Bishop Julijonas Steponavičius during his 75th birthday celebration in 1986. A priest for more than 51 years, Bishop Steponavičius has never been al­lowed to administer his See, the Archdiocese of Vilnius. Exiled without a trial for 27 years to the border town of Žagari, Lithuania, Bishop Steponavičius was permitted to visit the City of Vilnius only once, in 1980, to mark the occasion of his 25th anniversary as a bishop. Often rumored to be the Cardinal "in pec-tore " named by Pope John Paul II, Bishop Steponavičius has captured the con­cern of the West. In July, 1987, more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives petitioned the U.S.S.R.'s Council for Religious Affairs Chair­man Konstantui Kharchev to end the exile and allow Bishop Steponavičius to as­sume his duties as Apostolic Administrator of Vilnius.


To: His Excellency, Archbishop Liudas Povilonis Copies to: His Excellency, Bishop Vincentas Sladkevičius

His Excellency, Bishop Antanas Vaičius

His Excellency, Bishop Juozas Preikšas

Msgr. Kazimieras Dulksnys

Msgr. Algirdas Gutauskas


Your Excellency,

The bishops and administrators of the Church of Lithuania have sent me their letter of March 11 in which they propose that I preside at the solemn services commemorating the 600-year jubilee of the Baptism of Lithuania which are to take place in the Church of SS. Peter and Paul in Vilnius, and to preach the principal sermon. That letter of Your Excellencies and Your Reverences provides me with the opportunity of commenting on the jubilee celebration. The principal services of the jubilee should be the fruit of the labor of three years preparatory work on the part of the Bishops' Conference and the Baptism Jubilee Committee.

I am sure that the Bishops' Conference, as well as the Baptism Jubilee Committee, in their meetings discussed and voted specific ways in which the 600-year jubilee of the Baptism of Lithuania should be celebrated. Not having participated in a single meeting of the Bishops' Conference since I am not in­vited to its meetings, I know nothing of what decisions were made or directions given which are to be followed in order that the jubilee celebration be solemn and impressive. I therefore do not presume to preside over the jubilee celebra­tion out of fear lest I deviate from the decisions taken by the Bishops' Con­ference with regard to the jubilee celebration. Besides, living in Žagarė far from Vilnius, I do not have the opportunity to confer with the pastor of the Church of SS. Peter and Paul or members of the Baptism Jubilee Committee regarding the program for the jubilee celebration.

I would suggest the services take place in five churches with a bishop presiding in each church, who would preach the principle sermon or ask one of the priests to preach it. The time, place and order of jubilee services should be announced in advance in all the churches of Lithuania.

May the great jubilee celebration in Vilnius be such that as to serve the good and honor of the Church in our country and for the joy and spiritual good of the believing public.

With true respect and love,

Bishop J. Steponavičius.

March 28,1987

To: The Bishops and Administrators of Lithuania From: Priests of the Archdiocese of Vilnius

A Petition

In the desire that the 600-year jubilee of the Baptism of Lithuania be celebrated in a manner most profitable spiritually to the believing public of our nation, we suggest:

1.That the Holy Father be once more invited to the jubilee and the bishops of neighboring countries be invited to the principal services.

2.That the main services of the jubilee in Vilnius be held all week, as­signing each day to a separate diocese; that services be held the last day, June 28 — a Sunday — in at least six churches in Vilnius in order that as many of the faithful as possible be able to participate.

3. If it proves possible for a delegation of priests to travel to the Vatican for the jubilee, we suggest that representatives of diocesan priests' councils be chosen as members of the priests' delegation as their repre­sentatives.

4.We ask you to see that government officials not interfere with cler­gy or faithful teaching children the truths of religion.

5.The 1987 booklet writes about the transfer to Sunday of five holy days of obligation falling on weekdays. The holy days transferred were very dear to the believing public and the numbers of faithful participating in them used to be no less than on Sunday. On what basis has this been done on the occasion of the jubilee year? This is a great spiritual loss.

Signed by the following priests:

J. Budrevičius, A. Keina, P. Purlys, J. Naumovičius, D. Valiukonis, J. Boruta, J. Lauriūnas, V. Černiauskas, A. Petronis, V. Pūkas, J. Šlenys, I. Jakutis, B. Andriuškevičius, E. Paulioninis, J. Vaitonis, A. Simonaitis, A. Belickas, K. Zemenas, M. Savickas, J. Aškelovičius, S. Tunaitis, S. Markevičius, A. Čeponis. K. Gailius.


To: The Bishops and Administrators of Dioceses of Lithuania From: Priests of the Archdiocese of Kaunas

A Petition

In the desire that the 600-year jubilee of the Baptism of Lithuania be celebrated in a manner most profitable spiritually to the believing public of our nation, we suggest:

1. That the Holy Father be once more invited to the jubilee and the bishops of neighboring countries be invited to the principal services.

2.That the main services of the jubilee in Vilnius be held all week, as­signing each day to a separate diocese; that services be held the last day, June 28 - a Sunday - in at least six churches in Vilnius in order that as many of the faithful as possible be able to participate. (It would be fitting for one of the bishops to conduct services at each church.)

3.If it proves possible for a delegation of priests to travel to the Vatican for the jubilee, we suggest that representatives of diocesan priests' councils be chosen as members of the priests' delegation as their representatives.

4.We ask you to see that government officials not interfere with cler­gy or faithful teaching children the truths of religion.

5.Why have the holy days of obligation which the faithful held in very high esteem and attended no less than on the days to which they were trans­ferred, been abolished?

Signed by the following priests:

L. Kalinauskas, P. Matulaitis, V. Bruokas, G. Jankauskas, V. Ramanauskas, K. Daknevičius, A. Jakubauskas, J. Razmantas, St. Pilka, F. Balionas, L. Jagminas, L. Semaška, J. Vaičekauskas, V. Griganavičius, V.K. Peslikas, J. Babonas, A. Imbra, Pr. Gaižauskas, E. Bartulis, A. Bulotas. To: Bishops and Administrators of Dioceses of Lithuania From: Priests of the Diocese of Telšiai and the Prelature of Klaipeda

A Petition

It is painful to us that regardless of petitions and special efforts we shall be celebrating the solemnities of the 600-year jubilee of the Baptism of Lithuania on June 28 without our Holy Father, John Paul II. This is especially painful when we know the Holy Father's desire to be with us at the feet of the Blessed Mother of God at the Gates of Dawn. We sincerely thank you for your five pastoral letters on the occasion of the jubilee year. We request one more letter in which the most obvious problems in the area of religion and morality in our country be spelled out and that specific measures to combat them be in­dicated, introducing and solidifying for the future the following traditions of Christian life:

1.   Fostering Christian customs in the family:

a.              To point out, especially to parents, the need on Sundays to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with their families.

b.              Repeatedly to urge the timely baptism of infants, the careful preparation of children for First Confession and Communion, the essential nature Easter Confession or Communion, the need to begin family life with the Sacrament of Matrimony and the celebration of religious holy days in a spirit of deep faith.

2.   In the struggle for a sober Lithuania:

a.              To oblige the clergy to practice sobriety and to popularlize zealously it among the faithful.

b.              Each year during Advent and Lent, to conduct services in parish churches for sobriety: preaching appropriate sermons, administering the pledge and renewing it.

c.              To drive home to the faithful that no intoxicants be used at funerals or memorials for the deceased, to urge that family celebrations be held without intoxicants.

3.   In the struggle for a chaste way of life:

a.              In sermons and confession, to instill a love of chastity in the hearts of the youth.

b.              Constantly to remind people of the importance of pre-marital chastity for a happy family future.

c.              To urge faithfulness to the marriage vows.

4.   In fostering respect for God-given life, repeatedly and firmly to speak out against abortion.

Among the clergy, various rumors and suspicions are proliferating regarding clergy delegations going abroad on various occasions. In order to avoid misunderstandings, we would suggest that delegates going to religious celebrations abroad be chosen in priests' councils.

We suggest that the bishops request that in place of the little religious newspaper being urged by the Soviet government, the scope and circulation of the Catholic Calendar-Directory be enlarged (That is, that it be a directory not only for priests but also for the believing public), that at least one religious clas­sic be published each year, e.g., The Imitation of Christ, et. al.

Signed by the following priests:

T. Poškus, B. Budrikis, J. Kauneckas, J. Tamašauskas, J. Paliokas, V. Vėlavičius, L. Dambrauskas, J. Petrauskas A. Šeškevičius, V. Šlevas, K. Žukas, J. Bučelis, A. Arnašius, B. Jonauskas, J. Kusas, V. Sadauskas, A. Alminas, J. Miškinis, B. Bacevičius, J. Šiaurys, E. Atkočiūnas, A. Lideikis, A. Genutis, P. Linkevičius, F. Žilys, A. Beniušis, S. Anužis, V. Klebonis, A. Pakamanis, V. Žvirzdinas.


To: The Bishops and Administrators of Dioceses of Lithuania From: Priests of the Diocese of Vilkaviškis

A Petition

In the desire that the 600-year jubilee of the Baptism of Lithuania be celebrated in a manner most profitable spiritually, we suggest:

1.That the Holy Father be once more invited to the jubilee and the bishops of neighboring countries be invited to the principal services.

2.That the main services of the jubilee in Vilnius be held all week, as­signing each day to a separate diocese; that services be held the last day, June 28 - a Sunday ~ in at least six churches in Vilnius in order that as many of the faithful as possible be able to participate. (It would be fitting for one of the bishops to conduct services at each church.)

3.If it proves possible for a delegation of priests to travel to the Vatican for the jubilee, we suggest that representatives of diocesan priests' councils be chosen as members of the priests' delegation as their representatives.

4.We request that care be taken that government officials not inter­fere with clergy or faithful teaching children the truths of religion.

5.   We request that a separate church and day be assigned for the Diocese of Vilkaviškis to commemorate the jubilee.

Signed by the following priests:

V. Jalinskas, V. Stakėnas, J. Maksvytis, L. Kunevičius, J. Žemaitis, A. Deltuva, St. Mikalajūnas, A. Gražulis, V. Užkuraitis, G. Dovydaitis, I. Plioraitis, P. Dumbliauskas, G. Pušinaitis, V. Bobinas, A. Diskevičius, J. Varkala, J. Baranauskas, J. Grudzinskas, J. Sventickas, B. Jarušauskas, B. Razukas, K. Kudirka, D. Brogys, J. Mieldažys, A. Mieldažys, B. Čegelskas, J. Gražulis, V. Ur­bonas, V. Česna, A. Pangonis, K. Juškevičius, K. Brilius, J. Rusinąs, J. Šalčius, J. Užupis, J. Palukaitis, R. Žukauskas, T. Valainas, A. Račkauskas, S. Samuolis, J. Marčiulionis, V. Rudzinskas, J. Malinauskas, B. Paltanavičius, A. Alek­sandravičius, P. Sitka, P. Orlickas, J. Jakaitis, V. Jackūnas, J. Buga, V. Vaitaus-kas, VI. Bilius, A. Vitkus, K. Montvila, A. Sadauskas, Pr. Račiūnas, J. Poderis, A. Liesus, J. Gumauskas.

To: General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party

of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev Copies to: The Bishops of Lithuania

A Petition

Twenty-six years ago, the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Vilnius, Bishop Julijonas Steponavičius, by order of Soviet government or­gans, was exiled from Vilnius and settled by force outside the archdiocese in Žagarė. The bishop was being punished because he observed Canon Law, refus­ing to ordain unsuitable candidates to the priesthood and refusing in his own name to forbid priests to exercise one of their most important obligations: that of teaching children catechism; to ban minors from the altar and out of proces­sions. They were required to do so by the civil government of those times.

Bishop Steponavičius (left) with Father Sigitas Tamkevičius.

For failure to carry out these requirements, the bishop was punished by the civil government without any trial to an indeterminate sentence not provided in the Criminal Code. This unjust decision is still in effect today during the era of openness and restructuring. Academician Andrei Sakharov, who was similarly punished, has already been released from exile in Gorky, while Bishop Steponavičius is still being held in exile in Žagarė.

We ask you, General Secretary, to see that Bishop Steponavičius be allowed to return to Vilnius and to carry out his duties as the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Vilnius.

We also request the release of the imprisoned priests: Alfonsas Svarinskas, Sigitas Tamkevičius and Jonas-Kąstytis Matulionis (Father Matulionis was amnestied on November 16,1987 — Trans. Note) They were sen­tenced only because they called public attention to painful wrongs taking place in our society: disregard of the basic Constitutional rights of citizens, and the spread of drunkenness and lack of conscientiousness. No one who raises these questions today is punished. In painful contrast, the priests are in prison for daring to do the same.

We ask you, General Secretary, in the same connection, to instruct that the cases of the priests under sentence be reviewed, and that the priests be released.

Priests and Faithful of Lithuania

1883 Miroslavas (VI) -1728 Šventežeris (VI) - 738 Santaika (VI) - 603 Igliauka (VI) - 764 Vilkaviškis (VI) -1352 Gražiškiai (VI) -157 Bartininkai (VI) - 98 Lankeliškės (VI) -107 Keturvalakiai (VI) - 408 Alksninė (VI) - 75 Pilviškiai (VI) - 399 Varėna (Vn) - 470 Eišiškės (Vn) - 470 Lieplaukė (T) -161 Lausoda (T) -102 Viešvėnai (T) - 237 Telšiai - 3000 Rietavas (T) - 424 Gadunavas (T) -103 Plungė (T) -1169 Mosėdis (T) - 426 Skuodas (T) - 355 Nevarėnai (T) - 320 Žarėnai-Latveliai - 830 Panevėžys - 3706


Vilnius (Church of Good Hope)

St. Michael -1801

St. Peter and Paul - 847

St. Ann - 541

Holy Spirit-502

St. Raphael - 476

St. Theresa -162

Calvary - 242 Druskininkai (Vn) -1980 Valkininkai (Vn) - 625 Kalesninkai (Vn) - 733 Ratnyčia (Vn) - 380 Kabeliai (Vn) - 275 N. Vilnia - 504 Paberžė (Vn) - 817 Dubičiai (Vn) - 382 Butrimonys (Vn) - 285 Veisiejai (VI) - 708 Sasnava (VI) - 293 Kapsukas (VI) - 2317 Bagotoji (VI) -140 Gižai (VI) - 353 Virbalis (VI) - 344 Kybartai (VI) -185 Alksnėnai (VI) - 666 Kalvarija (VI) - 845

To: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev

A Petition

We placed much hope in your program for restructuring and democratization of the country, trusting that it would essentially improve the condition of human rights in the Soviet Union, that prisoners of conscience would be released and that the persecution of people for political, national and religious reasons would end. The first step was even taken in that direction. By order of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., February 2 and 9,1987, about one hundred individuals, sentenced for so-called "state crimes", were released from Soviet prisons, camps and exile.

However, it must be remarked that this act of the Soviet government so widely publicized in the West was not a political amnesty, but a "pardon" which effected only an insignificant portion of political prisoners. According to our information, the greater part of Lithuanian prisoners of conscience are still in their places of confinement. We are very concerned about the fate of these people, our fellow nationals and former comrades in incarceration, and would like to call your attention to their plight.

Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius were sentenced in 1983 for religious activity on behalf of society, which was inspired not by the desire to subvert the Soviet government, but by deep understanding of their human and priestly duty. At the beginning of this year, Father Svarinskas and Father Tamkevičius were brought to the Vilnius KGB Isolation Prison where in exchange for freedom, they were asked to renounce their principles. Not con­sidering themselves guilty, they would not agree to compromise their conscien­ces. So Father Svarinskas was returned to Perm Camp, and Father Tamkevičius to a new place of imprisonment, Mordovia.

Viktoras Petkus and Balys Gajauskas, members of the Lithuanian Hel­sinki Group, were arrested in 1977 and sentenced to ten years each of depriva­tion of freedom and five years of exile. Viktoras Petkus, together with other members of the group, has publicized many instances of offenses against human rights in Lithuania, urging the Soviet government to abide by the letter and spirit of the Helsinki Accords. He has also spoken in favor of Lithuania's seccession from the U.S.S.R.

Balys Gajauskas has been accused of: gathering documents about the Stalinist terror in Lithuania, the organizing of material assistance to prisoners and the attempt to translate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book, Gulag Archipelago. In all, Balys Gajauskas has spent thirty-five years in Soviet prisons and camps, Viktoras Petkus twenty-five years and Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, twenty years.

Gintautas Iešmantas and Povilas Pečeliūnas (Pečeliūnas was returned to Lithuania from exile on October 26, 1987 - Trans. Note) are presently in exile. Both were sentenced for involvement with the underground publications Perspektyvos and Alma Mater. In their articles and petitions, Iešmantas and Pečeliūnas have spoken out for a restructuring of the Soviet social political sys­tem for openness and democracy. In the light of changes today, the accusations against them appear absurd: today the same kind of statements sound widely from the very highest tribunes and from the pages of the Soviet press. Meanwhile, Iešmantas and Pečeliūnas are still considered, "especially dangerous state criminals".

Father Jonas-Kąstytis Matulionis is serving a three-year sentence in one of the criminal camps in the Region of Chita. His entire "guilt" is that on All Souls' Days, together with his parishioners, he participated in a procession to the cemetery. (Father Matulionis was amnestied on November 16,1987 -- Trans. Note)

In 1981, Jonas Pakuckas was proclaimed a traitor to the fatherland and sentenced to fifteen years deprivation of freedom for trying to cross the U.S.S.R.-Finnish border.

Many young Lithuanians have been held criminally liable and sen­tenced for their refusal to serve in the Soviet Army because of their participa­tion in street processions and for alleged ridiculing of Soviet symbols. Cases of this kind also need review and new treatment.

We are listing only the names of Lithuanian political prisoners. Together with them in Soviet prisons, camps, psychiatric hospitals and exile, hundreds of other prisoners of conscience - Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, Caucasians, Estonians, Latvians and others — await liberation.

If you really want to solve the problem of human rights still existing in the Soviet Union, first of all, it is essential to amnesty all political prisoners. After that, Art. 70 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federated Socialist Republic should be abolished (as well as the corresponding articles in Union republics), since they are anti-Constitutional and absurd from a logical as well as juridical perspective. Only these measures will allow political, national and religious repressions to be stopped and will prevent their repetition.

Signed by former political and prisoners of conscience:

1.Jadvyga Bieliauskienė

2.Petras Cidzikas

3.Liudas Dambrauskas

4.Anastazas Janulis

5.Mečislovas Jurevičius

6.Vladas Lapienis

7.Petras Plumpa

8.Nijolė Sadūnaitė

9.Julius Sasnauskas

10.Liudas Simutis

11.Vytautas Skuodis

12.Gemma Stanelytė

13.Antanas Terleckas

14.Vytautas Vaičiūnas


To: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev Chairman of the Council for Religious Affairs of the U.S.S.R., Konstantin Kharchev

Copies to: The Bishops of Lithuania

From: Faithful of Lithuania and the City of Klaipėda

A Petition

January 19-20, 1987, a delegation of believers from Lithuania ap­proached the Central Committee of the U.S.S.R. and the Council for Religious Affairs regarding the return of the Church of the the Queen of Peace in the City of Klaipėda. We were received by the Central Committee staff member in charge, Krygin, who promised within a month to give us a specific reply. In our petition were indicated the names and addresses of those individuals who could be informed of the government organs' decision.

Vice Chairwoman Blažienė of the Klaipėda City Executive Committee, instead of an answer, threatened citizen Birutė Mockienė, a resident of Klaipėda, with four years of imprisonment if she did not stop worrying about the return of the church. Comrade Blažienė likewise gave no reply to Antanas Avelis, a resident of Klaipėda.

On February 13 of this year, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the City of Kaunas, Comrade Kazakevičius, visited Kaunas resident Juozas Kazalupskas, and instead of a reply, conducted an interrogation. A month and a half later, a telephone call was made to CPSU Central Committee Propagan­da Division staff member B. M. Kuvinev, to whom the case of the Klaipėda church had been assigned. She replied that the decision concerning the return of the the church of Klaipėda had been turned over to the Council for Religious Affairs. The Council for Religious Affairs replied that the question was being decided. Another inquiry was made to the Council for Religious Affairs and to Comrade Kuvinev. The answer was as follows: the matter has been sent for decision to the republic government organ - the Lithuanian S.S.R. Council of Ministers, Comrade Česnavičius and Comrade Petras Anilionis, Commissioner for Religious Affairs.

On March 12, 1987, a delegation applied to Commissioner Petras Anilionis of the Council for Religious Affairs. He replied that the return of the building was not within his jurisdiction, that this question is determined by ex­ecutive organs.

Then we applied as directed by Kuvinev, to the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian S.S.R. There we were not received, and they explained that in the future they would not receive us in connection with this question. From an interview with the pastor of the church in Klaipėda we understood that plans were afoot to return the confiscated Church of the Queen of Peace, but that they were considering closing the little church presently functioning. When Klaipėda is compared with other cities of Lithuania, with regard to the number of residents, there should be more than one church in Klaipėda. Hence, a great uproar could result if the return of the confiscated church causes the closing of the one which is operational.

Commissioner Petras Anilionis said that in his opinion, both churches were needed in Klaipėda, and we should say so in our petitions. At that time it never occurred to us that the operational church could be closed. When news of the possibility of closing the operational church spread among the faithful, they began keeping keeping vigil within it day and night to prevent the closing of the church. The situation demands a decision without delay.

We, the Catholics of Lithuania, trust that the question will be settled favorably, in the light of the democratic changes.

We ask you, General Secretary, to help us and to monitor the activities of our republican government organs so that the vicious circle in connection with the question of the church of Klaipėda be broken.

P.S. We request a specific answer in writing indicating a date of return for the church.


Saulius Kelpšas, Laimutė Truskauskaitė Aldona Raižytė, Gintas Sakavičius, Alfonsas Bumbulis, Petras Gražulis, Vitas Rinkevičius, Arūnas Rekašius, Domininkas Čepas, Juozas Kazalupskas, Salomėja Menkevičiūtė, Petras Cidzikas.

March 16,1987


To: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev

Copies to: The Bishops and Administrators of the Dioceses of Lithuania Rector of the Kaunas Interdiocesan Seminary, Viktoras Butkus President of the L.S.S.R. Council of Ministers Chairman of the Council for Religious Affairs, attached to the Council of Ministers of the L.S.S.R., Petras Anilionis

A Petition

We priests, who finished the seminary in 1987, seeing the present dif­ficult plight of the Church in Lithuania, look uneasily at the Church and espe­cially at the future of the only seminary in Lithuania. Although the Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and the Church is separated from the state, in reality, this is not so. In Lithuania, the faithful continue to be discriminated against, their rights are violated, and the state interferes in exclusively ecclesias­tical matters. This is especially obvious when we recall our road to the priest­hood, knowing that the situation remains unchanged.

A young man deciding to seek the priesthood begins to be persecuted, pressured to change his mind, harassed and ridiculed in school. The persecu­tion does not let up even during his service in the Soviet Army. It begins to manifest itself especially crudely when he applies for entry into the inter-diocesan seminary in Kaunas. This triggers the constant summonses to the military commissariat, where security agents await him or it starts the ringing of the doorbell or the visits of internal security agents to his place of employment and apartment, and those of his parents. There are attempts to change his mind: the threats, the demands that he sign up to work for the security organs, the or­ders to show up for appointments. Otherwise, no hope for entering the semi­nary is held out.

Nevertheless, most of the young men remain constant to their chosen ideal. If the required number of candidates do not materialize, the state organs are forced to pass some of the young men who have not succumbed. Nor does the persecution of the latter let up during the seminary years.

Here are a couple of examples:

1. Vytautas Prajara was ridiculed in school for his religious beliefs and was forbidden to go to church. When he submitted his application to the semi­nary and passed the entrance examinations, he was soon summoned to the military commissariat where a security agent awaited him. There an attempt was made to recruit him to work, that is to cooperate with, the security police; he was threatened that otherwise, he would not enter, "You are in our hands. There are many who apply but only a small portion enter. If you sign up with us, your entrance into the seminary is guaranteed."

With this and similar blandishments, they tried to recruit him. When he would not agree, after two hours they let him go, after setting up the follow­ing appointment. By September there were three appointments, and during all of them they continued trying to recruit him.

After he was admitted to the seminary, the persecution did not stop. During vacation breaks they would telephone him at home. At the end of his second year, he was summoned to the military commissariat for his physical (so it stated in the letter), but no one asked about his health. They merely took him to another office where the same security agent was waiting.

Bringing up fabricated accusations without any basis, he reprimanded him for trying to avoid appointments. Never is anyone summoned officially to the offices of the Security Committee, but only under pretext, using the military commissariat, the Department of Motor Vehicles, etc., as a cover. The security agent threatened him with expulsion from the seminary.

They demanded that he sign up to work for them. When Prajara refused, they began cursing and threatening him with physical reprisal. "If you won't listen to reason, then we'll take care of you by physical force. You won't be able to get away from us, anywhere."

The wave of threats lasted about an hour. He also noticed that on several occasions, when he went for a walk in the city on Wednesdays, he was followed by security agents.

2. Kazimieras Gražulis was also ridiculed in school for his religion, and demeaned among his classmates. When he finished middle school, he decided to enter the seminary, but the security police would not approve his candidacy. For four years in a row, security organs would not allow him to enter the semi­nary. There was no obstacle posed by the seminary administration or bishops. So it was the security organs which did not allow him to enter the seminary.

Other seminarians who would not agree to compromise their conscien­ces were similarly persecuted and terrorized. Some are promised good parishes. They are even promised elevation to the episcopacy and the like. What a great lie it is to proclaim everywhere that the government does not interfere in the af­fairs of the Church, that no one poses any obstacles to entering the seminary. These are just a few specific examples. Most of the seminarians are afraid to say anything about it because of threats, since after every recruiting session, they would warn the seminarians not to say anything to anyone about the interview which had taken place, saying that it had to be kept secret.

We request the Soviet government to give attention to the facts we have submitted and to arrive at the appropriate conclusions.

1.   To cease persecution of young men wishing to become priests.

2.   To allow the spiritual and seminary leadership to pick its own candidates to the priesthood and not to limit their number.

3.   Not to blackmail, threaten or recruit those who enter.

Signed by priests ordained this year:

Vytautas Prajara, Kazimieras Gražulis, Jeronimas Petrikas, Robertas


To: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist

Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev Copies to: The Bishops and Administrators of Dioceses of Lithuania From: Associate Pastor of Alytus II, Father Antanas Gražulis

A Petition

For several years now, the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Kaunas has been trying to assign me to some parish as pastor-administrator, but because of interference on the part of Soviet government officials, those as­signments keep being delayed. As far as I know from His Excellency Liudas

Povilonis, I was appointed to Veiveriai, Šeštokai, Krosna, Būdvietis, Meteliai, Ūdrija, Išlaužą and recently to Žemoji Panemunė. Rumor has it that even the L.S.S.R. Council of Ministers discussed my transfer from Alytus to that parish. It is strange that working as a priest in the little parish of Žemoji Panemunė I should be "more dangerous" to the U.S.S.R. than working in Alytus.

The holding up of appointments used to be explained by my refusal to pick up from the City Executive Committee the credentials issued by the Com­missioner for Religious Affairs. Those credentials were not necessary for me as a priest since I had been registered in the City of Alytus before the credentials had been sent. This year, because of KGB trickery, an eavesdropping device was installed in the apartment I rent and the landlady terrorized; I was forced to move to another apartment and by the same token, for registration purposes, I had to pick up the aforesaid credentials from the Office of the Commissioner for Religious Affairs.

Therefore, the excuse for holding up my earlier appointments fell by the wayside. But His Excellency, the archbishop, continues to be prevented from transferring me to another parish.

What can be the reason for holding up my latest appointment? The only thought that suggests itself is that it is in reprisal for my family's petitions written in 1986 to the L.S.S.R. Prosecutor, and in May, 1987, to you, the General Secretary.

This would be a curtailment of criticism and the citizen's right to direct complaints and petitions to the government of the U.S.S.R., and all this is going on in these days of openness and restructuring.

Moreover, such interference by officials of the civil government is in­compatible with the principles of the separation of the Church from the state and the state from the Church, declared in the Constitutions of the U.S.S.R. and the L.S.S.R.

Please take steps to see that Soviet government organs would not in­terfere with the Church leadership assigning me to such duties as it sees useful to the Church and society.

June 12,1987

To: The Prosecutor of the Lithuanian S.S.R., A.A. Novikov Copy to: The Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights From: Felicija-Nijole Sadunait6, daughter of Jonas Residing at Vilnius, Architektu 27-2

A Petition

On April 1,1987, KGB Agent Reinys violated Par. 192 of the L.S.S.R. Criminal Code which states that all articles and documents taken in the course

Nijolė Sadūnaitė


of a search must be listed in the record of search and seizure. Reinys, in charge of a search at Antakalnio 62-2, where I had stopped to visit, did not leave any record of the search, but immediately arrested me and threatened the lady of the house for daring to receive me as a guest, knowing that I have long been sought by the KGB.

Phoning for a car, he told her to pack me some food and clothing, be­cause I was going to be in the KGB cellars for a long time. Asking where my things were, he took my purse and told me that after checking everything, he would return it. Reinys took my prayerbook-psalter, notebook with religious reflections and addresses, photographs of people dear to me, including pictures of my deceased parents, and he took letters I had written with Easter greetings. He did not list the things taken from me in the search record and he did not even leave a copy of the search record, he gave me no receipt stating that he had taken my things.

The car which came took me to the KGB office at Lenino 40 where he left me in an office on the third floor guarded by two KGB agents. After an hour and a half, more or less, just before twelve noon, I was taken to see KGB Colonel Lintauskas. In his office I found sitting Republic Prosecutor Jurgis Bakučionis, who tried to convince me that no one had been looking for me. So why had they arrested me? Bakučionis was not telling the truth. They had been loooking for me for over four years, not only in Lithuania questioning relations, but in Lat­via, the Caucasus and Armenia. At the Chosta Station, my picture had even been hung among criminal offenders and they were looking for me in many other places.

Bakučionis further explained that it was not the KGB but he who would prosecute my case. He accused me of not working anywhere and of not having any permanent address. I then asked him to take me home to my cooperative apartment at Architektų 27-2 where I live, where my passport and my work per­mit, issued March 7, 1987, were. In the work permit it stated that I have been working since 1980 at the church of Paberžė ( Rayon of Vilnius), as a helper taking care of laundering and repair of church vestments and looking after the churchyard and the building under supervision of the pastor (I include the docu­ment with this petition).

Bakučionis became confused and stated that he did not need my passport because he knew me personally. When I asked him whether so many male KGB agents were afraid to drive me to Lazdynai, he replied that he was not afraid but that it was already late, when it was only 12:00 noon; the day was only beginning.

Why did he refuse to be convinced that I was working, and instead ac­cuse me untruthfully? I invited the prosecutor to drive to my place of work (about 30 km), where not only the pastor but the sacristan and other witnesses would testify that I had been working from 1980 to the present. Why did he keep making excuses and not take me home or to my place of work? Was it only so that having falsely accused me on purpose, he might justify my arrest?

During the interrogation, Bakučionis and Liniauskas were very upset; it was clear that they had gotten themselves into an unpleasant situation. In reply to the prosecutor's question about the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, no. 73, and my memoirs, I replied that it was the same as during the KGB interrogations, 1974-75:1 was not going to answer any questions concern­ing the case, I would give no evidence and would not sign their reports. The reason was the same: the investigators themselves were committing a crime since they were transgressing Soviet law, paragraphs of the Constitution and in­ternational agreements, so I would not lift a finger in this criminal case to help them; besides at this time of democratization and restructuring advertized by Mikhail Gorbachev, such actions on the part of investigators must be under­stood as a contradiction to Gorbachev's policy. Hence, I would not sign either the untruthful report or the record of arrest.

Then they took me to the interrogation-isolation cells which are in the KGB cellars. They locked me up in a cell and a half-hour later the female KGB medical aide came and carried out a personal search: she took from my neck a little cross even though I asked her not to. She questioned me about my health and told me I had to take a bath. Why did I have to? No one is ever ordered to do so; it is only suggested. Was it just so the clothing, shoes and food I had brought with me would be left in her charge? Exactly so, she told me to leave all these things in the cell where my bedding had already been brought and soup, tea and a teapot of water had been left.

Reinys had told me that they were not going to give me lunch, but here, on the contrary, he had seen to it. The medical aide took me to the shower and locked me in, and only after a good half-hour, came back and returned me to my cell. My spirits that entire day were high: I was in a holiday mood, rejoicing that I was able to join my small sacrifice to the great Sacrifice of Christ, for my beloved stray brothers and sisters.

There in the cell I thanked the good God. That evening I ate. A half-hour later, I felt a sharp pain in the calf of my left leg, where a deep depression appeared all the way to the leg-bone, and the muscles contracted the toes of both feet like a cramp, spreading and distorting them. I was quite surprised be­cause this was the first such incident in my whole life. Another good half-hour passed before the spasms and pain diminished, even though I lay down im­mediately and massaged my legs. I felt a great weakness, doubt about everything and unaccustomed apathy, and prepared to sleep.

Where did such a sudden change of mood come from? It appears that they had drugged me. As soon as the leg cramps passed, the window in the cell door slammed open and a soldier ordered me to leave with all my things. It was about 8:00 P.M.

They took me once more to the eighth floor as they did before, only this time as I learned April 7 from Prosecutor Bakučionis, to the office of Vice Chairman Henrikas Vaigauskas of the KGB. Sitting behind the desk was Vaigauskas, at his right was Chief of the Investigation Sub-division Baltinis, and at his left, Bakučionis. On the table stood two large microphones, one of which was aimed at Vaigauskas and the other at me.

They seated me across from Vaigauskas. I felt uncertain about every­thing; I did not even ask who those two unknown men were, for I recognized only Bakučionis and saw the other two for the first time. I paid no attention and did not even ask what the microphones were for. I have never in my life been so dull of mind. All three of them spoke to me, especially Vaigauskas, explaining, arguing, questioning, claiming that I exaggerated in writing my memoirs. I told them that quite the contrary, I minimized quite a bit.

Afterwards, at 9:00 P.M., they showed me the text of a decision and expressed the hope that I would sign it. In the decision was repeated the false accusation that I was not working anywhere and had no permanent residence. I did not react to this as though it did not concern me. It stated further that I had been detained on suspicion of having committed an offense under Par. 199-1 without giving any details confirming my "guilt". Since this "criminal" activity of mine had ceased - it went on to say -- they had decided after consultation to release me.

I read the text several times, but since my senses were dulled, I asked Bakučionis, even repeating the question, why no promises were being required of me. He explained that he knew that I would not sign such a statement. There­fore, the decision had already been signed by Bakučionis. But why did Vaigaus­kas, who was in charge of the interview, not sign? He merely expressed the hope that I would not tell anyone about that late-night interview, and not write about it. Why did Vaigauskas fear publicity if he and his friends were acting justly? After all, this is contrary to Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of restructuring and openness.

Vaigauskas went on to explain to me that some woman was being held and if I signed, she would be released. Even this nonsense I believed that eve­ning. I took the ballpoint pen which Bakučionis handed me; my fingers were like wood, not my own; and I began to sign.

Even as I wrote, I wondered why the letters were coming out so large when I always write small. After I had signed, Bakučionis, rejoicing, said, "This is the first time we have seen how Nijolė signs her name!"

Vaigauskas came up and shook my hand, promising his support everywhere and the return of my things taken during the search. They released me from the KGB offices at 9:30 P.M. For the next two days, I was very upset, dizzy, lost my appetite, could not digest what I ate and was very weak. To this day, I am extremely tormented by thirst and my mouth keeps feeling dry. Where did all this come from? Before April 1,1 never showed such symptoms!

Almost four weeks passed, but neither Reinys nor Vaigauskas nor Bakučionis returned my things. On April 7, Bakučionis explained to me that the KGB has much work and it was necessary to decipher my prayerbook, notes, etc.

Once again I request that the articles taken by Reinys be returned to me. If I do not receive them, I shall be forced to apply to the appropriate higher authorities.

April 27,1987