To: The Prosecutor of the Lithuanian SSR From: The Priests of the Archdiocese of Vilnius
On January 18, 1985, the Supreme Court of the Lithuanian SSR sentenced Father Jonas Kastytis Matulionis to three years of imprisonment after finding him guilty of severe disruption of the public order, according to Par. 199 of the LSSR Criminal Code.
On the evening of November 1, 1984, Father Jonas Kastytis Matulionis, together with the faithful, went from the church of Kybartai to the nearby cemetery, to pray for the dead. On the day for honoring the dead (All Souls' Day — Trans. Note), throughout Lithuania, even the civil government organizes processions to cemeteries. The faithful, together with the priest under sentence, went to the cemetery in orderly fashion without hindering either traffic or factory work. Hence, there is no basis for considering the procession "severe disruption of the public order". Moreover, even the LSSR Constitution, Art. 48, guarantees freedom of parades along the street.
Sentenced at the same time to two years of imprisonment was young Romas Žemaitis, who had assisted in the services as an usher. He was convicted of resisting a representative of the government,pursuant to LSSR Criminal Code, Art. 201. Here is what happened: During the procession, Chairman Gudžiūnas of the Executive Committee of the City of Kybartai, wanted to approach Father Jonas Kastytis Matulionis to talk with him. Žemaitis gave a signal with his hand, letting it be understood that it was not fitting to chat at that time. Chairman Gudžiūnas could have expressed his warnings before or after the services. Thus, there is no basis for considering the aforesaid action of Romas Žemaitis as resistance to government representative.
Meantime, Chairman Gudžiūnas interfered with the carrying out of religious ceremonies even in the cemetery, demanding that Father Matulionis order the people out of the cemetery (LSSR Criminal Code, 145).
We therefore request you to nullify this decision of the LSSR Supreme Court for both of those sentenced, keeping in mind, moreover, that Father Matulionis is a sick man, an invalid of Group II.
Vilnius, March 29, 1985
Priests of the Archdiocese of Vilnius. Fathers: 1. Algimantas Keina, 2. Vytautas Pūkas, 3. Stasys Markevičius, 4. Jonas Boruta, 5. Jonas Vaitonis, 6. Jordanas Šlenys, 7. Česlovas Taraškevičius, 8. Josifas Aškelovičius, 9. Domas Valančiauskas, K). Edmundas Paulionis, 11. Kazimieras Gailius, 12. Marijonas Savickas, 13. Stasys Puidokas, 14. Juozas Verts, 15. Steponas Tunaitis, 16. Leonas Savickas, 17. Vytautas Jaskelevičius, 18. Donatas Puidokas, 19. Jonas Lauriūnas, 20. Kazimieras Žemėnas, 2IV Aldas Čeponis, 22. Ignas Jakutis, 23. Antonas Filipčik, 24. Mykolas^Petravičius, 25. Jonas Kukta, 26. Antanas Simonaitis, 27. Alfredas Kunįšauskas, 28. Vladas Černiauskas, 29. Alfonsas Merkys, 30. Donatas Valfukonis, 31. Alfonsas Petronis, 32. Albertas Ulickas, 33. Jonas Kardelis, 34. Antanas Andriuškevičius, 35. Antanas Valatka, 36. Kazimieras Kindurys, 37. Mykolas Žemaitis, 38. Vaclovas Aliulis, 39. Aleksandras Kaškevičius, 40. Algis Kazlauskas, 41. Petras Purlys, 42. Stanislovas Kakarieka, 43. Petras Tarvydas, 44. Konstantinas Molis, 45. Vladislovas Novickis, 46. Juozas Urbonas, 47. Alfonsas Tamulaitis, 48. Stanislovas Valiukėnas, 49. Kazys Meilius, 50. Petras Daunoras, 51. Justinas Saulius, 52. Bronius Sakavičius, 53. Kazimieras Pukėnas, 54. V. Verikas.
The faithful of Lithuania keep appealing to the Prosecutor General of the LSSR with expressions of protest, demanding the release of the two wrongfully arrested men: Father Jonas Kastytis Matulionis and young Romas Žemaitis, and the release of the two priests already in the second year of their imprisonment: Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius.
Here are a few texts of statements:
"The painful news has reached us. Once again, a priest who has zealously served God and people has been arrested, the associate pastor of the parish at Kybartai, Father Jonas Kastytis Matulionis, and a believer from the parish of Kybartai, the youth, Romas Žemaitis. We ask you please not to disobey the Constitution of the LSSR, not to persecute our religion, and as soon as possible to release the priests who have not committed any crime: the assistant pastor of the parish of Kybartai, Father Jonas Kastytis Matulionis; our pastor, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius; the pastor of the parish of Viduklė, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas and the zealous young believer of the parish of Kybartai, Romas Žemaitis, and other prisoners suffering for the truth."
"Please release the wrongfully arrested priest of the parish of Kybartai, Father Jonas Kąstytis Matulionis and the young believer of the parish of Kybartai, Romas Žemaitis, as well as those in prison for the second year for zealous fulfillment of their duties: the pastor of the parish of Viduklė, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas and the pastor of the parish of Kybartai, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius.
"We consider the arrests of priests and zealous believers as a persecution of religion and ridicule of our mosts sacred beliefs."
November 9, 1984, the Associate Pastor of Kybartai, Father Jonas Kastytis Matulionis, was apprehended, and on November 12, the altar server, Romas Žemaitis. Similarly sentenced to ten years of imprisonment were the Pastor of Viduklė, Alfonsas Svarinskas and the Pastor of Kybartai, Sigitas Tamkevičius.
For our homeland Lithuania, that is an unspeakably great pain and loss, especially in these times when there is already a shortage of priests. Therefore, we the faithful of Lithuania come to you, Prosecutor, demanding that you release the unjustly accused and sentenced priests and all others imprisoned for their faith. We also demand a cessation to the terrorizing and persecution of other priests zealously and courageously working in Lithuania, as well as the faithful.
Signed by the faithful of the following parishes:
Aleksotas (Kaunas) — 415 Būdvietis — 568
Alytus II — 4013 Druskininkai — 740
Bagotoji — 148 Gelgaudiškis—433
Balbieriškis—214 Girdžiai — 228
Ilguva — 130 Igliauka — 138
Daukšiai—165 Panevėžys — 4315
Garliava — 606 Pilviškiai—600
Gardašiai—152 Prienai — 2107
Gižai — 135 Riečiai — 810
Gudeliai — 101 Sangrūda — 405
Išlaužas—79 Seirijai — 513
Kaimelis — 334 Skardupiai — 105
Kalvarija — 1587 Šeštokai—352
Kasių Rūda — 266 Šunskai—147
Kučiūnai — 240 Utena — 1825
Leipalingis — 404 Veisieiai — 987
Miroslavas — 1500 Z. Panemunė — 81
Panemunė 1339 Kalvarija — 1584
Pažėrai — 168 Kapsukas — 4257
Plokščiai—54 Kriokialaukis — 495
Raudondvaris — 810 Lazdijai — 1306
Rumbonys — 542 Liškiava—337
Santaika — 302 Meteliai — 165
Sintautai — 242 Pakuonis — 149
Šakiai- 2437 Patilčiai — 152
Tabariškės—172 Punia — 98
Valkininkai — 1112 Rudumina — 565
Viduklė — 350 Sasnava — 590
Višakio - Rūda—132 Simnas -1524
Kalesnykai —450 Skriaudžiai-111
Kapčiamiestis — 347 Šilavotas — 78
Krikštonys—339 Šventažeris — 272
Kudirkos Naumiestis — 674 Ūdrija — 632
Lakėčiai — 40 Veiveriai — 112
Marcinkonys — 110 Zapyškis—18
Paluobiai — 81