On May 13-16, 1985, Father Josef Svidnicky, a Ukrainian Catholic priest, who had worked in Zhitomir, Dushamb and Novosibirsk, was arrested in Apr i1, 1984.
During the trial, Father Svidnicky was confronted with the main accusations: The organizing of ecumenical groups (of Catholics and members of other denominations), the reproduction and dissemination of a small book about the apparition of the Mother of God at Fatima, and the catechizing of the young. Father Svidnicky's entire work is described as a calumniation of Soviet reality.
At the beginning of the trial, the court reporter announced that the case would be heard in a closed session of the court, therefore no one would be admitted into the courtroom. The last day, at the pronouncement of the verdict, all who wished to get into the courtroom were allowed in. Making use of this, the court announced that the case of Father Svidnicky had been tried in an open session of the court. The Prosecutor offered to give the accused 2.5 years deprivation of freedom. The court gave the longest sentence to Father Svidnicky: 3 years of imprisonment and confiscation of property, sentence to be carried out in a common regime camp.
The Catholic Church has lost one more worker, rounding out the group of martyrs whose sacrifice was and remains a blessed witness of Christ's
faith and love.
In the magazine, Sovietski soyuz (No. 1 (419) pp 26-27), published in Russian and nineteen foreign languages, based on examples of the activity of the Catholic Church in Moscow, the statement of Father Stanislovas
Mažeika, pastor of the Church of Saint Louis in Moscow, concerning religious freedom in the Soviet Union, was published.
Father Mažeika, in his public relations gambit, expresses annoyance with the claim of Polish priests and Vatican Radio that the pastor in Moscow is carrying out the "bidding of the atheists". Father Mažeika considers this libellous and says that he is only carrying out the bidding of Church and state, and of the bidding of atheists, he knows nothing. Unfortunately, he contradicts himself. Father Mažeika, in his article, soon admits that by obeying the government's (people's) laws, they are neglecting to teach the children catechism, when Church law obliges priests to pay particular attention to the religious instruction of children. During the libel via Vatican Radio (1983), the old Code of Canon Law was in effect; however, it appears that the pastor of the Catholic Church in Moscow, considered Canon 467 not to oblige him. The truest words in the article are that foreigners coming to Moscow are surprised (and not without some basis) at the place of the Catholic Church, almost in the yard of the Security Committee's office.