The Catholics of Moldavia have been served by Father Vladislav Zavalniuk since 1974. He is the only priest in the republic whom the spiritual authorities assigned upon graduating from the Riga seminary to work in Moldavia.
The government followed his every step during his five years of pastoral ministry. He was punished and warned more than once for daring, despite governmental prohibition, to minister to sick and dying Catholics, not only in Kishinev but in other Moldavian cities and villages as well, i.e., wherever he was summoned. Seeing that it could not buy the priest's conscience, the Soviet government took drastic steps. On December 6, 1979, it took away Father Zavalniuk's work permit.
Parish Council Chairman Augustin Faiglevich and Council member Zigmant Rudnicky, whom the Soviet government managed to recruit, provided a great deal of help in removing Father Zavalniuk from his duties
For some time these two parish council members managed to conceal their dual role, but soon they were reminded that not only their own people are repelled by traitors but also repelled are those who use their services.
Soon even the Religious Affairs Commissioner did not bother to conceal who was providing the information and the constant denunciations. Aware that they had been unmasked, Faiglevich and Rudnicky dropped their pretense.
On December 23, 1979, Father Zavalniuk came to church to speak with the parish council. Chairman Faiglevich drove him out, reproaching him insultingly, "You're no longer our priest, nor the one in charge. I and the Religious Affairs Commissioner are in charge here."
On January 6, 1980, during services on the Feast of the Three Kings, council member Rudnicky, without any authorization from the priest, preached a sermon. Actually, it was not a sermon but a public unveiling of his true self. In his "sermon," Rudnicky ridiculed the Catholics who had loved their priest and charged Father Zavalniuk with disregarding the instructions of the council chairman.
On January 8,1980, Father Zavalniuk again visited the church and spoke with parish council members. When Faiglevich saw this, he telephoned the commissioner, demanding that the police be summoned because the priest was creating a disturbance among the faithful. Other council members, angered at the chairman's behavior, demanded that he resign his position. Faiglevich stated defiantly, "Even if I am to be in Hell with Satan himself, I will not yield my position as chairman to anyone!"
Faiglevich arbitrarily (clearly with the commissioner's knowledge) removed the most active council members who had attempted to support the priest. When the people demanded that the council chairman be reelected, he categorically protested, "Comrade Faiglevich was, and will be, the chairman." Naturally, because such a chairman serves not the Church but the KGB.