On October 19,1979, Vladas Lapienis will complete his sentence in a strict regime labor camp and is expected to begin his exile.
In 1979 the Soviet government allowed twenty candidates to enroll in the Kaunas Theological Seminary. All applicants were subjected to an intensive campaign to recruit them into working as KCB agents. The announcement listing the names of those who were being permitted to study at the seminary was released in mid August.
The following were admitted to the seminary: Josif Ashkelovich, Jonas Baltrušaitis, Henrikas Bernotavičiuss, Modestas Čalkūnas, Medardas Čeponis, Antanas Garmus, Gintautas Jankauskas, Sigitas Jurčys, Petras Linkevičius, Juozas Marčiulionis, Lukian Radomskij, Jonas Sabaliauskas, Aurelijus Simonaitis, Jonas Skirelis, Stasys Stankūnas, Remigijus Šulinskas, Bronius Tamelis, Juozas Vertas, Vytautas Žvirgždinas, and Kazimieras Danyla.
The following were barred from the seminary this year by the Council for Religious Affairs and the KGB: Kazys Gražulis (Miroslavas parish), Vytas Kaknevičius (Sangrūda parish), Julius Sasnauskas (St. Michael's parish, Vilnius), Vladas Baliūnas (Pasvalys parish), Gintas Gurkis (Vilkaviškis parish), Algis Šaltis (Kaunas), Saulius Kelpša (Garliava parish), and Aleksandras Hofmann (Vilnius).
N. B. The Chronicle is giving an incomplete list of candidates rejected by the government.
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On April 18, 1979, the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights sent documentation of the violation of children's rights in the Lithuanian SSR to UNESCO (see The Chronicle, no. 38). This document has been signed additionally by 128 individuals, among them the following priests: Rev. J. Alesius, Rev. F. Baliūnas, Rev. J. Babonas, Rev. V. Radzevičius, Rev. L. Vaičiulionis, Rev. B. Gimžauskas, Rev. J. Vaičekauskas, Rev. Z. Grinevičius, Rev. S. Kadys, Rev. J. Povilaitis, Rev. P. Bubnys, Rev. A. Ylius, Rev. P. Mikutis, Rev. K. Daknevičius, and Rev. R. Mizaras; Helsinki Watch Group member [Mrs.] O. Lukauskaite-Poškienė; and the following believers: J. Petkevičius, [Mrs.] J. Petkevičiene, [Miss] A. Bružaitė, A. Andreika, [Mrs.] S. Andreikienė, [Miss] G. Stanelytė, [Miss] G. Bružaitė, [Miss] R. Vaitkutė, M. Jurevičius, and others.
Truskava (Kedainiai Rayon)
Fr. Petras Nykštas, former pastor of Salos, was detested by the local atheists for his zealous work. They were constantly defaming him and sending out complaints against him. This year he was transferred to the parish of Truskava, which does not have a church, for it burned down during the war, nor a rectory. The people pray in a room off the former infirmary building. Several nonbeliev-ing families live in the same building.
A large crowd of believers gathered to welcome the new pastor, strewing flowers in his path. This is the way that the faithful show their solidarity with priests who are loyal to the Church. It is a pity that such priests are not supported by most of the Ordinaries.
Pociūneliai (Radviliškis Rayon)
Fr. A. Jokubauskas received a written summons to appear before the Radviliškis RayonSection of the LSSR State Security Committee at 11 a.m. on July 12, 1979.
The pastor replied with a letter in which he explained his reasons for refusing to appear:
1. The letter failed to state the reason for his summons.
2. All suggestions, requests, or demands from the government should be made directly to the Commissioner
for Religious Affairs, who, through the bishop, will instruct the priests.
3. Any urgent directives should be submitted in writing and will be replied to in writing.
On July 17,1979, he was again summoned in writing to Radviliškis with threats that he would be brought in by force. Fr. Jokubauskas once more advised the rayon authorities in writing that he would not appear for the reasons stated in his first letter and that arbitrary and forcible acts had come to an end with Stalin's death. That time had ended and would never return.
On August 3, 1979, the police forcibly brought the pastor to the Radviliškis RayonSecurity Headquarters. Security Chief Astrauskas accused Fr. Jokubauskas of having defamed the Soviet system, broken laws, insulted Soviet employees, and of having urged his parishioners to listen to anti-Soviet Vatican Radio broadcasts.
The priest replied that he had only spoken the truth and that he had not violated any laws. He urged people to listen to Vatican Radio because that was the only available source of religious news and the pope's official radio station. Fr. Jokubauskas said that he would not obey any "laws" that clashed with either the laws of God or the provisions of the Final Act of the Helsinki Accords.
The priest's "eduction" took nine hours.
Crime is rising steadily in the cities of Lithuania. Police in the resort town of Druskininkai apprehended a group of burglars who stole from offices, stores, private homes, and other places. At the beginning of October 1978 they burglarized the local Russian Orthodox church. They stole holy vessels, crosses, and several valuable paintings. By a conservative estimate, more than two thousand rubles' worth of items were taken from the church.
On the night of October 28,1978, thieves entered the church of Ratnyčia through a window and broke down the door leading to the sacristy. They ransacked everything, apparently looking for money and church vessels. From the sacristy they took two chalices with patens, a ciborium, a new blue cape, a new stole, and other showy articles. In the church they ripped open the tabernacle, took the ciborium, and scattered the consecrated Hosts throughout the church. They broke into the offering box. Without taking into account the desecration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Ratnyčia church suffered a loss of more than 1,500 rubles, even though the investigators placed the value of the entire loss at a mere 350 rubles. This was done intentionally to diminish the thieves' responsibility.
On the night of January 4,1979, the same gang arrived in the town of Liskiava, where they broke down the doors of the former convent-school. They smashed locks, destroyed the doors to the corridor and the sacristy, and demolished the door leading to the church. They ransacked the sacristy looking for money and valuable items. They took a valuable chalice and paten and in the church robbed the offering boxes.
The thieves were finally apprehended by the Druskininkai police. They turned out to be Tūrinas, Mankelevičius, and Bugelskis. Their trial was held in Druskininkai on July 6-13. Tūrinas, twenty-two years old, who had a revolver and a dismantled rifle in his possession, was sentenced to six years in prison. Mankelevičius received three and one-half years in prison, while Bugelskis, whose lawyer claimed he had participated in only six burglaries, was acquitted and placed on probation for five years. In cases of group crimes and burglaries involving large sums, the law provides prison sentences of at least five to fifteen years. According to government estimates, the ring's total thefts reached the value of at least 28,000 rubles.
On September 26, 1979, the pastor of the Alsėdžiai church sent the following statement to the Telšiai Diocesan Chancery:
"I hereby inform the Diocesan Chancery of Telšiai that on the night of September 23 of this year unknown criminals entered through a window and seriously vandalized the church of Alsėdžiai. The tabernacles of seven altars were broken into and vandalized. The tabernacle on the main altar was broken into and the Communion Hosts were scattered. The ciborium was stolen and two massive angel figures holding three-pronged candelabrum were smashed. The tabernacle on St. Anthony's altar was broken into, and the reliquary was stolen; on the altar of St. Bartholomew, the tabernacle was smashed and two ornamented candlesticks were stolen; on the altar of the Holy Cross, the tabernacle was broken into and several votive offerings were stolen; on the altars of St. Ann, St. Barbara, and of the Holy Baptism, the tabernacles were broken. Thus, only the altar of St. Casimir remained untouched because access to it was hampered by the flower vases. It should be noted that two offering boxes clearly visible near the altar were also left untouched. The inevitable conclusion is that the intruders were not interested in money but only in desecrating and vandalizing the church. Moreover, vomit and human excrement were found in several spots in the churchyard. That night the yelling and the howling near the Alsėdžiai Cultural Center, which has become a habitual gathering place for all kinds of riffraff, lasted until 3 a.m."
Kapčiamiestis (Lazdijai Rayon)
On August 5, 1979, the pastor of Kapčiamiestis, Fr. Ignas Plioraitis, and thirty-eight parishioners addressed a letter to the Ministry of Culture of the Lithuanian SSR advising them that on the night of July 26 "at the old Kapčiamiestis cemetery unknown hooligans overturned two valuable monuments dating from the last century." They were concerned that "a similar fate might befall the only remaining monument in the cemetery — that of [Miss] Emilija Platerytė, a participant in the 1831 revolt." They requested that drinking be banned in the cemetery (there is a restaurant adjacent to the cemetery) and that the overturned monuments be righted.
Vice Chairman Vanagas of the Lazdijai Rayon Executive Committee replied that "the Kapčiamiestis Executive Committee has been instructed to return the crosses to their original state and to improve the supervision and maintenance of the older part of the cemetery." In addition, the reply stated: "We take exception to your baseless fabrication in which you attempt to lay blame for this on the atheists."
Smalvos (Zarasai Rayon)
On July 11, 1979, Smalvos Township Chairman L. Kazlauskas attempted to pull down a cross from the rectory wall. (The Smalvos Township headquarters are located in another portion of the building.) The local pastor, Fr. Marijonas Savickas, was called in by the vice chairman of the Zarasai Rayon Executive Committee and told that within three days the cross was to be removed.
After this incident, the faithful of Smalvos turned to the Soviet authorities, demanding that the entire building, being the property of the parish, be turned over to the Smalvos religious community. The appeal was signed by eighty-one parishioners.
In recent months the Šiauliai KGB has led an active campaign of blackmail, defamation, and intimidation against a number of former political prisoners.
The following Šiauliai residents were summoned for interrogation several times: [Mrs. ] Jadvyga Kaušienė, a teacher; Vytautas Ališauskas, an employee of Vairas; Vincas Filipavičius, a physician; and others. By applying various means of psychological pressure, an attempt was made to get derogatory information on the Šiauliai residents Mečislovas Jurevičius, Balys Galdikas, [Mrs.] Jadvyga Petkevičienė, and Jonas Petkevičius. The latter family, for some reason, has managed to "earn" the special attention of the security police. Slanderous insinuations and threats are being directed toward them.
It is obvious that the KGB is preparing for new arrests by weaving a spider's web to ensnare new victims.
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On August 24, 1979, Mečislovas Jurevičius was taken away by the police for an interrogation-indoctrination session. He was interrogated by Lt. Col. Vasiliauskas. The security officer wanted to know who had organized the July 22 march from Meikuiciai to the Hill of Crosses.
"We have information that you're behind the march to Šiluva planned for August 26," probed the police chief.
"I can tell you who's organizing these marches," replied Jurevičius, "Christ."
On July 5, 1979, at the Utena Cultural Center, [Miss] Daktaraitytė, a representative of the Monuments Preservation Council of the Lithuanian SSR and the Central Council of the Ethnographic Society, spoke at the opening of a specialized research expedition to gather linguistic data. She recommended that material not be taken or help obtained from "the servants of the cult."
On June 28, 1979, Vladas Majauskas, a resident of Paberžiai Village, Pasvalys Rayon, was being buried. His son, Petras, asked Chairman Stasys Židonis of the March Eighth Collective Farm for the use of a bus for the funeral. "I won't give you a bus to go to church!" he replied. And he didn't, even though the distance between Paberžiai and Pasvalys was only about 5 kilometers.
Kaunas resident Liudas Simutis received permission from the Kaunas police to register in that city. Earlier he had been told by them to "disappear from Lithuania."