith refuse to patronize the mill.
When will the wrong perpetrated upon the faithful of the parish of Žalioji be redressed?
DO NOT FORGET!
Petras Pliumpa, Povilas Petronis, Juozas Gražys, Nijolė Sadū-naitė, Sergei Kovalev, Vladas Lapienis, J. Matulionis, and Ona Pranckūnaitė bear the chains of incarceration in order that you might breathe and believe, in freedom.
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