On June 8,1982, the diocesan deans were summoned to a meeting with Commissar for Religious Affairs Anilionis. Only the Dean of Mažeikiai, Jonas Gedvilą, did not attend. The deans refused to confer at the headquarters of the Telšiai Rayon Executive Committee, since the government of the Telšiai Rayon had desecrated Maiden Hill. The conference took place at the chancery of the Diocese of Telšiai. The commissar, as usual, spoke about the Regulations for Religious Associations. Concerning Maiden Hill, he responded as follows: "Religious extremism evoked atheistic extremism." After the conference, the deans submitted to the commissar the following statement:

"From time immemorial, priests and faithful according to Church regulations, pray annually on November 1st and 2nd for the dead. On November 1, 1981, in almost all parishes of the Diocese of Telšiai the faithful were forbidden to pray in cemeteries as a group for their dead. In some places (e.g. Telšiai) it was forbidden even to bless crosses that day in cemeteries. In other rayons (e.g. in Mažeikiai), it was not forbidden in so many words, but in the cemeteries, sound systems were turned on so loud that it was in no way possible for the faithful to honor their dead or to pray for them in any communal fashion. We believers felt grossly offended. All the people insulted expressed their protest at not being able to honor their dead in the way required by their faith and by the Church.

"During the night of April 2-3, 1982, in the Rayon of Telšiai, District of Gadunavą, Village of Pasruojė, our nations historical and religious monument, Alkskalnis — Panų kalnas (Maiden Hill) was terribly vandalized: the shrine which had stood there from of old was demolished; the wall timbers, ceilings and roof were taken off somewhere; two small shrines were torn down and also hauled off somewhere; the altar which had stood in the chapel was also de­molished, the statue of Mary was broken up and thrown into the pond nearby; sacred pictures were destroyed; crosses were broken up and smashed: wooden ones were cut down, crucifixes and rem­nants of crosses were scattered about and trampled into the earth.

"This desecration of graves, of the shrine and of crosses constitutes the rudest kind of insult to the believing public . . . The destruction of this historical-religious monument and desecration of graves was not the routine rampaging of ordinary hooligans, but an organized job carried out in a cooperative effort complete with trucks. We have reason to state that this has been the coordinated crime of atheists of bad will, perpetrated not without the approval of certain officials of the government.

On this occasion we must remind you that this is the continua­tion of the history of the destruction of many crosses and monuments of religious folk art in our country.

The Soviet Constitution grants freedom to the Catholic Church as such, with its essential commandments: Canon Law, moral principles, dogmas and special worship. Therefore it cannot be looked upon as some kind of religious sect, where the internal system is entirely different and the rules of worship and administration are entirely different. In some sects, spiritual leaders are elected, in some there are none at all. Hence in those religious communities lay people are in charge. In the Catholic Church there is a hierarchical structure. Here ordained persons are in charge: bishops and priests. However, they too must obey canon law, dogma, moral principles and essential principles of worship.

In the Catholic Church all committees of laity have only an auxiliary and consultative power. If they assume the functions of leading the Catholic Church or interfere with bishops and priests in their work of leadership, they as believers drop from the ranks of Catholic Church members (Canon 2345, Code of Canon Law) Hence any attempt to use church committees against the Church hierarchy is nothing other than an attempt to destroy the Catholic Church.

Of course, the Catholic Church cannot reconcile itself with this and it is forced to resist with all its might. This war has been forced upon the Catholic Church. It contributes nothing to the state, either, but only arouses unrest in the masses of believers and undermines confidence in the government.

In view of all these facts, we, the Deans of the Diocese of Telšiai and of the Prelature of Klaipėda, gathered here, as representatives of the laity and clergy and full-fledged citizens of our country demand the following:

The government must take all measures so that those destructive offenses against civility and against the most sacred feelings and convictions of believers (the desecration of cemeteries, shrines and crosses) should not be repeated, that believing citizens be protected from acts of terror, and that in the future they not be humiliated in such vile fashion or insulted.

Laws regarding cult must not be promulgated or interpreted contrary to the basic canon law of the Church or contraty to the constitution.

In the event of the continuation of the above-mentioned and similar actions and facts, normal dialogue between the Church and the state will be very difficult or impossible.

Signed by the following deans: Rev. Bernardas Talaišius, Rev. Stanislovas Ilinčius, Rev. Bronius Burneikis, Canon Kazi­mieras Gaščiūnas, Rev. Petras Palšis, Rev. Feliksas Valaitis, Canon Juozapas Grubliauskas, Rev. Dr. Petras Puzaras, Rev. Tadas Poška; and vice-deans: Rev. Petras Stukas, and Rev. Alfonsas Lukoševičius.

On August 6, 1982, the faithful received a reply from the Ministry of Culture to their petition regarding the demolition of Maiden Hill: "Unknown culprits destroyed the artistic monuments of Maiden Hill, which were of some local significance. The original images did not survive; therefore it would be pointless to restore the shrines."

Meantime certain details came to light: The destruction of Maiden Hill had been planned in advance by the government of the Rayon of Telšiai. The demolition order had been given by the rayon Communist Party committee, and the demolition had been directed by Director of Fisheries and Communist Party Secretary Baltrukas, with soldiers participating. (A month later, Baltrukas was driving a car while under the influence of alcohol and ran under a military truck. In the hospital, his leg was amputated.) Truck-driver Zigmantas Burba was ordered to haul away the wreckage of the shrine, but he refused. A soldier was seated at the wheel of the car. The next day, Zigmas Burba refused to work with the vehicle which had been used in the sacrilege. No driver was found. The powerful GAZ-66 vehicle stood idle a long time. On May 22, 1982, the Telšiai newspaper Komunizmo Švyturys (Communist Beacon) announced that the Pasruojė Fisheries needed drivers.

Other organizations to which the faithful turned did not send replies. Some women (Mrs.) Rozalija Dargužienė, (Mrs.) Gaudie-šienė and others delivered to the Council of Ministers a petition signed by forty of the faithful, but received no reply.

Also participating in the delegation to the Council of Ministers was (Mrs.) Jadvyga Jucienė, Directress of the Gedrimai House of Culture (of the Pasruojė Fisheries), who is also responsible for the protection of monuments in the area of Gadunavą. In July, she was warned by the Telšiai Communist Party Committee and at the Telšiai Security Police Department, not to make any fuss about Maiden Hill, and at the beginning of August, she was dis­charged.

On June 20, 1982, the Advocate General's Office of the USSR announced that the complaint of the faithful had been forwarded to the Baltic Military District of Riga for investigation. On June 28, the Advocate General of the Baltic Military District came to Telšiai. Those who had signed the petition were summoned to militia headquarters. (Miss) Rita Bumblauskaitė, (Miss) Jadvyga Drungėlai-tytė and (Miss) Genovaitė Drungėlaitytė were warned that they would be brought to trial for libeling the Soviet Army, since they did not have proof positive that the army had been employed in the demolition of religious objects or in a war against religion. Of course, the faithful cannot prove obvious facts: Major Berukov blew up three crosses in Rainiai in June of 1981; on November 1, 1981, soldiers patrolled the cemetery in Telšiai while the faithful were praying; curing the night of April 2-3, 1982, they participated in the demolition of crosses and shrines; On May 15, 1982, soldiers and other officials went around trying to catch people on their way to Maiden Hill. Moreover, those being interrogated told the attorney general that the demolished shrine was stored in the military polygon of Gadūna-va. However, this concrete evidence was gone the next morning — the shrine had disappeared from the polygon.