We sincerely thank the Baltic American Freedom League for the award conferred on us! It is a mark of appreciation for the efforts, struggles and sufferings of our whole nation, and at the same time, an incentive to harder work and greater sacrifice.
We thank all our brothers and sisters abroad who support our efforts by prayer, by the word and other possible means.
May the good God reward you!
K r e t i n g a
On February 19, 1986, Petras Paulaitis, a former long-term prisoner, a fierce fighter and noble human being, died in Kretinga after a long illness. The deceased was interred in the cemetery of Kretinga.
V i l n i u s
On December 20, 1985, the bishops and administrators of dioceses of Lithuania were summoned to the office of the Commissioner for Religious Affairs. Commissioner Petras Anillonis and Vice Chairman Česnavičius of the Council of Ministers spoke to them. In the beginning of his lecture, Anillonis berated the bishops and the administrators because the contents of his last talk got abroad... The Commissioner reminded everyone that it is necessary to see that the 600-year Jubilee of the Baptism of Lithuania would go by as well as, in his opinion, the jubilee of Saint Casimir.
He accused the jubilee committee, under the chairmanship of Bishop Preikšas, which applied to the government of Lithuania with a request that on the occasion of the jubilee, the Cathedral of Vilnius, the Church of Saint Casimir and Queen of Peace Church in Klaipėda be returned. These requests will not be satisfied. For the Jubilee, Vilnius will surely have a bishop or even a cardinal! Whatever church he chooses as his residence will be the cathedral, the Commissioner stated. As for the return of the Church of Saint Casimir, Anilionis advised them to name any other church in Vilnius for Saint Casimir. "The Church of Klaipėda will never be returned, so put an addition on to the existing church," said the Commissioner.
Anilionis advised the bishops not to write to government agencies... As a bad example, he cited the pastor of the parish of 2agarė, Father Gustavas Gudanavičius. "After he had written his libelous letter to Mikhail Gorbachev, I went to 2agarė and explained matters for two hours, x Gudanavičius, Fathe Gustavas However, returning home, I received a new letter from Father Gudanavičius in the same tone. Such extremists must eventually be straightened out," the Commissioner railed.
Vice Chairman Česnavičius of the Council of Ministers explained to the bishops and to the administrators of dioceses the economic attainments of the country, not overlooking Church matters. He stated that the bishops were responsible for the arrests of Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius. If the bishops themselves has checked these priests in time, they would not be sitting in prison now, Vice Chairman Česnavlčius said. The speaker urged the bishops and administrators "to employ firmer discipline with the extremists still at large."
"It is libelous," affirmed Česnavičius, "to say that the government interferes in seminary matters. After all, you yourselves set up the seminary rule and curriculum. We do not interfere in marking examinations, but we have not only the right but the duty to see that there be no persons among the seminarians or instructors inclined to be ant i-Soviet. It is libel to say that the government interferes in the appointments of bishops and priests. You appoint them, we just confirm and register them; obviously we have the right not to register appointments which do not serve the socialist system," Česnavičius continued.
Regarding a visit by the Holy Father to Lithuania, it was explained that this does not fall within the competance of the bishops or the government of Lithuania. This is a matter between Moscow and the Vatican, and they do not have diplomatic ties... "Is it possible to invite the man to the Soviet Union," the speaker lectured, "who has called Communism and the socialist system the shame of the 20th Century, and has received in audience that infamous anti-Soviet Jewess, the wife of Sakharov?"
After the lecture, bishops and administrators of the dioceses were driven to a film studio where they were shown a new documentary film concerning the so-called freedom of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. The film consists of various church ceremonies in which the bishops of Lithuania took part. It is clearly intended for propaganda abroad. Occasional holiday festivities fail to disguise the painful day-to-day reality of the persecuted Church.
To: The Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Kaunas
and of the Diocese of Vilkaviškis, Archbishop Liudvikas Povilonis Copies to: The Chairmen of the Executive Committees of the
Lazdijai, Jonava and Kėdainiai Rayons From: The Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Petras Anilionis
We would like to announce to you that the pastor of the religious community (parish - Tran. Note) of Kapčiamiestis, the Reverend Ignas Plioraitis; the pastor of Panoteriai, the Reverend V. K. Pesliakas and the pastor of Josvainiai, the Reverend L. Kalikauskas, are preventing believers from signing the 1968 Model Contract with Rayon Executive Committees Regarding the use of Houses of Prayer and the Inventories of Objects of Cult Contained Therein . We remind you that in the entire republic, only the aforesaid three communities remain without signed contracts.
We ask you to influence the Reverends Plioraitis, Pesliakas and Kalikauskas not to interfere in the economic affairs of the religious community, and not to pose obstacles to the believers' signing a contract no later than February 1 inst.
Otherwise, the Office of the Commissioner for Religious Affairs, in accordance with the law, will give its approval to the Executive Committees of Lazdijai, Jonava and Kėdainiai to use the houses of prayer of the religious associations of Kapčiamiestis, Panoteriai and Josvainiai for other purposes.
Moreover, we wish to announce that in the future, we wi 11 not certify ministers for the religious associations of Kapčiamiestis, Panoteriai and Josvainiai since these parishes will not have any house of prayer.
We await your decision.
To: Archbishop Liudvikas Povilonis, Diocese of Vilkaviškis Petras Anilionis, Commissioner for Religious Affairs
From: The Faithful of the Kapčiamiestis parish
...According to the Regulations for Religious Associat ions, confirmed by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the LSSR, July 28, 1976, the faithful are deprived of freedom of conscience, the atheists are crassly Interfering in the internal affairs of the Church, and Article 52 of the Constitution is being contravened.
Here we mention only a few articles of the Regulations for Religious Associations which are unacceptable to us, the faithful:
Art. 1-3 speaks of believing citizens, members of a religious association, who have reached eighteen years of age. According to this article, those under the age of eighteen are not part of the religious association and cannot take part in services. This means that our children cannot pray. This article is wrecking the families of us believers. Why are atheists allowed to conduct organized atheistic education without waiting for children to reach the age of eighteen?
Art. 2-18: "The teaching of religion is allowed only in spiritual schools (seminaries -- Tran. Note)." Question: Where in Kapčiamiestis is there such a school where our children could learn the truths of religion? Since there is no such school here, and it is forbidden to learn the truths of religion elsewhere, we, the faithful understand that this article takes away freedom of conscience from us.
Art. 3-19: "The locale of the activity of ministers of cult is restricted..." We the faithful understand that the activities of the clergy are regulated by the bishop and not by the faithful, all the less by atheists.
Art. 4,22-25: "...property contributed by believers for cult requirements belongs to the state." We the faithful, making an offering to the Church, have no intention of giving it to the state or to government atheists. This assignment of property is mentioned in Art. 34, where the donations made by the faithful are siphoned off into the coffers of the atheists. This is robbery of the faithful.
Art. 5,30-44: Twelve whole articles are devoted to speaking about and at the same time threating us, the faithful, saying that the church can be closed, that the priest and the parish executive committee can be indicted, and that our priest can be taken away from us. This is an infringement of religious freedom. A decision in such a case can be made only by the spiritual leadership together with the faithful.
At the end of October, 1985, Chairwoman Mrs. Elvira Garbenčienė of the Executive Committee of the District of Kapčiamiestis, summoned our pastor Father Ignas Plioraitis, Chairman Bronius Midlauskas of the parish executive committee and the secretary, Mrs. Janina Margelienė. In the presence of a witness. Secretary Veronika Stravinskienė, of the District of Kapčiamiestis, acquainted him with a communication from Petras Anilionis, Commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs:
The Commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs Attached to the Council of Ministers of the USSR
To: The Executive Organ of the Kapčiamiestis Religious Association: Bronius Miliauskas, Petro; Genė Lazauskienė, Vinco; Antanas Mikolonis, Mato.
It has been determined that the organ of the Catholic community of Kapčiamiestis, regardless of repeated urgings by the local government, has not put together a group of parish incorporators (a group of twenty) to sign a contract according to the new model with the Executive Committee of the Rayon for the use, without charge, of the house of prayer and of the inventory therein for cult needs, and articles of artistic or cultural value.
I demand that the executive organ of the Kapčiamiestis community enter into a contract with the Executive Committee of the Rayon of Lazdijai by November 1 of the current year for the use of the house of prayer. I warn the members of the executive organ that if the contract is not signed, the religious community's registration is liable to suspension, and the church, because it being used without a contract, to closure.
(Seal) Commissioner for the Council
(Signed) P. Anilionis
Not one of the parishioners mentioned acknowledged the warning in writing. In view of the situation, after the final warning, we the faithful of the parish of Kapčiamiestis, are forced to sign contract forms since the church is liable to be closed and the priest removed from our par ish.
In the event of any inspection of the church, no fewer than five persons from among the faithful agree to participate along with the government representatives.
Kapčiamiestis, January 1986 Signatures of the faithful:
(Signed by 103 faithful of the parish of Kapčiamiestis)
The underground Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights has issued Document No. 7, addressed to a priest of Lithuania whose activities and views have begun to coincide too suspiciously often with ideas being urged by the KGB. The purpose of the document is to ask him to think it over and not to demean or condemn the priest himself. It is human to err, but to remain in error...
God grant that all those whom the KGB is trying to deceive would be wise and not allow themselves to be mislead by trickery. We ask you not to forget this intention in your prayers.
Not long ago, all diocesan chanceries received a communication from the Chairman of the Liturgical Commission of Lithuania, the Rev. V. AI iulis, as follows:
"We have been informed that in government publications, instances of repression during the era of the so-called cult of personality must not be mentioned in biographies or necrologies. Thus, In the obituary of a priest who was Imprisoned, say from 1949 until 1957, one must write: "...Until 1949, he was pastor of ... From 1957, began working as an emeritus, etc.,
and the period from 1949 must not be mentioned.
"See there! In a priest's obituary, one must not mention a whole period of years, the most fruitful years of priestly life. Why? Perhaps so that everyone would think that during those years the priest had abandoned the priesthood? Or in order to contribute to the further distortion of our nation's history?
"One preacher at a priest's funeral, instead of saying outright that the deceased had suffered in prison camp, expressed it by saying that he had a compulsory vacation. The faithful were scandalized and the preacher was criticized not only by the clergy, but by the faithful themselves."
Commissioner Petras Anilionis of the Council for Religious Affairs is crudely interfering in clergy appointments. The chancery of the Diocese of Vilkaviškis wanted to appoint as pastor of the parish of Rudamina, in place of Father Juozas Zdebskis who had been killed, Father Jonas Gražulis, and after him, Father Petras Dumbliauskas. The Commissioner stated that these priests cannot be pastors of Rudamina, because if they were in Rudamina, he is convinced that miracles would begin taking place at the grave of Father Zdebskis, and Father Zdebskis would be proclaimed a saint.
Another list of appointments was drawn up and submitted, and it was suggested that Father Gražulis be appointed as pastor of Meteliai, but Anilionis' office protested this time, too, saying that by being pastor of Meteliai, he would be near his brother, Antanas Gražulis, who might be a "bad" influence on him, and make him into an extremist.
To: General Secretary of the Central Committee of the
Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev Copies to: The Bishops and Diocesan Administrators of Lithuania Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Petras Anilionis Executive Committee of the City of Alytus
From: Father Antanas Gražulis residing at: Lietuvoje, Alytaus m. Pušyno 6
For three years now, the Executive Committee of the City of Alytus has been punishing me with a fine.
On January 5, 1984, the Administrative Commission, made up of Chairwoman Mrs. B. Butviniené, Secretary Mrs. Lėlienê, and members Mrs. Petraitienè and Mrs. Emičiené, penalized me in accord with the decision of the Alytus City Council, March 24, 1982, with a fine of 10 rubles because, "On December 28, 1983, at about 7:30 P.M., in the churchyard, I broadcast services over a loudspeaker, and so disturbed the peace for residents of the neighborhood."
I have never had occasion to hear of an official public law forbidding the broadcasting of services over a loudspeaker. After all, loudspeakers are publicly used on Soviet holidays; e.g., At New Year's in Alytus, the broadcasting over the public address system is so loud in the streets that it even interferes with services inside the church. Every Saturday and Sunday, the sound emanates from the Nemunas Restaurant until 1:00 AM, disturbing sleep, but for this no one is punished. Is this not discrimination?
On February 14, 1985, that same Administrative Committee of the City of Alytus, in accordance with Resolution 124, fined me 50 rubles for organizing a Christmas party for pre-school children in the churchyard of Alytus, December 18, 1984 (actually, the 26). By doing so, I allegedly caused a disturbance, I disturbed the peace, thereby transgressing the May 12, 1966 Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
The Christmas party was organized not just for children of pre-school age, but also for their parents. Santa Claus greeted all the participants in the services, adults and children alike. The disturbance was caused, so the people said, by the teenagers of unbelieving parents.
On January 16, 1986, the Administrative Commission, consisting of Chairman A. Afanov, Vice Chairman G. Čepas, Secretary Léliené, and member Mrs. J. Smečienė, in accordance with Resolution No. 65, penalized me with 50-ruble fine. The reason: On the wall of the house of prayer, was hung an illuminated cross, and next to it, an illumination with the legend, "Merry Christmas", and a curtain with a picture of the Castle of Trakai.
After the sermon, small religious pictures were distributed to the children. In this way, Par. 214 of the Code of Misdemeanors of the LSSR was violated.
The Administrâtive Commission thinks that an illuminated Christmas tree, a crucifix, a banner, a sermon and a curtain on which a picture of the Castle of Trakai was drawn has no tie with the performance of cult. The 1985 Edition of the Dictionary of International Words defines the word "cult" as follows: " ...adoration, religious act ions... hymns."
Hence, religious cult is the worship of God, and the illuminated cross, the greeting, the sermon (which by the way, I did not preach), the hymns of the faithful and little religious pictures -- are these not ways of worshipping God? And how to worship God in the church and in the churchyard is determined not by the Executive Committee, but by the spiritual leadership.
Our church is tiny, and on the solemn feasts, many people do not get in. Hence, It Is necessary to set up the churchyard for the celebration.
The services were attended by a mixed audience, that is, not only by children, but also by their parents. Here, they all prayed according to Christmas tradition and they were all greeted by Santa Claus.
The Soviet school has begun to imitate the religious traditions of the Christmas tree and Santa Claus. They moved the Christmas party to New Year's Day, and renamed Santa Claus "Father Frost". Hence, no one of sound mind and no law can consider a Christmas party with the tradition of Santa Claus as a criminal offense. If this tradition is bad, and punishable, then why has the Soviet government laid claim to it?
Do such attacks and punishments not compromise the officials themselves? In what other state are people punished for such innocent things?
... I request that you revoke the fine designated and see to it that officials would not repeat such irregularities which compromise them. Alytus, January 30, 1986
Ūdrija (Alytus Rayon)
Last summer, for teaching children catechism, the Reverend Vytautas Insoda, pastor of Ūdrija, was fined 50 rubles.
Tytuvėnai (Kelmė Rayon)
On August 21, 1985, classmates who had finished the Kaunas Theological Seminary in 1948, came to the church in Tytuvėnai, where Canon Liudvikas Semaška works. Many of the faithful participated in the solemn services, among them no small number of youth. After the solemnities, the youth greeted the priests and presented them with flowers. All this was photographed. After services, a KGB agent hurried to the photographer's side, confiscated his camera, exposed the film, and after warning them not to take any more pictures, he withdrew.
Balbieriškis (Alytus Rayon)
In October, 1985, In the church of Balbieriškis, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Msgr. Mykolas Krupavičius, his friends and relatives requested a Mass. Father Juozas Berteška, pastor of Balbieriškis, offered it and delivered the sermon. The authorities considered it a great crime. Mass must not be offered for Msgr. Krupavičius, since it seems according to officials, that he was an ant i-Soviet. For this "crime", Father Berteška was reprimanded by the author i t ies.
On March 18, 1986, Rayon parish church committees were summoned to the Executive Corrmittee of the Širvintai Rayon . For two and a half hours, Corrmissioner Petras Ani I ionis interpreted for those assembled material from the XXVII Party Congress, emphasizing complete freedom of religion. When believers asked whether they are allowed to organize May devotions in vi Ilages wi thout a priest, the Commissioner sternly objected to it. Moreover, the lecturer scolded those assembled for All Souls' processions to cemeteries, and mentioned as an example the parish of Kiaukliai, whose pastor, Father Rokas Puzonas, was fined 50 rubles for a procession to the cemetery, while the pastor of the parish of Čiobiškis, Father Kastytis Krikščiukaitis, was punished with a 30-ruble fine.
On January 15, 1986, Father Albinas Graužinas, and the pastor of the Carmelite parish of the Holy Cross, Father Kazimieras Statkevičius, were summoned before Vice Chairman Kazakavičius of the Kaunas City Executive Committee. The Vice Chairman accused the priests of harboring extremists, of allowing various youth gatherings to take place in the churches, etc. The Vice Chairman angrily called the Santa Claus holiday organized in churches December 29, 1985, an ant i-Soviet spectacle. The pastors explained that the parish faithful gathered with their children at the Christmas trees set up in the churches... and what is a Christmas tree without Santa Claus? As with every Christmas tree, so here. The children recited verses. Kazakavičius demanded that the pastors forbid extremists to show themselves in church (as an example, he mentioned Miss A. Raižytė), not to allow youth to assemble, and not to organize any shows. The pastor of Petrašiūnai, Father Graužinas, explained that Miss A. Raižytė works in church doing her job well.
The Vice Chairman became angry. "We know how she works," shouted Kazakevičius, "let her clean the church and do what she is supposed to do, and not organize ant i-Soviet shows on various occasions, or organize young people!"
The Vice Chairman reminded the pastor about the Easter procession the previous year, in which girl adorers decked out in green, yellow and red dresses carried ribbons, for which the pastor was summoned in the Spring to see Vice Chairwoman Mrs. Bužinskinienė of Kaunas, in the Panemunė Rayon , and Commissioner Petras Anilionis of the Council for Religious Affairs.
On March 20, 1986, the Commissioner for Religious Affairs came to Šiauliai and "instructed" the Committees of Twenty of the Šiauliai City and Rayon religious associations. (Parishes -- Trans. Note) Anilionis explained the decisions of the Communist Party Congress in which the complete equality of believers with the atheists is emphasized. No one has the right to persecute or condemn individuals for their beliefs. No one has the right to enter in on documents or certificates that they are believers. "This is a matter of each one's conscience," explained the Commissioner. He even read a few lines from the Constitution, by which citizens' freedom of conscience is guaranteed.
Parades are allowed only at song festivals, May 1, on Revolution Day, but by no means to Šiluva, since there, the purpose is bad, to overthrow the Soviet system.
The lecturer severely condemned the arrested priests and, in his words, other extremists, who under cover of religion slander Soviet reality. He also related that In 1985, 30 churches In Lithuania were burglarized but the culprits were all apprehended and punished, thanks to Soviet officials.
The Commissioner was glad that churches in the City of Šiauliai had not been burglarized. At the end of his talk, he Invited questions. Standing up in the hall, Juozas Šileikis said that it was not true that criminals had not broken into churches in Šiauliai. "It occurs quite frequently. Last winter, too, they had broken in, even breaking several door locks, only they had been unable to open the doors, so they broke the windows, vandalized mosaics and, with the aid of ropes, let themselves down Inside. However, they did not run rampant for long. Breaking into the tabernacle, they set off an alarm, and they had to flee, leaving behind not only their booty, which they had all prepared, but also their burglars' tools, a special sack and ropes on the windows. Here, no one goes after such criminals, and if the faithful themselves apprehend them and bring them to the militia, even then, no one punishes them," said Šileikis.
A few years ago, in the Church of SS. Peter and Paul in Šiauliai, church employees noticed a woman of Russian nationality on the altar, looking around for something worthwhile to steal. The aforesaid "visitor" was taken to the militia. The Soviet officials merely required the thief to apologize to the pastor. And so it all ended!
On another occasion, in daylight, four young men collected whatever rugs pleased them. In the churchyard, they were spotted by church employees, and one of them was apprehended. Frightened, he gave away the others. Everything was reported to the militia. Church employees had to go to the militia many times, until finally it was explained to them that the aforesaid young men had done nothing, had committed no crime -- they had been acting on atheistic principles.
Šileikis further protested that it was not true that it is not noted in documents that one is a believer. "I would gladly agree to have a notation in my passport that I am a Catholic... All three of my children attending Middle School V have it entered in their records that they are believers, indeed fanatical believers, while in the record of my daughter Vita, the entire family is described: 'The girl is deeply believing, the entire family adheres strongly to its religious obligations and the father boasts of it publicly. Private talks and education have not produced any results.'"
Šileikis' speech did not please the Commissioner, especially since he had mentioned the woman of Russian nationality.
Moreover, the Commissioner was annoyed with Mečislovas Jurevičius who, according to him, had blood on his hands and after serving twenty-five years, had not mended his ways, and had led the procession in
Meškuičiai (to the Hill of Crosses), and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Mosėdis (Skuodas Rayon)
On the night of December 30-31, 1985, some statuettes were stolen from the gates of/the churchyard of Mosėdis: Saint Michael the Archangel, highly prized by The faithful, and Saint Florian. The thieves brought a ladder and, taking the statuettes, left it at the gate. Even though the statuettes are protected by the state as artistic monuments, nevertheless, the government is not looking for them very hard.
At the same time, other shrines of Samogitia were despoiled.
Musninkai (Širvintai Rayon)
On February 15, 1986, the funeral of Leonas Sadzevičius, a resident of the Village of Paširvintai, was being held in the Musninkai parish church. The daughter of the deceased, Dr. Raudeliūnienė, works in the Širvintai Rayon Hospital as Directress of the LOR Section. The Rayon Party Secretary warned Dr. Raudeilūnienė not to go to church for her father's funeral, or else she should resign.
Skaudvilė (Taurage Rayon)
On February 21, 1986, Father Stanislovas Sakutis died. The priest was waked in church, where daily crowds of people gathered, especially in the evening. In an effort to interfere with the participation of the faithful in the services, on Sunday, February 23, a district family holiday was organized. However, the church was full of people nevertheless.
On Sunday, the faithful of Adakavas decided to sing the "The Hills" (Traditional services at outdoor shrines -- Trans. Note). That evening, the government announced a free concert for the citizens of Adakavas, to be held in the House of Culture. Free buses transported people to the concert. The faithful used the opportunity to travel to Skaudvile, but they went... to church, and the hall where the concert was supposed to take place was empty.
February 25, the day of the funeral, the Vaidiliai soviet farm obliged all those working to sign a promise to attend a meeting regarding accounting for the farm. A bus transported people, but the people went to church this time, too. In school, pupils were warned that for taking part in a priest's funeral, they would pay dearly. To the more zealous church attendees, the teachers whispered, "Come to school in the morning and check in, and later, after a class or two, unnoticed by anyone, you can go to the funeral."
But when the pupils assembled, the school became a prison. The pupils' books were locked up, teachers guarded the exits and schoolchildren were herded into the auditorium for a meeting. Ordinarily, during the intermission, schoolchildren run off to stores, but that day, no one was able to leave. In spite of all measures, great crowds of the faithful participated in the funeral.
After the funeral, Chairwoman Bernikiené of the Executive Committee, sent reports to high levels concerning participants at the funeral.
Kiaukliai (Širvintai Rayon)
On November 18, 1985, members of the Kiaukliai church committee: Stasys Andrikonis, Vytautas Nusevičius, Stasys Markauskas, Juozas Mackela and Vaclovas Dijokas were summoned to the Širvintai Rayon Executive Committee. They were received by Kizas, a representative of the Council for Religious Affairs. With him was an unknown official. Kizas was annoyed at everything: a procession to the cemetery, catechizing of children, a sermon in which the priest-prisoners were mentioned. The members of the conrmit tee courageously defended their pastor, explaining that the All Souls' procession did not bother anyone, and as for the ringing of the bells which allegedly Interfered with the children's lessons, a greater disturbance was caused by trucks especially sent with gravel behind the procession of the faithful. Going to the cemetery is a parish tradition of many years' standing, and the faithful demanded that the pastor come along. At the same time, the parishioners rejoiced that their pastor, Father Rokas Puzonas, was very good to them: He treated all parishioners equally, helped wherever he could, and the accusations of the authorities were unfounded, vain tantrums.
The government representative dared to lie, saying that their parish alone of all the parishes in Lithuania organized an All Souls' procession. He calumniated the imprisoned priests, claiming that they had urged from the pulpits the shooting of Communists.
On November 22, parish committee members sent the Commissioner for Religious Affairs and the editors of the Peasants' Newspaper a complaint about the interrupted All Souls' procession. The protest was signed by fifty-seven persons.
On December 25, the parish committee received Petras Anilionis' reply, that their complaint had been forwarded to the Širvintai Rayon tor consideration. The Peasants' Newspaper for December replied to the people of Kiaukliai with an article entitled "From Unpublished Letters", accusing the leaders of the Catholic Community and Father Puzonas of transgressing the Regulations for Religious Assoc i at ions .
On December 18, District Chairman Vladas Karaliūnas, presented himself at the parish rectory with a few staff members and read a document from teachers of the Kiaukliai Elementary School, requesting him to forbid the pastor to ring the bells on work days between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Allegedly, it interfered with lessons. The pastor explained that there was no possibility of scheduling funerals for another time. Chairman wrote up a report concerning the All Souls' procesión.
On December 25, 1985, the first day of Christmas, Father Puzonas was summoned to the rayon where his case was up for deliberation. The priest did not go to the rayon and some members of the church committee who went paid a 10 ruble fine for the All Souls' procession.