Belorussia Žaludka (District of Gardinas)

A 50-ruble fine was imposed in 1978 on Sakel, the chairman of the Žaludka parish religious community, because children had participated in the Easter procession. Two months after the feast, Sakel was summoned to the Rayon (Ščučin) and was informed that he was being fined fifty rubles for violating laws of cult. The Rayon government ordered state farm authorities to deduct this fine from Sakel's wages.

Žaludka (District of Gardinas)

On June 13, 1978, the Rev. Anton Chanko solemnly celebrated his first Mass at athe church of Žaludka. A large crowd of people assembled since this was the first time since the war that a first Mass celebration was being held in Belorussia. On the day of the first Mass, a loudspeaker was set up 20 meters from the church at the order of the school principal to prevent people from hearing any­thing. Members of the church committee requested that the loud­speaker be disconnected, but no one paid them any heed. Only later when the outraged people threatened to complain to Moscow about this disruption of prayer, was it disconnected immediately before the solemn High Mass.

Senosios Vasiliškės

A year after the death of the pastor Rev. Prišmontas, the Rayon government closed down the church which is one of the most beautiful in Belorussia. For a long time the people wrote and travelled to Minsk and Moscow asking that the church be reopened. In Moscow, they were told to form a religious community com­mittee and present the list to the Rayon. In the event the Rayon re­fuses to confirm this committee, they should again appeal to Moscow.

The parishioners of Senosios Vasiliškės wrote to the Rayon — Ščucin—wrote to their district—Gardinas—government, wrote to the capital—Moscow—but have not as yet received a reply from anywhere . ..

Semetovščyzna (District of Vitebsk)

On October 30, 1978, the pastor of Šemetovščyzna, the Rev. Kučinskas, was summoned to Minsk to see the Religious Affairs Commissioner. Zalevskij and Ponamorev told him that there is no need for a seminary in Belorussia because one already exists in Riga. He was also reminded that there are no applicants in Belorussia. But it is a well known fact that the applications of 6 candidates were rejected .. .


The only priest in Moldavia receives from all corners telegram after telegram with heart-rending requests: "Come hear the confession of and minister to the dying." The Soviet government just mocks such requests.

When the priest does risk ministering to the dying without government permission, he is detained, fined and threatened. The Rayons of Kamenka and Ribnitsa are especially "zealous" here. And so on November 21, 1978, the priest went to Ribnitsa to minister to an ailing old woman after being summoned by her grand­daughter. Near Ribnitsa the priest noticed that he was being followed. As soon as he entered the town, the priest hardly had time to leave the car when the militia which had followed the car arrested the driver, took him to the militia and probably forbade him to drive the priest in the future.


November 25th of this year (1978) marks one year since the Soviet government demolished the church and disperssed the people. But despite this, people gather every evening to pray in common in a small room and even under the open sky, because all of them can­not fit into the tight quarters. Rain, snow and the cold do not deter them from praying. More than the bad weather, it is District Chair­man Bogorozh who disturbs them. He always arrives drunk and disperses the children. Between November 1st and 15th, Bogorozh arrived drunk three times, brutally chased the children from the room and interrupted the common prayers of the believers. After bursting into the room during prayers on November 13, 1978, the chairman chased out the children, dragging them outside one by one. In addition to the adults, only two teenagers remained in the room: tenth-grader Svetlana Pogrebnaya and eleventh-grader Stanislavas Malčiuk. Bogorozh rushed up to Svetlana and tried to drive her out by force. The girl calmly replied: "When I finish praying, I will leave." The enraged Bogorozh turned to Stanislovas Malčiuk and asked him to leave voluntarily. The teenager completely ignored his pleas. Bogorozh screamed in a rage, "I will settle accounts with you in school!"

There is another thorn in the side of the Rashkovo district chair­man. It is the candle which burns like an eternal flame and is guarded by the Catholics of Rashkovo at the spot where the demolished church altar once stood. The candle flickers in the middle of a field, day and night, in good weather and in bad, reminding everyone that in this spot there once stood the tabernacle of Almighty

God, Jesus in the Eeucharist, which was destroyed by brutal hands.

When the people of Rashkovo appeal to the central Committee or the Religious Affairs Council in Moscow seeking permission for the priest to visit the sick or dying, the letters are sent back to Kishinev which, having ordered the local government to keep the priest out, sends some such reply: "In reply to your letter addressed to the Soviet Union Communist Party Central Committee, we are informing you that due to the fact that there is no registered Catholic community or priest in the Rayon of Kamenka, the question of sum­moning a priest from another Rayon must be decided by the local government." Signed by Assistant Commissioner for Religious Affairs, A.I. Raneta.