To: Yuri Andropov, Secretary General of the CPSU Copies to: The Attorney General of the Lithuanian SSR
Bishops and Diocesan Administrators The Commissioner for Cult in Lithuania (Commissioner
of the Council for Religious Affairs — Trans. Note) From: Priests of the Kaišiadorys Diocese
Recently in our press, articles on atheistic topics have increased, and, on January 26, 1983, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, the Pastor of the Catholic Parish in Viduklė (Raseiniai Rayon) was arrested. Immediately, in the rayon newpapers, old accusations against Father Svarinskas were repeated.
We know Father Alfonsas Svarinskas to be a good, zealous priest, actively struggling against the constantly spreading drunkenness in Lithuania, boldly raising his voice against the wrongs which exist in the land of our fathers, and daring to state that when the atheists, given free rein go too far, the law is arbitrarily abused; believers and things sacred to them are insulted, their shrines are desecrated.
The article by Vytautas Žeimantas about Father Alfonsas Sva-
Following Mass at the religious shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Šiluva, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas led pilgrimage in kneeling procession, August 12, 1982.
rinskas, published in Tiesa (Truth), on June 28,1978, and now reprinted in rayon newspapers, is false. During the post-War years in Lithuania, many people were repressed, completely unjustly and without trial. Hence, it is wrong to throw the events of that era up to Father Svarinskas, just as it is wrong to punish someone twice for the same offense. The "guilt" of those days was, in the case of many, trumped up. One must not call people who suffered in those days "bandits without exception. By the same token, we do not believe that people visiting Father Alfonsas Svarinskas at the present time are former "bandits".
Soviet law states that it is very humane toward criminals; even when punishing real criminals, it does not allow anyone to ridicule them, and orders that those returning from the place of punishment be employed without discrimination. Why then single out Father Alfonsas Svarinskas for attack?
Moreover, Father Svarinskas' participation in the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights cannot be treated as a crime. They operated openly, wrote petitions to Soviet agencies, reporting where and exactly how religious believers are victims of discrimination. Everyone knows that religious believers are often insulted and mistreated. The Constitution grants the right of criticism, and provides penalties for the supression of such criticism.
The Regulations for Religious Associations are obsolete, contradicting the Constitution and international obligations of the USSR. Their requirements violate the conscience of the believer, the direct duties of the priest and Church law. An absolute majority of the priests in Lithuania have expressed in writing to the government of the USSR that they really cannot obey many of these regulations without shirking their duties and committing an offense against their Church. We think that laws ought to serve people, and keep in mind existing and tolerated Churches. When anyone heeding his conscience, does his duty and is penalized because of unjust laws, he feels he is right and even heroic.
Last year, we rejoiced at the return of our bishop, Vincentas Sladkevičius, to his duties after twenty-five years of completely meaningless isolation. This return seemed to more than one person to be a ray of light in our sky. Hence, Father Svarinskas' arrest unexpectedly shocked us all. Most of the priests in Lithuania could be accused the same way.
The international situation, public statements of the Soviet government to the world, and our good intention to be of service to people allows us to believe that we should be better treated.
We therefore request you to take steps that the criminal case being prepared against Alfonsas Svarinskas be terminated, and that this zealous priest of ours be allowed to work in freedom and in the Church, because there is a shortage of priests in Lithuania. All the more so because he still remains a priest, and will work everywhere, at all times. We believe that it is not Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, who spoke sensitively, inspirationally and openly about the present evils in our society, who is your enemy. There are people who do not work anywhere, work unconscientiously, live wrongly and disturb the peace and tranquility of life. It is for the straightening out and the education of such people that all of our efforts should be aimed.
We ask you to allow priests and faithful, without bothering them or interfering with them, to work with all people of good-will for the good of our whole society.
Priests of the Diocese of Kaišiadorys:
Bishop Vincentas Sladkevičius, Vaclovas Aliulis, Aleksandras Alkovickas, Juozapas Anusevičius, Antanas Araminas, Vladislovas
Avižienis, Alfonsas Ažubalis, Petras Budrauskas, Bronislovas Bulika Viktoras Vilius Cukuras, Juozapas Čeberiokas, Zigmantas Čerkas, Juozapas Dobrovolskis, Jonas Danyla.
Pranciškus Tenevičius, Petras Guobys, Zigmantas Gusteinis, Canon Jonas Jonys, Antanas Jurgilas, Jonas Katulis, Jonas Kaušyla, Česlovas Kavaliauskas, Ignotas Kavaliauskas, Jonas Kazlauskas, Canon Stanislovas Kiškis, Edvardas Kraujalis, Petras Kastytis Krikščiukaitis, Jonas Kuizinas.
Stanislovas Čupaila, Canon Petras Laskauskas, Aleksandras Leonavičius, Stanislovas Linda, Juozapas Lunius, Juozapas Ma-salskas, Juozapas Matulaitis, Ignotas Milašius, Hiliaras Misiūnas, Zenonas Navickas, Bronius Novelskis, Mikalojus Novickis.
Zigmantas Paulikas, Mykolas Marijonas, Petkevičius, Jonas Pilka, Vincentas Pinkevičius, Kazimieras Pivariūnas, Liudvikas Puzonas, Rokas Puzonas, Vytautas Sidaras, Leonas Smalinskas, Zigmantas Stančauskas, Stanislovas Stankevičius, Juozapas Stasiūnas, Vytautas Sudavičius.
Romualdas Šalčiūnas, Alfonsas Šatas, Albinas Šlikinis, Petras Šiugžda, Nikodemas Švogžlys, Jonas Tomkus, Kazimieras Trimonis, Petras Valatka, Pranciškus Venckus, Juozapas Voveris, Jonas Zubrus, Kazimieras Žilys, Jonas Žvinys.
To: Yuri Andropov, Secretary General of the Central Committee of the USSR
From: The Priests of the Diocese of Panevėžys
On January 27, 1983, the organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania, of the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR, and the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR, Tiesa printed a report that in the Office of the Attorney General of the Lithuanian SSR, a criminal case had been prepared against Alfonsas Svarinskas, and on January 26, 1983, in accordance with the law, Father Svarinskas had been indicted for anti-constitutional and anti-state activity.
It happened that not only was a case being brought, but Father Svarinskas, on January 26, was arrested in Raseiniai and taken to the Vilnius KGB prison. This painfully sad news spread quite v. idely, shaking priests and faithful, and causing disquiet.
Father Svarinskas' activities had been confined to the religious sphere. He had sought that believers might avail themselves of that which is declared and guaranteed by the basic law of the land, the Constitution, and signed by the government of the Soviet Union in international agreements. He is accused of ignoring the Regulations for Religious Associations. On their part, two bishops and 522 priests had officially stated to the government of the USSR that these regulations contradict Church law, and in ignoring the latter, the faithful priest's conscience is violated.
Father Svarinskas, a member of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, in speaking out against discrimination of believers, based himself on Par. 47 of the LSSR Constitution: "Every citizen of the Lithuanian SSR has the right to submit to state organs and to public organizations suggestions for the improvement of work, and the right to criticize short-comings in the work... It is forbidden to persecute anyone for such criticism. Individuals persecuted for criticism are liable to criminal prosecution."
Dissemination of the Faith by sermons and defense of the Faith is not anti-constitutional or anti-state activity. Father Svarinskas confined himself to that.
We ask the Soviet government to withdraw the case against Father Svarinskas, and to allow him to perform his priestly duties.
March 4, 1983
Priests of the Diocese of Panevėžys:
Petras Adomonis, Bronius Antanaitis,, Vincentas Arlauskas, Jonas Bagdonas, Juozas Bagdonas, Bronius Balaiša, Antanas Balaišis, Vytautas Balašauskas, Jonas Balčiūnas, Jurgis Balickaitis, Kostas Balsys. Petras Baltuška, Algis Baniulis, Kazimieras Baronas, Laimin-gas-Feliksas Blynas, Valdas Braukyla, Adolfas Breive, Petras Budriū-nas, Jonas Buliauskas, Jonas Butkus, Povilas Čiučkis.
Juozas Dubnikas, Kazimieras Dulksnys, Steponas Galvydis, Juozas Garška, Juozas Giedraitis, Kazimieras Girnius, Mykolas Gylys, Antanas Gobis, Alfonsas Gražys, Klemensas Gutauskas, Gau-dentas Ikamas, Tadas Ivanovskis, Alfonsas Jancys, Povilas Jankevičius, Juozas Janulis, Vytautas Jasiūnas, Jonas Jatulis, Jonas Juodelis, Antanas Juška.
Alfonsas Kedžius, Antanas Kairys, Vytautas Kapočius, Lionginas Keršulis, Petras Kiela, Antanas Kietis, Anicetas Kisielius, Povilas Klezys, Vladas Kremenskas, Stanislovas Krumpliauskas, Petras Kuzmickas,Jonas Labakojis, Jonas Lapinskas, Antanas Liesis, Juozas Lukšas, Leonas Lukšas.
Petras Markevičius, Vytautas Marozas, Aleksandras Masys, Vytautas Masys, Anttanas Mikulėnas, Povilas Miškinis, Antanas Mit-rikas, Kazimieras Mozūras, Jonas Nagulevičius, Algirdas Narušis Lionginas Neniškis, Petras Nykštas, Albinas Paltinavičius, Steponas Pelešynas, Antanas Petrauskas, Albinas Pipiras, Jonas Pranevičius, Augustinas Pranskietis, Robertas Pukenis, Izidorius Puriuškis.
Antanas Remeikis, Pranas Raščius, Jonas Rimša, Edmundas Rinkevičius, Pranas Sabaliauskas, Raimundas Saprigonas, Bronius Sim-sonas, Leonardas Skardinskas, Mykolas Stonys, Vincentas Stankevičius, Bronius Strazdas, Aloyzas Sungaila, Alfonsas Striel-čiūnas, Povilas Svirskis, Ignas Šiaučiūnas, Bronius Šlapelis, Povilas Šliauteris, Gediminas Šukys, Juozas Šumskis.
Albertas Talacka, Leonardas Tamošauskas, Stasys Tamulionis, Petras Tarulis, Vytautas Tvarijonas, Jonas Uogintas, Benediktas Urbonas, Sigitas Uždavinys, Jonas Vaičiūnas, Antanas Valančiūnas, Juozas Varnas, Povilas Varšinskas, Antanas Vaškevičius, Juozas Vaškevičius.
Vytautas Zakrys, Stasys Zubavičius, Antanas Zulonas, Bronius Žilinskas, Serafinas Žvinys.
Of 126 priests in the diocese, 117 signed, 4 refused to sign, 5 could not be contacted.
To: Yuri Andropov, Secretary General, CPSU From: The Priests of the Archdiocese of Kaunas
On January 26, 1983, on orders from the Office of the Attorney General of the Lithuanian SSR, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, Pastor of Viduklė was arrested. We, priests of the Archdiocese of Kaunas, are well acquainted with Father Svarinskas since for many years he has worked in the parish of Viduklė. We know him to be a zealous priest. He would courteously serve the faithful implementing the will of the Church, he zealously struggled against alcoholism, and always spoke only his convictions. The accusations against Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, that he is involved in anti-Soviet activities, are unfounded.
Father Svarinskas is accused of disregarding the Regulations for Religious Associations. At one time, two bishops and 522 priests officially expressed to the government of the USSR their contention that not one priest loyal to the Church would be able to obey those regulations, since they contradict Canon Law and are incompatible with the Constitution of the USSR. Hence, it is not only Father Svarinskas who disobeyed the Regulations for Religious Associations. They are also disregarded by all priests of Lithuania loyal to the Church, because by honoring them they would not act contrary to Church law and against their own consciences.
For example, a priest substituting for the pastor of a parish pledges to administer the parish conscientiously in spiritual and material matters, but the Regulations for Religious Associations demand that the priest be merely a minister of cult.
When the press wrote about Father Svarinskas, not one serious argument was proposed that his activities were anti-Soviet.
Father Svarinskas was incriminated for his activities in the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. What is the documents of the Catholic Committee can be anti-Soviet? The Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights raised in its documents only matters pertaining to the discrimination against the faithful.
We are deeply convinced that Father Alfonsas Svarinskas has been arrested just for his religious activities. Hence his case compromises the Soviet government in the eyes of the entire world.
We request that Father Alfonsas Svarinskas be released and his case dismissed.
Signed by priests of the Archdiocese of Kaunas:
Bishop J. Steponavičius, S. Pilka, L. Kalinauskas, J. Survila, R. Mizaras, V. Brusokas, J. Užkuraitis, M. Dobravolskis, A. Imbras, P. Matulaitis, A. Počiulpis, B. Jakubauskas, J. Preinas, V. Ramanauskas, M. Buožius, V. Šauklys, P. Meilus, Z. Grinevičius, R. Macevičius, P. Pranckūnas, L. Semaška, J. Razmantas, V. Griganavi-čius.
A. Petraitis, A. Markaitis, P. Žiugžda, K. Paslaikas, K. Dak-nevičius, L. Vaičiulionis, J. Maleckis, V. Radzevičius, J. Aleksiū-nas, K. Sirūnas, B. Nemeikšis, P. Ščepavičius, A. Jakubauskas, J. Vaicekauskas, B. Gimžauskas,, K. Jakaitis, P. Petraitis, B. Gaižutis, K. Dambrauskas, P. Mikutis, P. Bubnys, V. Brilius, Iz. Butkus.
V. Valavičius, J. Raudonikis, J. Račaitis, F. Baliūnas, S. Kadys, A. Ylius, V. Luzgauskas, J. Dobilaitis, G. Gudanavičius, L. Jagminas, V. Tamoševičius, B. Stasuitis, A. Vanagas,, V. Pranskietis, A. Slavinskas, P. Mačiuta, J. Fabijanskas, E. Bartulis, J. Indriūnas, J. Babonas, A. Bulotas, P. Martinkus, A. Lileika, A. Jurgutis, K. Stankevičius.
A. Lapė, Z. Veselka, A. Ramanauskas, R. Liukas, J. Želvys, J. Matulevičius, B. Povilanskis, J. Katinas, P. Gaižauskas, P. Tavorai-tis, P. Kazlauskas, B. Vairą, P. Bastys, J. Kaknevičius, A. Dany-la, J. Tamonis, J. Girdzevičius, S. Gruodis, P. Liubonas, A. Močius, J. Voveris, J. Vaičeliūnas, J. Albavičius, E. Semaška, G. Dunda, J. Povilaitis, V. Petkevičius, J. Kazlauskas.
To: The Prosecutor of the Lithuanian SSR.
Copies to: Bishop L. Povilonis, Aposttolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Kaunas and the Diocese of Vilkaviškis.
From: The Parish Committee of Kybartai.
It will soon be two months that the pastor of our parish, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, has been held in the KGB isolation prison. The faithful of the parish of Kybartai are patiently waiting for his return. We are convinced that he has not committed any crime. It is already nearly eight years that we know him as an energetic, upright and sincere man. For seven years, we have listened to his sermons and have not heard him libel anyone, or urge changing the present political and economic system. We have never heard our pastor urging us not to abide by the Constitution.
He has exhorted us to respect other people, called for conscientiousness at work, has been dead set against loafing and drunkenness and against taking other people's property.
He has encouraged young people to study hard and honor their parents, teachers and elders. We ask the Attorney General to consider our petition and to arrange matters so that our pastor, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, would be released without delay.
June 30, 1983
Members of the Kybartai Church Committee
(Mrs.) O. Griškaitienė, (Miss) B. Siaurusaitytė, (Mrs.) N. Mačiu-laitienė, (Mr.) S.Kroelskas, (Mr.) T. Ferensas, (Mrs.) E. Men-činskienė, (Mr.) Katkevičius, (Mr.) V. Paulauskas, (Mr.) M. Ašmonas, (Mr.) A. Bilickas, (Mr.) M. Sabaliauskas, (Mr.) K. Abraitis, (Mrs.) M. Mališkienė, (Mr.) J. Samuolis, (Miss) D. Abraitytė, (Mr.) V. Urbonas, (Mrs.) G. Želvienė, (Mr.) Tutlys, (Miss) T. Basanavičiūtė.
Throughout Lithuania, signatures have been and are being collected for the release of Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas
A commemorative card issued clandestinely in Lithuania in honor of Father Sigitas Tamkevi-čius. The caption reads: "Father Sigitas Tamkevi-čius. Born 1938 in the Village of Gudoniai in the District of Alytus. Ordained in 1962 by Bishop P. Maželis. Arrested May 6, 1983, at the trial of Father A. Svarinskas in Vilnius."
Tamkevičius. Signing the protest against the arrest of Father Svarinskas were the faithful of the below named parishes:
Pajūris — 43 Pievėnai — 48
Šatės — 511 Skaudvilė — 177
Šilalė — 257 Klaipėda — 1709
Below we present the texts of petitions and protests under which signatures are being solicited in Lithuania on account of the arrest of Father Sigitas Tamkevičius and the sentencing of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas to a long term in camp and exile, and being sent to CPSU Secretary General Yuri Andropov and other high government agencies.
On May 6, 1983, the sad news reached us faithful that during the trial of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, a criminal complaint was brought against Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, pastor of the parish of Kybartai and member of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights.
Father Tamkevičius is one of the best priests in Lithuania and the accusation against him of anti-state and anti-constitutional activities is unjust.
We consider the arrests of Lithuanian priests as a persecution of us faithful. After all, we grow the bread and work in the factories — the state depends on us.
We demand that Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, who has been sentenced, and Father Sigitas Tamkevičius , who has been arrested, be released.
On May 6, 1983, the painful news reached us faithful of Lithuania that Father Alfonsas Svarinskas had been sentenced to seven years of camp and three years of exile. As if that were not enough, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius had been arrested. A criminal case had been brought against him because he was a good and zealous priest of the Catholic Church.
What does all this mean? How long will the faithful be ridiculed and discriminated against? Surely, this is not your response to the request of 5,000 Lithuanian faithful for the release of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, who was arrested, althouth innocent.
Currently in Lithuania, over 150 parishes have no priests. Recently, two priests were arrested: Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius. All of this arouses great concern among us faithful. There are many places where the religious needs of the faithful can no longer be fully satisfied.
We cannot understand why these priests have been arrested and are being tried. We have heard their sermons, or statements by the Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. They do not say one word against the state or against the system.
Our press, in describing the trial of Father Svarinskas, did not indicate a single crime against the state or its system for which this priest has been sentenced. It speaks in generalities: "anti-constitutional, anti-Soviet activity, libel". But what the activity was, they do not say.
Those priests in their statements merely defended the rights of believers, publicized facts showing discrimination against the faithful in various areas of life and publicized the arbitrariness of the atheists, infringing on the rights and feelings of the faithful. The publicizing of these facts cannot be treated as a libel against the state and its system.
You said in your speech of June 15, 1983, "In our country, everyone has equal rights and equal duties to society." (Tiesa, June 16, 1983, No. 138).
CPSU Secretary K. Chernenka, in his speech of June 14, 1983, stated, "Everyone knows that our Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience. Communists are dedicated atheists, but do not force their views on anybody. Our method is education, argumentation and propaganda. (Tiesa, June 14, 1983, No. 137).
Well said, but in practice it is different. In all the schools of Lithuania, pupils are required to choose: If you go to church, you will not be a member of the Communist Youth League — and thus an atheist — so you shall not get into any institution of higher learning. Is this not discrimination and the force-feeding of atheism? AnH since the priests publicize these and similar cases of discrimination against the faithful, they are accused of libel against the state and its system, of anti-constitutional activities, arrested and tried.
We ask you as the leader of the state to do everything to see that discrimination against the faithful cease and that the priests arrested for accurate criticism — Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius — be released.
Having read in the May 7th edition oi'Tiesa the report that Father Sigitas Tamkevičius is to be subjected to a criminal trial on the basis of Par. 68.1 of the LSSR Criminal Code, we are greatly scandalized.
Such an accusation by the Supreme Court of the LSSR, we consider unjust. Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, like Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, is one of the most zealous priests of our nation.
In his sermons, he has defended the authority of the Church and the state, he has preached temperance, a conscientious attitude of people toward work, youthful development in virtue and obedience to commandments of God and the Church.
His arrest is one more attack against the Catholic Church of Lithuania and its most zealous priests.
Honorable Attorney General, even though the Soviet government has given no consideration to the witness of45,000 believers that Father Svarinskas was unjustly taken to criminal court, we demand in protest that the priests being unjustly punished — Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius — be released, and we ask that priests zealously doing their duty not be penalized.
We, who with our calloused hands earn bread for all those in power, demand that freedom of religion be allowed.
Signing the statements and protests were:
Dotnuva — 136, Vidiškiai — 170, Dūkštas —448, Imbradas —86, Veisėjai — 475, Kirdeikiai — 161, Sintautai — 110, Skirsnemunė — 50, Santaika — 571, Meteliai — 618, Seirijai — 371, Vištytis - 145, Viešvienai — 89, Paringys — 1559, Girdžiai — 279, Raseiniai — 636, Balbieriškis —406, Prienai rayon — 1020, Kėdainiai -1142, Anykščiai, — 415, Utena — 828, Druskininkai — 453, Prienai — 2996. Šakiai — 1717, Kybartai — 1145, Pociūnėliai — 76, Spitrėnai - 42, Užpaliai — 454, Salakas — 136, Leipalingis — 351, Virbalis - 128, Vilkaviškis — 1149, Gižai — 87, Riečiai — 35, Krosna — 419, Liubavas — 474, Pilviškiai — 335, Butrimonys — 341, Šimkaičiai — 139, Gražiškiai — 535, Bartininkai — 604, Vilnius — 1024, Šiauliai — 1255, Ukmergė — 489, Zarasai — 522, Biržai - 2345, Telšiai — 1007.
Garliava — 317, Rudamina — 224, Leliūnai — 218, Smalvos _ 78, Skudutiškės — 325, Kapčiamiestis — 754, Kudirkos Naumiestis — 357, Jurbarkas — 479, Simnas — 627, Igliauka — 161, Gudeliai — 85, Šeštokai — 163, Leckava — 31, Punia — 268, Jonava — 406, Pajevonys — 1705, Griškabūdis — 227, Kaunas 7324, Lazdijai — 1848 Molėtai — 212, Panevėžys — 2672, Mažeikiai — 671, Žagarė — 270, Alytus I, II — 1098.