THE CHRONICLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN LITHUANIA No. 30
In This Issue:
Statements Regarding the Draft Constitution
Searches, Interrogations and Arrests
When will the Žalioji Church be Re-opened?
From the Archieves of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania
Lithuania November 1, 1977
We congratulate you on the venerable occasion of your eightieth birthday and pray God to grant you strength to continue successfully the mission assigned you by Divine Providence.
On this occasion, we wish to thank you for your fatherly concern for all mankind and the affairs of the Catholic Church in these difficult times of spreading atheism and declining morality, by staunchly defending the purity of faith and morals. We thank you for the courage you have shown in defending all the world's oppressed, injured and persecuted peoples. .
We hear your words and understand your very deep concern for our persecuted Church! In many cases she cannot act publicly, have her own press, defend her rights, and in particular catechize children and young people. She is often compelled to follow the example of the early Christians in spreading the light of Christ's teaching in her own native land and in broad atheist-controlled areas.
We repeatedly pay Your Holiness, as Vicar of Christ, sincere respect and disciplined obedience.
We hope in the future that your care and blessing will help the Church of Lithuania, operating openly and also through catacomb means.
In September 1977, the wife of P.(etras) Plumpa visited her husband who is imprisoned at the 36th Perm labor camp. Before the visit, she was completely undressed and thoroughly searched. If she had not submitted to the search, the visit would not have been allowed. Plumpa has been thoroughly exhausted by the harsh labor camp conditions, but remains in good health. Immediately after the visit, he was transferred to another labor camp. His current address is: Perm sr. Chusovskij r., Vservsvetskaya st., vs 389/35.
In October 1977, (Mrs) Lapienienė was allowed to visit her husband VI. Lapienis imprisoned in Mordovia. His current address is: Mordovkaya ASSR, Potma-Barashevo, ucr. zx 385/3-5.
Here are some excerpts from the interrogation of Vladas Lapienis:
Interrogator: "Because of your activities, you are responsible for the imprisonment of other people."
Lapienis: "I don't have a prison. If I did, I would have to think whom to imprison, them or you."
The interrogator stated that people in labor camps sometimes live a long time.
Lapienis: "Then don't imprison others, but imprison yourselves, you will live longer."
To: The Secretary General of the USSR Central Committee, Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium, and Chairman of the USSR Constitutional Commission,
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev Copies to: 1. LSSR Supreme Soviet Presidium
2. Lithuanian SSR Commissioner for Religious Affairs of the USSR Council of Ministers
A statement from: The Priests of the Vilnius Archdiocese, Lithuania SSR.
(The draft Constitution is for the KGB and atheists.)
We, the undersigned priests of the Vilnius Archdiocese, having read the new USSR draft Constitution submitted for nationwide consideration, consider it necessary:
1. That, based on the complete equality of citizens, independent of their relationship with religion, which is the subject of article 34, the new USSR Constitution guarantee all the nation's citizens— believers as well as non-believers—equal rights and freedoms in the area of conscience; namely, that article 52 of the Constitution include, alongside the freedom of anti-religious propaganda, the freedom to disseminate religious beliefs, that is, religious propaganda, and that believers be permitted to use this freedom as non-believers and atheists use the freedom of anti-religious propaganda
2. That article 53 of the Constitution guarantee, alongside government assistance granted families in expanding the wide network of child-care agencies and so forth, the right of the unborn child to be born and live; that the freedom of parents to raise their children according to their beliefs and the freedom of conscience be guaranteed; that the durability of marriage and the family be further strengthened by laws.
On Tuesday August 23rd of this year, at 3:00 P.M., Chief Interrogator of the Security Committee Major Pilelis, accompanied by Case Officer Major Trakimas, detained Viktoras Petkus and his companion Algis Masilionis at the Vilnius bus station. The Security policemen presented Petkus with a search order of his apartment (Komjaunimo, 35, apt. 8) and demanded that he immediately enter the waiting vehicle. Petkus refused to enter the car, and went to his apartment on foot, accompanied by the security agents. Masilionis also went along. A search was conducted at the apartment of Petkus; both he and Masilionis were also subjected to searches. Petkus wrote a protest in the search report that Masilionis was searched illegally, since there was no authorizing search order.
The following items were confiscated during the search: a portable typewriter, and, from the briefcase which Petkus had with him at the bus station, four copies of Dievas ir Tėvynė (God and Country); Lietuvos Kultūros Archyvas (Archives of Lithuanian Culture); typed copies of Documents 3 and 4 through 12 of the
Lithuanian Public Group Supporting Adherence to the Helsinki Agreements; a statement by Nikius Mart to the Lithuanian group in both Russian and Estonian; three Lithuanian copies and one each in Russian, Latvian and Estonian of the Organizing Document of the Executive Committee of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian National Movement"; a manuscript document in Latvian signed by Kalninš; a copy of a statement from the pastor of Viduklė to the administrator of the Archdiocese of Kaunas and also 63 pages of letters from A. Šeškevičius.
The search lasted until 6:00 P.M. After the search, V. Petkus and A. Masilionis were taken to Security headquarters. Masilionis was soon released, but Petkus did not return.
That same day and hour (3:00 P.M.) a stranger came to the home of Antanas Terleckas in Vilnius, Nemenčinės pi. No. 68. He was very sorry to hear that his "friend Antanas" was not at home. Terleckas' mother-in-law, who was home at the time, explained that Antanas would not return soon and the guest left, but not for long. Suddenly, several minutes later, the house was surrounded by about fifteen security agents. They showed Terleckas' mother-in-law and daughter an order to search the house and immediately began their task.
To: — Commissioner for Religious Affairs K. Tumėnas
— Vice-Chairman of the Vilkaviškis Rayon Executive Committee J. Urbonas A Statement from:
The Faithful of the Žalioji Catholic Parish of the Rumokai Experimental Farm in Klausučiai.
In writing this statement, we wish to express our great outrage at the conversion of our church, located in Žalioji, into a mill following the departure from Žalioji of the Commissioner for Religious Affairs on June 30, 1977. To our knowledge, that is a deliberate violation of our rights. The mill began to operate very soon after you left. We all thought that this was done at your direction. We will not yield. Return our church. It belongs to no one but us, and we wish not to grind grain there, but to pray after honest work. We remind you that as early as 1948, it was registered in Vilnius by Religious Affairs Commissioner B. Pušinis not as a farm building, but as a church. Insurance and other payments were made on it as a church. An agreement signed in 1948 with the VilkaviškisRayon also attests to the fact that it is a church with a steeple. Can what has been legally acknowledged and confirmed thus be denied? Law must remain law, an agreement an agreement. It is painful to see all this belittled. We, the believers of the Žalioji Catholic parish, consider and will continue to consider any action on the part of atheists against our former house of prayer, a trampling of basic rights. Do not delay, but quickly return our church to us.
The Faithful of the Žalioji Catholic Parish
from the Rumokai Experimental Farm in Klausučiai.
(Signed by 136 persons)
August 15, 1977
Education Ministry of the Lithuanian SSR Decree No. 239
August 2, 1977
Re: The unprincipled actions of the Vilnius Rayon Šumskis Grade School administration and faculty on the occasion of the funeral of 5th-grade student pioneer M. Mikulskis.
Vilnius Rayon Šumskis Grade School 5th-grade student pioneer M. Mikulskis, the son of Teacher A. Mukulskaya, died on October 19, 1976 and was buried with religious rites.
The student's body was laid out at home without religious symbols. However, as it was being carried from the house, it became apparent that the casket containing the student's remains would be taken to the church. Many students, teachers and local residents had come to the funeral. The students accompanied the casket to the church with flowers and wreaths. They did not attend the religious ceremonies but waited in the street until they ended. The teachers of the Šumskis Grade School, except for N. Shutov. . . Gurin, H. Hrinovich and A. Mikulskaya and some of the students, did not participate in subsequent funeral rites.
After the religious services in church, the funeral procession, attended by a priest with church symbols, and the remaining students who carried flowers and wreaths, and local residents, proceeded to the cemetery where concluding burial rites were held.
The school administration (principal, Party-member J. Sidare-vich, vice-principal S. Sobolev) and the teachers played a passive role when arrangements were made for the student's burial. They did not take the initiative to see to it that it would be conducted according to civil funeral customs.
As a result of the unprincipled attitude of the school's administration and faculty, the Šumskis Grade School student was buried with church rites; a sizeable number of students and even several teachers attended these ceremonies.
Priests of the Telšiai Diocese who were murdered or confined in prisons and labor camps:
1. Bishop Vincentas Borisevičius, arrested in 1946. Sentenced to death by firing squad on August 29, 1946. Executed at the beginning of November 1946. He was cruelly tortured at the Vilnius prison because he refused to plead for mercy.
2. Bishop Pranciškus Ramanauskas, Kaunas Seminary professor, later Telšiai Seminary professor, consecrated bishop in 1945. Arrested in 1946, released in 1955. Died in 1962.
3. The Rev. Pranas Gustaitis, former pastor of Kaltinėnai, arrested in 1946, and sentenced to be shot together with Bishop V.(incentas) Borisevičius. Executed in November 1946. Before his death, he wrote to a priest friend from the Vilnius prison, "Our hardships and suffering are coming to an end. We have been sentenced to die. We are dying without knowing our crime!"
4. The very Rev. Antanas Kruša, former Telšiai Seminary professor, arrested in 1947, died on November 23, 1952 in Archangelsk at the Ertsev labor camp. He is buried there.
5. The Rev. Dr. Kazimieras Prialgauskas, retired pastor of Palanga, arrested on 9/4/50, released 7/2/54.
6. The Rev. Jonas Staškevičius, former pastor of Žemaičių Kalvarija. Two monuments have been erected to his memory: in the Žemaičių Kalvarija Cemetery and in the Village of Pakalniškis, Kruopiai Parish. People visit these monuments and pray as to a saint. He was arrested in 1950. Harsh interrogations broke his health. He died 5/31/55 in Sverdlovsk at the Ivdela Labor Camp.
7. The Rev. Jonas Kalvaitis, former Upyna pastor, arrested in 1946, died in Vladimir Prison in 1953.
Aušra (The Dawn) No. 8 (48). The article "What Should We Do?" indicates what must be done to prevent Lithuania form being annihilated. The most important means of resisting the loss of national identity is to nurture faith and morality. This issue contains a collection of songs and poems entitled "When the Thorns Bloom." A large portion of the issue is devoted to the documents (No. 3 through 12) of the Lithuanian Public Group Supporting Adherance to the Helsinki Agreements. It recounts the arrests of Lithuanian Helsinki Group member Viktoras Petkus and the founding of the Latvian-Estonian-Lithuanian National Movement Committee.
Tiesos Kelias (The Way of Truth) No. 5. Issue number 5 of Tiesos Kelias and a separate section containing sermons and material for sermons was published in October of this year. The issue reports on liturgical reforms, contains much news on the life of the Catholic Church and touches on questions of spiritual practice—new trends in the present-day instruction of children—and remarks on proper respect for the dead.
Many biographical details on the late Rev. J. Gribulis are presented.
The issue encompasses 93 pages.
Fellow Lithuanian, Do Not Forget!
P. Plumpa, P. Petronis, N. Sadūnaitė, S. Kovalev, O. Pranskūnaitė, V. Lapienis, V. Petkus and others who bear the shackles of imprisonment so you might freely believe and live.