On the night of October 10-11, 1980, Father Leonas Šapoka, the pastor of Luokė, Diocese of Telšiai, was brutally murdered.

At about 1 a.m. on that night, unknown murderers broke into the rectory through a vestibule. They broke down the pastor's bedroom door and, holding lighted flashlights in their hands, fell upon the sleeping pastor. They punched him in the chest and the face and struck down with a blow to the head the elderly housekeeper, who had come running. The killers took the housekeeper to the kitchen of a second apartment in the house. Another elderly woman was brought down from the second floor. Both were forced to kneel by the stove. One intruder guarded them, while the other went back. The women heard the pastor's moans for a long time. Later they were led into a bathroom. An elderly man who also lived in the house was brought there as well. He had been beaten about the head. They were locked in the windowless bathroom.

The murdered pastor was tortured for approximately five hours. According to expert testimony, all of the murdered man's muscles were severely battered and hemorrhaging. The following morning the body was discovered on the bedroom floor. His bloodied head was covered with a pillow, and his body was covered with a blanket.

An old hat and a large amount of money were found on the stairs. Apparently the killers were not as interested in the money as in sadistically enjoying torturing the pastor.

The break-in was very well organized; the bedroom of every resident was located on the first attempt. The shattered porch window was the only one in the house with thin glass; all the others had glass 1 centimeter thick. It is rumored that Father Šapoka was murdered by the security police.

Oddly enough, one police official maintained that no one had tortured or killed the pastor, but that he was old and had died of a heart attack.


Early in the morning on April 28, 1980, Father Benediktas Povilanskis, the pastor of Karmėlava, was taking the Blessed Sacrament from the sacristy to the church. He was attacked by intruders and severely beaten. The police did not apprehend the criminals.


At about midnight on September 12, 1980, bandits attacked and tortured at length Father Antanas Bitvinskas in the Kulautuva rectory. The pastor had to be hospitalized. The police did not determine who the assailants were.


During the first days of October 1980 the faithful of the parish of Šlavantai in Lazdijai Rayon were shaken by a horrible, savage event.

For several weeks the residents had noticed that everyone leaving Šlavantai was under surveillance, day and night, by groups of three men in cars which occasionally had their license plates changed.

They were shocked to suddenly learn that their highly respected pastor, Father Zdebskis, had suffered burns caused by military technology or some other undetermined means.

The Kaunas Republican Clinical Hospital's burn unit established that he had suffered second- and third-degree burns over 10-12 percent of his body. It has been learned from the medical staff that the KGB demanded that the illness be modified (rediagnosed) to venereal disease, demanding that a confirming positive Wasserman test be produced.

There has probably never before been such a savage incident in the atheists' fight against the faith. The parish of Šlavantai, as well as all of Lithuania's believers, are deeply distressed and outraged. Signatures are being collected in Lithuania on protests to the violent acts being perpetrated against priests.