July 2-9, 1982, the great religious festival at Žemaičių Kalvarija (Calvary of the Samogitians) took place, with units of the militia and army on alert. Militia trainees were housed in schools and dormitories in surrounding cities, water-cannon were brought in from Vilnius, and a fleet of closed trucks with listening apparatus was prepared. Cars of believers on their way to the devotions were checked at forty-one state auto inspection points, which all had direct radio contact with a communications center, set up at the Pas-ruojė Fish Nursery in the Village of Juodėnai II. Even the Republican Auto Inspection Chief Vaitasius and General Žemaitis came. At Pasruojė they set up a computer center, to which they would transmit the license numbers of all automobiles, in this way determining how many times an automobile traveled to Žemaičių Kalvarija. Even the clergy were not exempt.
The pastor of the neighboring parish of Tirkšliai, Fr. Vincentas Gauronskis, went home each evening. Occasionally, he would bring to the devotions his neighbors, the priests of Mažeikiai, so the auto inspection people stopped him and removed the car's license plate, exclaiming, "You won't be commuting any more!"
On the evening of July 5, the Pastor of Seda, assisting at the festival, was summoned on a sick-call to Plinkšės. When his driver,
The main altar in the church of Varduva. This locality came to be known as Žemaičių Kalvarija (The Calvary of Samogitia), but following the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, the name was changed to Varduva.
Paulauskas, returned, the state auto inspectors confiscated his chauffeur's license.
On the evening of July 3, the auto inspectors detained Father Kauneckas not far from Seda, and would not allow him to drive along the asphalt any longer, but ordered him to go back and take the gravel road through Alsėdžiai.
Throughout the octave, groups of militia and auxiliaries walked the streets of Žemaičių Kalvarija, and auto inspection cars drove around. Even though large groups of automobile inspectors and militia gawked along the roads, one was still forced to wait in line for inspection a whole half-hour at the inspection points. At all bus stations, militia stood by. Automobiles hired by the faithful were detained, travelers were told to get out and had to finish the trip on foot, while the drivers had their licenses confiscated. All this was done in an effort to intimidate the faithful.
District workers of neighboring rayons spread rumors in advance that this year no one would be allowed to go to Žemaičių Kalvarija: that it would be guarded by the militia and the army. Such talk was spread throughout Lithuania. Even from Vilnius and other distant places, acquaintances would phone laity and priests asking whether they would be allowed to come to the festival.
In spite of all kinds of provocations, this year the numbers of pilgrims were especially large. The faithful would come to the Way of the Cross every day in procession, bearing under the canopy the great relic of the cross. On the great Day of Calvary and the priests' traditional Wednesday, the relic was borne by the administrator of the diocese, Father Antanas Vaičius.
At the shrines, he delivered sermons and proclaimed the intentions for the Way of the Cross. Almost daily he made the Way of the Cross, in reparation for the desecration of the shrine on Maiden Hill.
On July 7 (Wednesday) Holy Mass for national temperance and purity was concelebrated by the administrator of the diocese and about eighty priests of the Diocese of Telšiai and guests from other dioceses.
During the religious festival days the militia guarded Maiden Hill specially. They closed all access roads to Pasruojė and Maiden Hill. In the forest, at Pasruojė, they put up signs forbidding parking for five kilometers (they did not remove them all during the months of July and August), abolished the bus stops at Pasruojė and Paplinkšė, so that local residents have to walk ten or more kilometers. Even participants in a funeral (in the Staškauskas Family) were allowed to pass only after a lengthy check, after they had proved their family ties. One distant relative was held for twenty-four hours with her mourning wreath, on suspicion that she wanted to get to Maiden Hill. Uršulė Motuzienė attempted to take her relatives to Maiden Hill early before dawn one morning. Jumping from the woods, militia and soldiers badly beat everyone, even a little boy.
The telephone operators in Telšiai were required to keep a direct line from Pasruojė to Vilnius open.
In connection with the religious festival, many youths and children were interrogated. The security police demonstratively watched and photographed youths and children in processions and at the stations of the cross. Auxiliary police wearing red arm-bands would come right into the church-yard when the procession returned from the hills. Militiamen and auxiliaries would round-up children who had gone alone into the town, and force them to write explanations of how they had come to Žemaičių Kalvarija, who had brought them and who had organized them. Still others were arrested after they had gone home.
Pilgrims going the Ways of the Cross in Žemaičių Kalvarija. Nineteen chapels were built along the banks of the Varduva river during the 17th century, each of them representing a particular stage of the Passion of Christ.
For example, on July 7, thirteen-year-old Romualdas Grušas was arrested by militiamen late at night in Telšiai, near his home, and was taken to the militia station for interrogation. The next evening he was picked up again near his home, and taken to the militia station at Žemaičių Kalvarija, where he was interrogated until three a.m. During the interrogation, they demanded that he write an explanation dictated by the militia.
When Romualdas refused to do so, the chekists twisted his ear and threw him down the basement, where there were more children. They were released only at 6 a.m. The boy went from the cellar directly to church, and that day once again took part in the Way of the Cross. Many 10-15 year olds were similarly interrogated. In dictating the explanations, among other things they were required to write the following: "The Rev. Jonas Kauneckas, of Telšiai, told us to gather in Alsėdžiai, and from there we had to march with our crosses and banners to Maiden Hill."
Moreover the children had to describe in writing how they had been dressed that day, who gave them the clothing, who had brought them to Žemaičių Kalvarija, and who had organized the processions. Afterwards, they were required to sign at the bottom of the sheet, after leaving plenty of space. The children were warned that they had committed a crime by taking part in processions, since minors are forbidden to do so by law.
The Way of the Cross on Priests' Wednesday (July 7) was called a political offense: in it, six girls dressed in yellow, green and red dresses, following the cross, "composed a flag of bourgeois Lithuania". Even though the children explained that they had seen no "flag", and that in processions in Telšiai there are always such dresses, but they are mustard, moss, and burgundy colored, they were accused of politics and threatened with a trial. This is how children from Tauragė, Telšiai and other places were interrogated: Romualdas Grušas, (Miss) Alma Andrijauskaitė (arrested at Žemaičių Kalvarija and interrogated till night-time), (Miss) Violeta Ričkutė (picked up in Telšiai with her mother), (Miss; Saulė Gaižauskaitė, (Miss) Rasa Kačinskytė (with her mother), (Miss) Jolanta Juodžytė, (Miss) Alma Dimbinskytė, (Miss) Reda Uksaitė (with her mother, she refused to write any explanation, and under interrogation said not a word), Romas Žalionis, (detained at Žemaičių Kalvarija) (Miss) Elena Dudaitė (taken from her home), (Miss) Aurelija Gaučytė and others.
After the religious solemnities, the Pastor of Žemaičių Kalvarija, Father Alfonsas Lukoševičius, was summoned to the Plungė Rayon Executive Committee and warned that in the future he would be punished if, during religious solemnities preachers spoke without permission of the government; such preachers had delivered as many as nine sermons this year.
Father Alfonsas Svarinskas in the District of Viduklė was read a warning by Vice-Chairwoman (Mrs.) O. Stonienė, of the Rayon of Raseiniai as follows:
"Paragraph 19 of the Regulations for Religious Associations says that the area of activity of the minister of cult, and of preachers is limited to the place of residence of members served by them and by the place where their appropriate house of worship is located.
"It has been determined that the Rev. Alfonsas Svarinskas, without the approval of the local authorities, has carried out religious services, and given sermons of an anti-social and libelous content between July 2 and 9 at Varduva.
"It must be noted that the Rev. Alfonsas Svarinskas has already been warned about infringement of said laws of cult. October 1, 1981.
"I once again demand that the Rev. Alfonsas Svarinskas abide by the laws regarding religious cults, and I serve notice that for their infringement you can be liable to administrative sanction. Dated July 12, 1982. Signed by Commissar for Religious Affairs Petras Anilionis."