During the night of April 2 to 3, 1982, Maiden Hill, located within the boundaries of the Žemaičių Kalvarija Parish, was devastated: the chapel and two shrines were demolished, even their foundations were razed, concrete monuments and all crosses were overturned, the fence was removed . . . That same night, crosses were uprooted near the Varniai-Telšiai Highway, in the Villages of Kungiai and Jomantai as well as in the Village of Anulėnai near the Palanga-Šiauliai Highway. (This beautiful Eigirdžiai Parish cross had been cherished from of old and decorated by the faithful. People used to go there to make vows.)
The faithful were highly incensed, and their complaints flooded the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania, the Ministry of Culture, the editors of the atheist television program Argumentai (Arguments), the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights and the Military Prosecutor of the USSR.. Several delegations of the faithful appealed to various rayon agencies. Learning about the desecration of the Hill, the faithful began a vigorous campaign of atonement: they are having Mass offered, receiving the sacraments, going to Maiden Hill by car or on foot: at times in a virtually unbroken stream. For example, forty passenger cars were counted at 3:00 P.M. on May 2nd.
The crosses and statuettes retrieved from the water have been tied with black ribbons and returned to their places; crosses made of sticks and stones dot the hill itself as well as the woods and the roadside. A new cross has been erected along the road to Maiden Hill. New crosses have sprouted up in the Villages of Anulėnai and Vembutai. On April 24, 1982, a new cross to the Samogitian martyrs was erected in Rainiai, the godless destroyed it on April 26th.
On May 9, 1982, services were held at the Žemaičių Kalvarija Shrine in atonement for the desecration of the chapel dedicated to the innocent virgins on Maiden Hill where some 2,000 girls were martyred by Swedish soldiers in 1626 (See Č. Kudaba, Kalvotoji Žemaitija (Hilly Samogitia), p. 72).
The Priests' Senate of the Diocese of Telšiai appealed to all the clergy of Lithuania, asking them to inform the faithful of the incident, and to refuse to have any dealings with the Religious Affairs Commissar. A group of deans from the Diocese of Telšiai informed the diocesan administrator that they were too deeply offended to attend this year's meeting with the Religious Affairs Commissar.
Because the crosses and shrines were demolished by soldiers, people began to talk: "The occupant is showing his might. This is why the occupant's army is necessary in Lithuania!"
On May 4, 1982, Maiden Hill was ravaged a fourth time. The very stones of the chapel's foundation were rolled into the ponds. All the stones used to form crosses were scattered. The base of the cross bearing the inscription "Lord, Save Lithuania from Alcohol!", erected on the hill countless times, was carted off somewhere. Small firs were planted on the hill and from May 14th, it was guarded day and night by the militia. Despite the guard, crosses occasionally still appear on the hill.
Undaunted by danger, someone uprooted the firs to form a cross-shaped clearing. On May 15th, a group of young people came to the hill through the woods. The youth barely had time to kneel in prayer when four militiamen, two soldiers and three security agents jumped from several vehicles which had driven up. They literally dragged the youths from the hill by the scruffs of their necks and photographed them from all angles. Crosses made of stones along the road are picked up several times every day. Even crosses drawn on trees are shaved off with all the bark. The road to Maiden Hill has been closed off and planted with small trees. The people detained by the militia are astounded: "If only one per-cent of your effort were devoted to catching criminals and thieves!" Farm Director Valentin Matuševič does not dare to sleep at home, quaking in fear since he received an anonymous letter saying, "The Hill fallen, so will you!"
In churches throughout Lithuania, news of the devastation of Maiden Hill has been announced, and services of atonement have been held: On May 9, 1982, in Plungė, Žemaičių Kalvarija and Luokė, on May 16th in Mažeikiai, etc.
On May 14, 1982, Maiden Hill was visited by the Pastor of Žemaičių Kalvarija, Father Alfonsas Lukoševičius; the Dean of Mažeikiai, Father Jonas Gedvilą; and the Pastor of Tirkšliai, Father Vincentas Gauronskis. They found the forestry director and a group of workers planting trees on the hill. Father Alfonsas Lukoševičius introduced himself: "I wrote a letter regarding this hill to the Ministry of Culture and received a reply. I must therefore know what is being done here, and why." After identifying himself, a motor vehicles inspector stated: "I will have to take down your names. These are my orders!"
One Youth's Impressions
We had already reached Telšiai when we learned that it was impossible to reach Maiden Hill — it was guarded by the militia. Nonetheless, our group (some 30 persons) left the train 3 km. (1.8 miles) before the Pasruojė Station. We saw that the woods were crawling with uniformed men and civilians. We decided to proceed along ditches, several girls got their feet wet but no one broke the silence. The guard did not notice us. We felt like book-smugglers carrying books across the Lithuanian frontier guarded by secret police.
And there was Maiden Hill . . . not a single sign that shrines and crosses once stood here. Not a pebble left, only foundation stones sticking out of the water below. The entire hill is planted with small pines. Without realizing it, we all fell to our knees with great emotion. We had barely started the Lord's Prayer when three militia vans drove up. Telšiai Security Police Chief Laskutov, two more chekists, two soldiers and a group of militiamen jumped from the vans and ran up the hill; they were in such a hurry that they even grabbed at the ground for support; one of them shouted at us: "You're not allowed to trample the hill!" To inspire panic they began to photograph us from all sides, dragging some of us from the hill by the scruffs of our necks. Militiamen twisted my arms as well as those of another young man. Militiaman Razminas addressed one woman: "And you, a married woman, running around in the woods with teenagers. You and your bright ideas have called out half of the militia of Lithuania". Militiamen lead the two of us to their vehicles and threatened the others: "We'll see all of you later; we know who you are!" We were placed in militia vans. The girls began to cry and someone suddenly shouted: "Let's lie down in the road, let's not allow them to be taken away!" and they lay down. They tried to drag one or two by their feet, but then ordered everyone to take off. We returned on foot under escort all the way to TelSiai. For the first time, I had occasion to feel like I was some kind of freedom fighter.
V. May 15, 1982
The Priests' Senate of the Dioces of Telšiai April 22, 1982. No. 6
To: The Bishops and Diocesan Administrators of Lithuania; The Deans of Lithuania
In the Parish of Žemaičių Kalvarija, the Village of Pasruojė, the District of Gadunavą, the Rayon of Telšiai, the nationally significant archeological monument Alkakalnis, otherwise known as the Maiden Hill (No. 1195) was brutally devastated during the night of April 2 to 3, 1982. The chapel which stood on that hill and the metal fence surrounding it were demolished. Two other small shrines were also razed: 1. A shrine with a decorated cross from the end of the 19th Century, monument DV-3064 of local significance and, 2. A shrine with decorated crosses and sculptures of Mary and angels, monument DV-4043 of local significance. These artistic monuments are listed as monuments protected by the Lithuanian SSR. A freestanding shrine and several crosses and monuments to the dead also stood on the hill. Everything has been broken, smashed and overturned. Broken Corpuses and statues litter the ground. An ancient wooden cross standing along the Telšiai-Seda Highway was cut down and thrown out.
Maiden Hill is in a forest in a remote place, for generations a memorial to the hard days of the Swedish occupation of 1626. On this spot, the Swedes killed 2,000 Lithuanian young women (See Č. Kudaba, Kalvotoji Žemaitija (Hilly Samogitia), p. 72) who had been hiding from the invaders in underground caves and praying. The Swedes buried many of the girls alive in the caves. Long ago a chapel, shrines and crosses were erected on this hill in memory of those martyrs. Down through the ages, people have visited and decorated this memorial place.
The news of the hill's vandalism traveled throughout Samogitia with the speed of lightning and aroused the outrage of all decent people. This historical monument was not destroyed by ordinary hooligans. According to the testimony of local people, Valentin Matuševič, the Director of the Pasruojė Fisheries, is responsible for destroying the monument and desecrating a holy place. He committed the crime with the help of a military unit. At whose orders Matuševič carried out this crime, only he can say.
The atheists thus demonstrated their resolve to continue their reign of terror against the Catholic Church in Lithuania, only a small part of which was described by the Priests' Senate of the Diocese of Telšiai in its November 30, 1980 complaint to the Prosecutor General of the USSR.
We feel obligated to protest against the arbitrariness of militant atheists and condemn the crimes they commit. This time, we appeal not to government agencies, but to the numerous community of faithful in Lithuania, in order to inform everyone of the sacriligeous crimes committed here in Lithuania. We hold the hope that the strongly condemnatory voice of society will restrain the rampaging atheists and will disrupt their plans to destroy every last archeo-logical religious monument.
We ask the Very Reverend Deans of Lithuania to consider whether it is worthwhile to meet with the Religious Affairs Commissar while government officials employ similar methods to annihilate the Catholic Church in Lithuania. We kindly ask you to apprise the priests and faithful of this letter.
Priests' Senate of the Diocese of Telšiai:
Julius Budrikis Jonas Kauneckas Tadas Poška Petras Puzaras Antanas Šeškevičius
Jonas Gedvila Alfonsas Lukoševičius Adolfas Pudžemys Vincentas Senkus Vincentas Vėlavičius
To: The Producers of the Television Program Argumentai,-
The Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights.
People who love art, music and song are spiritually rich. We honor them, their works are displayed in exhibits, they are con-fered awards and prizes.
It is very distressing that today, we who have grown up in the socialist system see how the barbaric hands of the atheists debase and destroy art structures: shrines and crosses. We, Lithuanians, shed bitter tears as we kneel at the remains of demolished and desecrated crosses.
By their vile deeds, the atheists have already instilled hatred for godlessness and lying, not only in our hearts but also those of our children.
Several years ago, a cross standing along the Telšiai-German-tas Road near a brick kiln was cut down by atheists.
In March-April, 1982, along the Šiauliai - Palanga Road near Anulėnai, stood a cross erected thirty years earlier. This cross was revered and loved by children, young people and adults. Fresh flowers and wreaths continually adorned it. This cross also fell victim and caused a wound in the hearts of the faithful. Godless hands annihilated it. Three crosses on the Telšiai-Varniai Road were cut down. One near the Pergalė (Victory) Collective Farm, another near the gas line to Klaipėda, the third near the Pušinė Forest.
In 1981, three majestic crosses stood in the Rainiai Forest. With the help of a military unit, the Telšiai Security Police blew up the crosses. They demonstrated the might of the military unit against a wooden cross.
Seven km. (4 miles) from Seda is Plinkšių Lake. Between the lake and the Strėvė River is Maiden Hill, or the historic Maidens' Tell (See P. Baranauskas and A. Vabalas, Vadovas po Lietuvą (Guide to Lithuania), 1938, p. 280). In antiquity this place was well fortified by the Samogitians. (A Lithuanian ethnic subgroup — Trans. Note). An extensive system of underground caves was built. In 1626 the Samogitians were overcome by the Swedish army which despoiled the land of Lithuania and began to destroy the Lithuanian nation. The girls and young women of the whole area gathered on that hill and hid in the caves. The Swedes rampaging about the region, were surprised at not finding girls or women. The enraged Swedes, coming upon the hiding places, covered them over with earth. In memory of the martyred maidens, a wooden chapel, free-standing shrines and crosses were later erected on the spot. This place was revered, visited and tended by the dedicated hands of our Lithuanian faithful. This hill was especially loved by the youth. However, at the beginning of April, 1982, ruthless hands of atheists were raised against this architectural monument protected by the state (listed among monuments protected by the state), which had been erected in memory of the innocent girls. The godless brutally desecrated the Maiden Hill, broke and overturned crosses and demolished the chapel. The narrow road leading to Maiden Hill is strewn with fragments of the chapel. Roadside trees are damaged. A beautiful cross stood along the path leading to Maiden Hill. It also was destroyed by atheists.
Why is it that, under the socialist system, local atheists are allowed to have their way, breaking Soviet law by knocking down and destroying crosses, shrines and other works of art?
Today, memorial structures stand in Ablinga, as do monuments in Pirčiupys to innocent victims of murder. But Alkakalnis is also soaked with the blood of innocent maidens. Such historical places must be preserved so that the younger generation might bow their hands before Lithuania's blood-soaked soil and consider how much sacrifice the nation has endured.
The wounds the godless inflicted on our souls have produced a renewed resolve to have crosses once again adorn the crossroads and roadsides of the Samogitian soil, its historic tells and places.
Please explain to us whether monuments protected by the state will henceforth be permitted to be destroyed? If not, what measures do you plan to employ against those who act arbitrarily, and when will the destroyed shrines be restored?
April 20, 1982
Signed by: 9 persons to the Argumentai producers;
17 persons to the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights.