The persecution of believing Catholics is continuing in Moldavia, especially in Rashkovo. Since the house of worship—a tiny church— was demolished, people assemble every evening to pray at a small apartment in the former church's yard. Local government officials often come and disperse the praying people, especially children and young people.
Village Council Chairman Zan Matvejavič Bogorašh has summoned Valentina Oleinik many times to explain why she allows people to pray in her home, but she was never home. Finally, the opportunity arose. On March 21, 1978 Valentina Oleinik, on her return from Rybnitsa, was detained by Chairman Bogorašh in front of the village council office and was berated in unprintable language. He demanded that, in his words, the "brothel house of worship" be closed down. Oleinik replied that she would bring charges against him for defamation and insult. The government official berated the woman in the street simply because she is a believer. The insults hurled at (Mrs.) Oleinik were heard by Pranė Sajevska.
Chairman Bogorašh summoned Petr Pogrieenoy and Alksandr Prosianoy and threatened to level monetary fines against them if they continued to pray.
Rashkov had no Christmas or Easter confession because the priest was strictly forbidden to travel there.
The Assistant Commissioner for Religioius Affairs forbade (Mrs) Oleinik to even show her face in Kishinew and threatened the people with exile to Siberia if they listen to Oleinik and travel with her to see the Commissioner in Kishinew.
During Easter holidays this year, a larger number of Catholics attended services in the small Kishinev chapel than the previous year. There were quite a few children and youths. This could not go unnoticed by government officials, who with extraordinary patience"zealously" attend services not only on Sundays but on weekdays also.
Immediately after Easter, Secretary Trofimova of the Kishinev City Lenin RayonExecutive Committee, summoned the Rev. Vladislav Zavalniuk and demanded that he forbid children to approach the altar and that he not urge in his sermons the youth and children to attend church. He also forbade him to urge parents to raise their children in a Catholic spirit.
Now, Trofimova comes to services almost daily and notes who serves at the altar, interrogates them, asking where they are from and why they come. She will not even allow elderly persons to serve the priest without harassing them. The documents of boys under 18 years of age are checked to keep them from appearing at the altar.
Religious Affairs Commissioner Vikonskis has complained that although there are 150 Orthodox churches in Moldavia and about 200 Orthodox priests, atheists have less trouble and problems with them than they do with that one small Catholic chapel and with the only Catholic priest in all of Moldavia, Rev. V. Zavalniuk. Atheist cannot accept the fact that the spring of faith is dawning in Moldavia, that not only old people—who are already called to eternity — but also children and the youth are seeking God and His consolation.
The Catholics of Moldavia have already won the right for the priest, when he is called and after proper notification of the Religios Affairs Commissioner's Office, to minister to the sick and those who have assembled there, as many as fit in a patient's room. However, this victory was short-lived. On April 26, 1978, Commissioner Vikonskis (accompanied by Security Police employees) summoned Father Zavalniuk and retracted his words, claiming he never told anyone—not the church committee chairman nor the faithful who came so often to see him on this matter—that it is permitted to minister not only to the patient, but also to those who have gathered at the patient's home. "It is permitted to hear the confession of only the person for whom the priest was summoned by telegram, and if more people have assembled there, all are required to go and ask the local authorities for permission even to attend the patient's rites, to say nothing of confessing. If this is ignored, the priest is liable to arrest."
During April 24-26, 1978, a Peace Conference was held in Kishinev. Delegations from abroad attended this conference. Among them were three priests—theology professors—from Austria,
Germany and Czechoslovakia, a nun professor from the U.S. and a group of believers from various countries. They visited the Kishinev chapel, spoke with the faithful, the priests celebrated Mass. How astonished and outraged they were when they learned from the faithful that there is only that one small chapel and only one priest in all of Moldavia! They did not want to believe what they saw with their own eyes, nor believe what the parishioners told them. How can we speak about peace, about people leading tranquil lives, when the most holy and inalienable rights are being trampled: to put one's conscience in order, to make one's confession, to have a priest come administer the last rites for the sick!?