(Miss) Elena Šuliauskaitė Interrogated
Vilnius. On January 30, 1975, (Miss) Elena Šuliauskaitė, Chief Editor of the Vilnius Republican Library, was summoned to the Security Committee of Vilnius. The interrogation lasted more than six hours. Two Security officials interrogated her.
The interrogators asked her to tell them how the birthday of (Miss) Teresė Masytė was celebrated on September 30, 1973. The interrogators called this gathering an anti-Soviet political meeting. They said that all who were present at this gathering had already been questioned and that they had told everything. They demanded to know who inspires, organizes and attends the above-mentioned gathering and other meetings.
Miss Šuliauskaitė denied that she had organized the gathering— a name day celebration. Interrogator Rimkus questioned her about
Bishop Steponavičius and the Rev. Sigitas Tamkevičius, who, in the opinion of the interrogator, slandered the Soviet political order and advocated its overthrow, at a gathering in the Dzūkų Street home of Miss Masytė. The Security officials were especially angry at Father Tamkevičius, for allegedly inciting young people, distributing the Chronicleand the instruction: How to Act During Interrogation. Using various threats, the interrogators tried to obtain statements they needed from the bookkeeper, Miss Šuliauskaitė, but she denied all charges.
On February 20, 1975, Elena Šuliauskaitė was again summoned to the Security Committee. The interrogation took more than six hours. Interrogator Marcinkevičius threatened her with imprisonment for the organizing of meetings, for distributing theChronicle and for the concealment of the "crimes" of Father Tamkevičius. Security officials praised those priests who condemn the Chronicle, report its distributors to Security and who do not interfere anywhere. For instance, Father Tunaitis, while being interrogated, told the Security who gave him the Chronicle and to whom he returned it. (Miss) Šuliauskaitė was again forced to confess that she organized the meeting. For this crime she would be punished according to the Criminal Code, Art. 68. Interrogator Rimkus rudely attacked Miss Šuliauskaitė for allegedly distributing the Chronicle, which slanders the Soviet order. According to Rimkus, the Security Committee checked the facts brought out by the Chronicle and found that almost all of them are lies. Even the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Vilnius, Msgr. Č. Krivaitis, during his trip to America told that there is no persecution of believers in our land. When Miss Šuliauskaitė asked to be told the name of the person who said that she organized the meeting, the reply was that the interrogators cannot give out the name of the youth because they do not want theChronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania to write about him. Major Rimkus tried to convince Miss Šuliauskaitė over and over again to confess, because otherwise she will wind up in the Panevėžys or another prison together with criminals, prostitutes and murderers.
The notes of the interrogation were written in question and answer form, and after every answer there was left a blank space. When the accused wanted to cross out the blank spaces, Interrogator
Marcinkevičius would not let her. At that, Miss Šuliauskaitė signed her name under every answer. "What an obnoxious woman!", said the interrogator. "One can see at once that she has read the instructions How to Act During an Interrogation."
Miss Teresė Masytė Interrogated
On January 30, 1975 Teresė Masytė was interrogated and accused that a meeting took place in her home.
The boys who serve at Mass at St. Mikalojus Church were called to the Security Dommittee. They were asked about the meeting in Dzūkų Street, what the priests discuss in the sacristy, where they get religious books, etc.
Aldona and Regina Bielskutė Interrogated
On January 31, 1975, Student Aldona Bielskutė of Vilnius State University was interrogated at the Security Committee. The interrogators acted very rudely and threatened the student with expulsion from the university. Miss Bielskutė denied that she had attended any meeting.
Her sister Regina was also interrogated.
Searches were made at their home, at the workplace of Aldona's mother and at the house in the collective garden; however, nothing was found.
Both sisters were again interrogated on February 3 and 4. Some time later they were expelled from the university.
Articles Taken During a Search are Returned to Rev. J. Lauriūnas
On April 2, 1975, the Rev. J. Lauriūnas, pastor of the parish of Kabeliai (District of Varėna) was summoned by the Vilnius Security Committee. He was returned almost all of the items taken during a search. The writings of Maceina and Girnius were not returned.
Security officials explained that he would not be punished for the possession of literature, but they would confiscate during the search anything against their ideology. When Father Lauriūnas was asked how he views the Chronicle, he replied: "The Chronicleis the cry of persecuted man."
On March 24, 1975 in Druskininkai, during the Lenten retreat, a woman was selling devotional articles near the church. When the militia noticed this, they took the woman to headquarters.
Reply of the editor of Tiesa to V. Vaičiūnas To Comrade V. Vaičiūnas:
The Constitution of the Soviet Union affirms the equality of all citizens regardless of the color of their skin, their education, sex, or religion. Likewise they are all punished in the same manner if they break the law.
Freedom of religion is not constrained in our country; however, the Church is separated from the state. This is a great achievement of the Soviet government. No laws constrain a person to believe or not to believe, to teach his children prayers or not.
In your letter [see Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania No. 15 — Editor] you are often shallow and self-contradictory. It would be better for you to study Soviet law in depth.
The Executive Committee of the Supreme Soviet notified Vaičiūnas that his letter was sent to the Soviet Deputy for Religious Affairs, who would reply to it.
On March 14, 1975, Vaičiūnas was visited by an assistant of the Soviet Deputy for Religious Affairs. This official told Vaičiūnas that it is not necessary to write such letters. He left after a short conversation, without saying anything concrete.
A Very Artistic Cross Destroyed
Šiauliai. In October, 1975, 1975, during the destruction of crosses for the third time on the Hill of Crosses, a highly artistic cross, 4 meters tall, was destroyed together with the others. A large suffering Christ was carved from oak, with this inscription: "In You, O Lord, we placed our hope and we will not be deceived forever."
This beautiful cross costing 800 rubles, delighted visitors only six days. On this occasion, a member of the N. family, who erected the cross wrote:
"Sons of our nation, in whose veins flows the blood of of Lithuania, who eat the bread raised in our land, who speak the language fought for with the lives of our parents, how is it that your hands did not tremble as you committed this crime? When news of the destruction of the crosses reached us, we came 200 km to convince ourselves that it was really so. The hill, under which rest the heroes of our nation, looked terrible, robbed and desecrated, kissed only by the wind. Lord, do not punish the evildoers, because they, poor things, are deceived and do not know themselves what they do ..."
Since this destruction, large and small crosses have again been put up on the Hill of Crosses. The faith of a Lithuanian is stronger than the hand of evildoers.
Those Who Refuse to Work on Holy Days are Censured
On December 11, 1974, at the Šiauliai Technological School of the Society of the Blind of Lithuania, a meeting of the professional society took place, during which the alleged violation of work discipline on the part of Worker Mečislovas Jurevičius was discussed. Jurevičius had not come to work on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
The head of personnel, B. Godliauskas, mentioned that Jurevičius, an employee of the company for 10 years, had no demerits, but he was absent from work on November 10 and December 8 of this year, giving as his reason for absence that he is a practicing Catholic and must observe the holy days. Jurevičius had written a statement before December 8, that he would be absent on that day; however, the company management would not accept the statement and is of the opinion that the absence of Jurevičius from work on December 8 is a deliberate violation of the work discipline and a demonstration. The management asked for a discussion on the conduct of Jurevičius, so that he would not bring shame on the whole company.
The chairman of the professional society, A. Petrauskas, announced that December 8 is declared a workday in the entire
Soviet Union and that the law must be obeyed.
Jurevičius said that he was not the one guilty of misdemeanor, but that those who publish such laws are, since the Constitution does not forbid one to believe.
After a deliberation, it was decided to apply to Jurevičius a means of social influence—a reprimand. On December 19, 1974, J. Šileikis, a worker at the Šiauliai Technological School of the Society of the Blind of Lithuania, handed the authorities of the company a statement that he would be absent from work on Christmas, December 25.
On December 20, a statement of similar content was written by Jurevičius. A little later, worker S. Čilinskas did the same. They all agreed to make up the day on holidays or asked that the day be deducted from their paid holidays. Moreover, Jurevičius and Čilinskas had worked a few extra days in advance.
On December 24, the company management tried to persuade Šileikis and Čilinskas to come to work on Christmas Day. The management compromised to the extent of offering to have them come to work only in the morning, but Šileikis and Čilinskas refused. The head of personnel, Godliauskas, suggested that Čilinskas take off his days worked in advance after Christmas, but the worker refused.
On December 31, 1974, Jurevičius received a notice from the management to explain in writing before January 8, 1975, why he was not at work on December 25.
On January 3, 1975, Šileikis and Čilinskas were also notified that comments were being made because they did not come to work on December 25 without a good excuse.
On January 3, Jurevičius sent the following note to the director of the company:
"I state that January 6th of this year is a holy day of obligation for Catholics—Epiphany, therefore I will not be able to work on that day. I am a practicing Catholic and must observe the holy days. Please deduct this day from my paid vacation. I am willing also to make it up working overtime or on Saturdays. I worked on December 21, 1975, (a Saturday). If this day has not been used to substitute for December 25 (Christmas), please credit it for January 6."
Jurevičius attached the following schedule to this note, stating that in 1975 he would not work on the following days: Holy days of obligation for Catholics:
Corpus Christi—May 29
SS. Peter and Paul—June 29
All Saints—November 1
Immaculate Conception—December 8
Jurevičius Discharged for Observance of Holy Days of Obligation
On January 7, 1975, a meeting of the professional society of the Association for the Blind took place. Nine members were present. The meeting discussed a statement from the administration of the society which asked for their consent to fire Jurevičius for unauthorized absences from work.
Jurevičius explained at the meeting that he was absent for four days because they were religious holy days, and that the Constitution of the Soviet Union guarantees freedom of religion to all believers. He had notified the administration about these absences and had promised to make up the days taken off by working at other times.
The chairman of the professional committee, Petrauskas, reproached Jurevičius for applying to himself only those articles of the Constitution useful to him, and not the articles that state that "the church is separated from the state" and that "work is a matter of honor for every citizen." In the opinion of Petrauskas, hundreds of believers work and find time to perform their religious duties.
Cimermanas said that no one persecutes the Catholics, but that they must come to work on working days (even if they happen to be religious feasts).
Mrs. Valiulienė said that this is not a religious matter but a demonstration. All who spoke at this meeting condemned Jurevičius and gave their consent to discharge him.
On January 9, 1975, Jurevičius received the following order:
"M. Jurevičius, renovator of buildings of the Agricultural Dept. is relieved of his duties as of January 10 for absenteeism, in accordance with Article 43, paragraph of the Work Rules Code of the L.S.S.R.
On February 4, 1975, the Šiauliai newspaper Red Flag carried a long article called: "God-Fearing Turncoats". Among other things it states: "Mečislovas Jurevičius would like to appear holier even than the Pope of Rome himself... Jurevičius wishes to merit something like the wreath of martyrdom... Jurevičius has a long-repressed attack of anti-Soviet hate... he tries to hide his actions under the guise of religion. In 1944-45, he, with a gun in his hands, robbed the people, Soviet institutions, ambushed and shot at the soldiers of the Red Army... He was sentenced in 1950 to 25 years imprisonment...
Čilinskas is a growth from the same anti-Soviet stump as Jurevičius. Even their biographies are remarkably similar... By appealing to the emotions of the believers they are trying to become if not new aposdes at least martyrs for the faith. However, it is doubtful whether they will be successful ..."
A. Stanelis, Correspondent to the Red Flag
On August 27, 1974, Jurevičius was called to the personnel department, where a Security official was waiting for him. He took Jurevičius to Security headquarters and asked him whether he knew (Mrs.) Pargauskienė and whether he received from her any prayer books or other religious books. Jurevičius denied everything.
After some time the Security people brought in (Mrs.) Pargauskienė, the secretary of the Children's Polyclinic, and asked him again if he knew the woman. Jurevičius said that he did not know her. With that, the interrogation came to an end.
The Church of Tūbausiai is Vandalized
Kretinga. On the night of February 18, 1975, the church of Tūbausiai (Region of Kretinga) was vandalized. The culprits broke in through a window, broke open the tabernacle, threw the consecrated hosts on the floor and trampled them, vandalized the sacristy, tore up some banners and smashed a cross. People speak about this with tears in their eyes. Such baseness is the direct result of the hate for religion being blindly instilled in school.
A Party Member for Twenty Years Dies as a Catholic
Plungė. In February 1975, at the "Four Communists" Collective Farm in the Rayon of Plungė, (Miss) Lučinskaitė, an old Party member, and ex-atheist, died. Before her death, she called for a priest, received the sacraments and died as a Catholic. When the Party representative of the collective farm found out about this he verbally attacked the daughter of the deceased, the director of the hall of culture, for allowing her mother, who had been a Party member for twenty years, to call a priest.
"This is unheard of—it's an insult to the Party!" screamed the activists.
The daughter explained that her mother had decided for herself how to act before her death and that she did not ask her daughter's advice.
The Party activists of the collective farm nevertheless buried Lučinskaitė without the benefit of the Church.
A Hammer Blow on the Head for the Pastor, but No Sympathy
In the Fall of 1974 the mother of Father Ivanauskas, pastor of the Parish of Kuliai, died. The parishioners wanted to place a notice of condolences to the pastor in the rayonnewspaper. Editorial workers refused to put a notice of condolences to the pastor in the newspaper.
"We can knock him on the head with a hammer, but not express our condolences to a pastor. There is no place for priests in the Soviet press."
"How strange!" said the believers, "to slander a priest whole pages are available, but to express condolences they fear to publish even a few lines."
A Mailman May Not Carry a Cross
Šilalė. The letter carrier of this town, Stasys Jakštas, carried the cross a few times during funerals. The secretary of the Communist Party of Šilalė, Bertašius, ordered the postmaster Kubeckas, to forbid the mailman to carry the cross. Kubeckas immediately carried out the order.
Forbidden to Repair the Church Clock
The vice - chairman of the Executive Committee of Šilalė, Jankus, forbade the pastor of Šilalė, Father Valaitis, to repair the church clock. The church clock must not strike the hours or show the time ... On March 23, 1975, the director of atheistic propaganda, Širvydas, even climbed up the church tower to make sure that the clock was not planning to start keeping time. That could after all hurt atheistic propaganda ...
Changing Church Wiring to Cable is not Allowed
In April of this year, the parish council of Šilalė switched the electric wiring of the church to a cable running from the street into the churchyard. Immediately the zealot Širvydas showed up and forbade the cable to be connected.
Old Town Cemetery Vandalized
Panevėžys. On March 28, 1975 (Good Friday) unknown culprits viciously vandalized the old town cemetery of Panevėžys. Twenty-eight crosses were overturned. Among them lay a beautiful, tall sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pushed from its pedestal. Heavy stone crosses bore witness that they were overturned and pulled out by not just one pair of hands.
The people believe that this was the work not of hooligans, but of organized atheists. Only atheists could think up the desecration of crosses on the day of Christ's Passion and of the veneration of the cross—Good Friday.
Order of the Chief Physician of the Rayon of
Utena, No. 5
Utena, January 24, 1975
Procedure for Summoning Ministers of Cult at the Request of Patients
Sometimes it happens that the established order of the central hospital of the Rayon of Utena is disturbed by calling in ministers of cult at the request of patients. Ministers of cult visit the hospital without permission of the hospital administration.
To establish a procedure for summoning ministers of cult at the request of patients, I order the following:
1. Ministers of cult are to be allowed in to see a patients only at the request of the patient. Department heads or relatives shall inform the chief physician or his assistants, who will then issue written permission for the ministers of cult to come to the hospital.
2. It should be arranged, that when the minister of cult arrives, the patient is alone in the room. If it is impossible to separate the patient from other patients, a screen should be placed around his bed. Always ask the other patients in the room if they are not against the visit. If they agree, ambulatory patients should be asked to leave the room until the religious ceremonies are completed.
3. Control must be exercised that hospital employees do not invite ministers of cult on their own and that they do not take part in the performance of the religious ceremonies.
4. All heads of departments should by February 15 of this year acquaint employees of departments with this order and with Article 124 of the Constitution of the Soviet Union.
5. I myself will monitor the execution of this order.
Chief Physician of the Rayon of Utena G. Lazdauskas
Physicians Do Not Show Enough Zeal for Atheistic Propaganda
Excerpt from the bulletin of the central hospital of the Rayon of Utena, Tiesos Žodis (Word of Truth), 1975:
"There are 90 physicians employed in the Rayon of Utena, 79 of these in the central hospital of the Rayon, along with 310 other medical personnel.
The work of the medical personnel of Utena in fostering the scientific materialistic viewpoint has been evaluated as satisfactory. The Atheistic Propaganda Commission of the central hospital of the rayon did not develop a more active program for the year 1974.
Medical personnel are often in contact with the sick—people in difficult situations in their lives: in illness, pain, and suffering. In such situations one thinks more, and looks at things from a different viewpoint. Unfortunately, these situations are rarely used to foster the socialistic ideology. We still do not put enough emphasis on individual effort.
Individual atheistic work must be conducted with attention to the believers' age, state of health, and must not harm professional objectives. Our physicians are still very timid in carrying out individual atheistic work. This work should also be done by the middle workers in the medical profession. To date, many of the personnel still think primitively about religion; there is a lack of knowledge about the materialistic viewpoint. The Commission for Atheistic Propaganda—the Atheistic Soviet—should acquaint physicians and the middle medical personnel with the methodology of atheistic work. Most medical personnel can and must join in the propagation of the materialistic viewpoint...
Chairman of the Atheistic Soviet G. Lazdauskas
The Cross of (Miss) P. Grigaliūnaite is Cut Down and Removed
On June 18, 1972, (Miss) Paulina Grigaliūnaite, a resident of the village of Vilkablauzdė (Rayon of Utena) erected a 5-meter high, wooden ornamented cross near her home. The leadership of the rayon ordered her to remove the cross. Grigaliūnaite did not obey.
During the night of August 7-8, 1972 the cross was cut down and taken away. At this time it is whispered that this was the work of local Party activists. In order that no one would hear the cutting noise, the motor of a tractor was left on.
Unfinished Memorial of (Mrs.) S. Ladygienė Removed
Anykščiai. At the death of (Mrs.) Stefanija Ladygienė, wife of the Lithuanian general, Ladyga, who himself had died in Siberia, her son Algis Ladyga decided to erect a stone monument. The architect of Anykščiai pointed out a gravel pit outside the town where the drainage work foreman had worked on an artistic cross for his mother. This year (1975) is the third year that this work continues. The memorial began to take shape, the idea of the sculptor began to unfold, the words "She will live" appeared. Perhaps these words, or perhaps the rumor circulating in the rayon that Ladyga is sculpturing a memorial to dead partisans, forced the government of the Rayon of Anykščiai to take action.
Before Easter, as many as five cars visited the famous gravel pit where the unfinished memorial was standing. People were saying that these places were the burying grounds probably of Germans, or perhaps of partisans shot after the war; but Algis Ladyba replied to all that the memorial was intended for his mother Stefanija Ladygienė, who is buried in Vilnius, in the cemetery of Viršuliškės. The government of Anykščiai, was even sent an approved plan of the monument with the names of the designer, A. Ladyga, and of the consultant, sculptor Vladas Vildžiūnas. However, before Easter, on the night of Good Friday to Holy Saturday (that is March 27-28) the monument disappeared. People spoke of seeing a block and tackle, a crane, and a truck. There were tracks of these vehicles, but the militia was not interested in them. To date, neither the verbal report of this by members of the Ladyga family to the Security Committee, nor the official written document sent to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania, has helped.
Organist Kinskaitė Not Allowed to Dress Children for a Procession
Skrebotiškis. After the Solemnity of the Nativity of Mary, on September 8, 1969, at Skrebotiškis, the organist of the Skrebotiškis parish, (Miss) Emilija Kinskaitė, was summoned before the vice chairman of the Executive Committee of the District of Pasvalys, Stapulionis. Since many students participated in the religious procession on that feastday, Vice Chairman Stapulionis ordered the organist to explain who organized the students and dressed them for the procession.
When Emilija Kinskaitė told him that the parents brought the children, and at their request she had dressed them in the processional garments, Vice Chairman Stapulionis explained that the organist had committed a misdemeanor and ordered her to keep her hands off the children and not to go around visiting people.
The principal, (Mrs.) Povilanskienė, called five girls to the teachers' office where Vice Chairman Stapulionis was already waiting for them. The girls, questioned whether they visited Miss Kinskaitė, did not deny it. Stapulionis questioned further whether the organist invites the girls to attend church. They replied that their parents take them to the services.
"But you should not listen to them. Say that you have a headache and don't go", the district official instructed them. Asked who taught them catechism and hymn singing, the girls were silent. Then Stapulionis threatened to take them away to Pasvalis and not allow them to return home. The smaller girls started to weep and one explained: "I will tell you what we do there: We watch how the candles are made, and we are allowed to play the piano."
The next day, the organist of Skrebotiškis, Miss Kinskaitė, was called to Pasvalis to see Vice Chairman Stapolionis. He called the organist a parasite and sent her to the prosecutor. This guardian of Soviet law told her that there remained very little evidence to gather, before a criminal case could be brought against her for leading children astray. Finishing his interrogation, the prosecutor sent the organist back to Stapulionis who, ordered her not to let the children come into her room and not even to talk to them when she meets them in the street.
Discharged from Work by Use of Threats and Bribes
In September of 1970, Organist E. Kinskaitė was called to the County of Tetervinai (Rayon of Pasvalis). Present were Rayon Vice Chairman Stapulionis and the parish council of the church of Skrebotiškis.
Stapulionis announced that organist Kinskaitė was disturbing the peace of the parish and therefore she might not decorate the altar nor play the organ. He, the vice chairman, was discharging Miss Kinskaitė from her duties.
The organist replied that she had been hired by the parish council and therefore only it could fire her if she was guilty of anything. Infuriated, Vice Chairman Stapulionis accused her of leading children astray, of disobeying his orders (the organist was allowed by Stapulionis to walk back and forth from her home to the church), and writing complaints, and taking them to Vilnius. The organist replied that Stapulionis was lying and that she had not written any complaints nor had she taken them to Vilnius.
The parish council said that as far as they were concerned, the organist was not guilty of anything and that they would not discharge her from her position. Stapulionis threatened that if the organist was not fired, then the rayon office would not confirm the new parish council; but if she was fired, they would be allowed to paint the church roof and make a cement path from the church door into the church yard ...
The parish council was called several more times to the Rayon Executive Committee. Stapulionis himself wrote a draft statement that the organist was discharged from her position for misdemeanors. The parish council could not withstand the pressure of therayon officials and discharged Kinskaitė.
Priest Discredited by Slander and Lies
To the Prosecutor of the L S S R.
Statement of Rev. Antanas Ylius, Pastor of Šiupyliai
In 1945 I was tried according to article 58, parts la and 10. The court did not prove any terrorist or criminal action on my part. I was sentenced to ten years for trying, in organized fashion, to make Lithuania free, democratic, Lithuanian and independent. I served the entire sentence. In 1956 I returned to Lithuania. This is the 18th year that I am living in my homeland.
Anti-religious propaganda accuses me of completely different crimes, which I did not commit nor even thought of committing. During the German occupation, I helped the Jews at the risk of my own life. Surely I would not kill my brothers when the Germans withdrew? That would be sheer nonsense. Thank God, no one suffered from me or through me. When a soldier commits a crime, the guilty soldier, not the commander of the army, is punished. In my case, propaganda does the exact opposite.
Anti-religious propaganda produced the film 7n the Shadow of the Cross, throughout which I am slandered. It depicts the cellar of the church of Skardupiai as containing many weapons and so-called bandits. I myself built the church of Skardupiai. There is no cellar under its floor. Someone shouts in the film that I took children from their mothers and killed them. I was filmed in the Ariogala forest of Brisėnai, stretching a high voltage line. There I was pruning a tree and singing "An Oak Grew in the Forest." In the film, however, I am portrayed as beheading people. Is not that the the most disgusting distortion of the truth?
One of the exhibits at the atheistic museum of Vilnius is arranged to make me appear as a real murderer. Such a conclusion was drawn by (Mrs.) Danguolė Repšienė in the January 12,1974, issue of Tiesa. Newspapers and magazines often attribute to me things that I never did and have not even dreamed of doing. They are all silent about what I tried to do but did not have time to do.
Some time ago, "the stamp" was attributed to me. ["The stamp" was designed to brand a five-cornered star on the skin of a Communist—Editor]. Now it is attributed to Father Lelešius. The Communists know very well who is the originator of that stamp. Why do they not threaten him? It seems he is an agronomist—it does not suit our purpose to threaten him.
I was silent for a long time—thinking it would get tiresome to calumniate me. But they interpreted my silence as guilt, so that according to the principle "ab uno disce omnes" they could accuse all priests. Now I see that the silence must be broken.
Such slanderous discrediting of a priest is a conscious and open battle against religion. Such methods of warfare do no honor to those using them. Fighting should be done with honorable weapons, not with lies and slander in order to mislead society.
I ask the honorable prosecutor to order an embargo of the above-mentioned film, to rearrange the exhibit, and to curb the propaganda, so that it would not distort the truth in such an obvious manner.
Šiupyliai, February 2, 1974 Rev. Antanas Ylius
[The statement is condensed—Editor]
Organist Fined for Students' Hymn-singing
Prienai. In the Fall of 1974, the Administrative Commission of the Executive Committee of the Rayon of Prienai fined the organist of the parish of Prienai, Gaučys, 50 rubles because students were singing in the church choir.
Permission Needed to Preach Lenten Sermons
On March 26, 1975, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the District of Prienai, Morkvėnas, called in the pastor of Pakuonys (Rayon of Prienai), Pranas Lingys, and berated him for inviting the Rev. Sigitas Tamkevičius to conduct a Lenten retreat. In the future, the pastor should note that in order for Father Tamkevičius to preach in the Rayon of Prienai, he must first obtain permission from the Executive Committee of the Rayon of Alytus, and then the permission of the government of Prienai.
Vice-Chairman Morkvėnas also ordered Father Lingys to remove national decorations—the columns of Gediminas—from the inner walls of the church.
At Easter, 1975, large crowds of people attended the church of Prienai. Government officials took down the license numbers of private cars.
Detectives Watch People Praying in Church
Simnas. At Easter, 1975, the church of Simnas was overcrowded with praying people. Such a sight can be seen in almost all the churches of Lithuania. However, not all persons came to pray. In church there was no shortage of government officials—detectives who came to listen to the Easter sermon and to note how many people gathered, how many school children, etc. Among the anonymous spies in the church was the principal of the middle school of Simnas, Guževičienė, and the director of the people's educational department of the Rayon of Alytus, V. Valeika.
Children who Serve at Mass are Interrogated
On April 1, head of the education department V. Valeika came to the middle school of Simnas and started an interrogation. Two children who serve at Mass: R. Juknelis and Vasiliauskas, were summoned to the office of Principal Guževičienė. Juknelis was asked who prepared him for his first Holy Communion, who asked him to serve at Mass, why he does not join the Pioneers, etc. Vasiliauskas was asked which of the school children took part in the Easter procession. It appears that the head of the educational department wanted to get the children to tell him that they are organized to serve Mass by Father Tamkevičius.
Pastor Interrogated Because of His Easter Sermon
On April 2, the pastor of the parish of Simnas, the Rev. J. Matulevičius, was summoned before the vice-chairman of the Executive Committee of the Rayon of Alytus, Jančiauskas. The vice-chairman reproached the pastor of Simnas for inviting the Rev. Juozas Zdebskis to conduct a retreat without permission from the Rayon office. Later, the vice-chairman sent the pastor to the Security Committee of Alytus, where he was awaited by Captain Marcinkevičius, an interrogator of the Vilnius Security Committee. The interrogation took about three hours.
Captain Marcinkevičius asked about the sermon preached at the Resurrection Mass by Father Tamkevičius. Security was especially concerned with the fact mentioned in the sermon, that the government is sending priests abroad to proclaim untruths, as if there were freedom of religion in Lithuania. Father Matulevičius said that he was busy during Easter and did not hear the sermon, but generally his assistant does not speak about worldly but about religious topics. (The interrogator wanted badly for Father Matulevičius to testify that Father Tamkevičius speaks about "worldly" subjects in his sermons.)
Activity When Party Members Baptized their Child
Bagaslaviškis. In August, 1974, someone wrote a complaint to the Party Committee of Vilnius that the driver at the collective farm of Bagaslaviškis, Jonas Chatkevičius and his wife, a bookkeeper at the farm, had their child baptized in church. The officials of the Rayon of Širvintai went into motion and started to drive repeatedly to Bagaslaviškis—How could parents who are Party members baptize their child? To gather news about the "crime" even the vice-chairman of the District Executive Committee presented himself. The harassment went on for two months. The parents were forced even to confirm in writing that they really did not baptize their child.
Married in Church Despite Threats
A driver at the collective farm of Bagaslaviškis, Romualdas Šarmavičius, was preparing to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony in the church of Gelvoniai on September 9, 1974. Discovering this, Jonas Vasiliauskas, Secretary of the Party organization of the collective farm came to see Šarmavičius, demanding that he marry without the blessing of the church. In spite of all the threats and promises, Šarmavičius was married in church.
Threats Because of a Church Burial
Pivašiūnai. In November, 1974, a native of Pivašiūnai, Veterinary Doctor Vaclovas Paliokas, a 29-year old candidate to the Communist Party, died in Alytus. Since the doctor was a believing man, his parents decided to bury him with church ritual.
A representative regional of the Party, together with the chairman of the Mikalavas Collective Farm called on the pastor of Pivašiūnai, A. Alkovikas, and demanded that the pastor refuse to bury Paliokas. The pastor explained that the deceased attended church, received the sacraments, including the Sacrament of Matrimony on July 2, 1974, therefore he could not deny him Catholic burial. When the pastor refused at first to be persuaded, they came back repeatedly and forbade him to accompany the body to church and from the church to the cemetery.
A few days after the funeral, the pastor of Pivašiūnai was visited by some "guests" from the rayon. The officials blamed the pastor for the funeral, found fault with the renovation of the church and threatened him in various ways.