To: The General Secretary of the CPSU and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Yuri Andropov
From: Priests of the Archdiocese of Kaunas
The priests and faithful of Lithuania were very shaken by the actions of the government against the Catholic Church in Lithuania, in arresting and trying Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius.
Our press, in reporting the trial, did not indicate a single offense against the state or its system for which Father Alfonsas Svarinskas was on trial. The so-called crimes which were described were purely religious activities which did no harm to the state.
The arrested priests, as members of the Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, in the documents submitted to the appropriate state organs, also did not utter a single word against the state or its system, but merely published facts showing discrimination against the faithful in various areas of life. Their entire activity consisted of publicizing the arbitrariness of the atheists, which offends the sensitivities of the faithful. Can the publication of those instances of arbitrariness be considered vilification of the state, liable to punishment?
In your speech of June 15, 1983, you said, "In our country, everyone has equal rights and equal duties to society." (Tiesa — Truth,
June 16, 1983, Nr. 138) Secretary K. Chemenko of the Central Committee of the CPSU, in his speech of June 14, 1983, said: "Everyone knows that our Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience. Communists are dedicated atheists, but they do not force their ideas on anyone. Our methods consists of education, rational arguments and propaganda." (Tiesa, June 14, 1983, Nr. 137).
Yes, but how is it in practice? In every school in Lithuania, pupils are required to choose: If you do not become a member of the Communist Youth League, you will not be accepted anywhere, the doors are closed to you everywhere.
Is this not discrimination and imposition of atheism? However, when the priests now under arrest say this publicly, they are accused of vilifying the state and the system.
We ask you as the leader of the state to do everything so that the faithful not be victims of discrimination, and that the priests arrested for justified criticism not be punished, as provided in Par. 47 of the Constitution of the Lithuanian SSR.
Bishop Julijonas Steponavičius of the Diocese of Vilnius Priests of the Archdiocese of Vilnius:
1. Jonas Albavičius, 2. Jonas Aleksiūnas, 3. Jonas Babonas, 4. Feliksas Baliūnas, 5. Eugenijus Bartulis, 6. Pranciškus Bastys, 7. Viktoras Bruskokas, 8. Prosperas Bubnys, 9. Alfonsas Bulotas, 10. Mykolas Buožius, 11. Izidorius Butkus, 12. Juozas Čepėnas, 13. Kęstutis Daknevičius, 14. Antanas Danyla, 15. Jonas Stankevičius, 16. Juozas Dobilaitis, 17. Mykolas Dobrovolskis, 18. Gerardas Dunda.
19. Jonas Fabijanskas, 20. Pranciškus Gaižauskas, 21. Bronisla-vas Gaižutis, 22. Bronislavas Gimžauskas, 23. Jonas Girdzevičius, 24. Vytautas Griganavičius, 25. Zigmas Grinevičius, 26. Stanislovas Gruodis, 27. Gustavas Gudanavičius, 28. Antanas Imbras, 29. Juozas Indriūnas, 30. Antanas Ylius, 31. Leonardas Jagminas, 32. Kleopas Jakaitis, 33. Antanas Jokubauskas, 34. Eugenijus Jokubauskas, 35. Antanas Jurgutis.
36. Stanislovas Kadys, 37. Juozas Kaknevičius, 38. Leonas Kalinauskas, 39. Juozapas Katinas, 40. Antanas Kazlauskas, 41. Jonas Kazlauskas, 42. Alfonsas Lapė, 43. Antanas Lėleika, 44. Petras Liubonas, 45. Rapolas Liukas, 46. Vladas Luzauskas, 47. Romaldas Macevičius, 48. Petras Mačiūta, 49. Juozas Maleckis, 50. Aleksandras Markai-tis, 51. Petras Martinkus, 52. Pranciškus Matulaitis, 53. Juozapas Matulis, 54. Petras Meilus, 55. Ričardas Mikutavičius, 56. Petras Mikutis, 57. Romualdas Mizaras, 58. Algirdas Močius.
59. Bronius Nemeikšis, 60. Vytautas Pesliakas, 61. Vladas Petkevičius, 62. Petras Petraitis, 63. Steponas Pilka, 64. Aleksandras Počiul-pis, 65. Vaclovas Polikaitis, 66. Benediktas Povilanskis, 67. Vladas Požėla, 68. Vincas Pranskietis, 69. Povilas Pranskūnas, 70. Jonas Račaitis, 71. Vytautas Radzevičius, 72. Jonas Rakauskas, 73. Vaclovas Ramanauskas, 74. Juozas Razmantas, 75. Liudvikas Semaška, 76. Edvardas Semaška, 77. Kazimieras Širūnas, 78. Antanas Slavinskas, 79. Jonas Survila, 80. Viktoras Šauklys, 81. Pranciškus Ščepavičius.
82. Jonas Tamonis, 83. Vaclovas Tamoševičius, 84. Petras Tavoraitis, 85. Jurgis Užusienis, 86. Juozas Vaicekauskas, 87. Juozas Vaiče-liūnas, 88. Lionginas Vaičiulionis, 89. Boleslovas Vairą, 90. Vladas Valavičius, 91. Alfredas Vanagas, 92. Juozas Varvuolis, 93. Jonas Vovieris, 94. Canon Juozas Želvys, 95. Pijus Žiugžda.
To: The General Secretary of the USSR and Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Yuri Andropov
From: The Priests of the Diocese of Panevėžys A Petition
The priests and faithful of Lithuania have been painfully shaken by the vindictive pronouncement of the LSSR Supreme Court, May 6, 1983, against the Pastor of Viduklė, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas and by the arrest of the Pastor of Kybartai, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius. This is but a part of the new activity designed to hurt the Catholic Church in Lithuania.
After the trial of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, they wrote in the press: "Using the church and his position as a minister of cult, he spreads lies about the Soviet state and the public order . . ." (Tiesa, May 7., 1983. Algirdas Strunskis)
"... To denigrate, demean and vilify everything the people of
Father Alfonsas Svarinskas
our country and republic have attained, thanks to the Soviet government. . ." (Valstiečių laikraštis — The Peasants' Newspaper, May 11, 1983. Mrs. Mockuvienė)
The arrest of the Pastor of Kybartai, Father Sigitas Tamke-vičius, on charges stemming from the same paragraph of the criminal code (68, I d) provides grounds to believe that his activities will be similarly judged.
Priests and faithful who have been well acquainted with these two priests who have been arrested disagree with what has been written in the aforesaid newspapers. Their work was in the religious
Father Sigitas Tamkevičius
sphere. They were raising the morals and sobriety of the people. If their sermons had been full of lies, calumnies and inventions, the first to turn away from them would have been the faithful themselves, since they are capable of distinguishing a lie from the truth.
The faithful used to look forward to their sermons, and when they were arrested, the people were deeply bothered. They prayed, and those who were in a position to express their solidarity in writing, defending those under arrest, did so with their signatures. In behalf of Father Svarinskas alone, fifty-five thousand people signed.
The arrested priests, as members of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, presented government agencies with documents which did not speak agains the state or its system. They merely publicized evidence of discrimination against the faithful in daily life and the arbitrariness of the atheists with regard to the faithful, which deeply hurts the feelings of believers. Can this be considered defamation of the state or of its system?
If their writings are forgeries and sensationalism, as the press claims, then why did not a single document appear in the press, so that the public might be able to get acquainted with it, and be convinced?
If Father Alfonsas Svarinskas is considered by the court to be such a criminal, then the public should have had the opportunity to convince itself of the guilt of the accused, and to tell others about it, assisting at the trial. However, at Father Svarinskas' trial, only his sister and brother were able to be present, apart from the hand-picked audience. Priests and faithful who wished to enter the courtroom were pushed by the militia into vans and taken far beyond Vilnius, into the forest. Others were given sentences and fines.
A case is being prepared against Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, who has dared to speak out against atheist attacks insulting the Faith, and to defend matters of conscience.
We ask you as leader of the state to see to it that the faithful not be objects of discrimination, and that priests arrested for deserved criticism should not be imprisoned or fined, since they were simply making use of Par. 47 of the Constitution.
Signed by these priests of the Diocese of Panevėžys, Fathers:
1. Petras Adomonis, 2. Canon Bronius Antanaitis, 3.Vincentas Arlauskas, 4. Jonas Bagdonas, 5. Juozas Bagdonas, 6. Bronius Balaiša, 7. Antanas Balaišis, 8. Vytautas Balašauskas, 9. Jonas Balčiūnas, 10. Juozas Balčiūnas, 11. Jurgis Balickaitis, 12. Kostas Balsys, 13. Petras Baltuška, 14. Algis Baniulis, 15. Kazys Baronas.
16. Laimingas-Feliksas Blynas, 17. Valdas Braukyla, 18. Adolfas Brieve, 19. Petras Badriūnas, 20. Jonas Buliauskas, 21. Jonas But-kys, 22. Povilas Ciuckis, 23. Juozas Dubnikas, 24. Msgr. Kazimieras Dulksnys, 25. Steponas Galvydis, 26. Juozas Garška, 27. Juozas Giedraitis, 28. Kazimieras Girnius, 29. Mykolas Gylys, 30. Antanas Gobis, 31. Alfonsas Gražys, 32. Antanas Gružauskas, 33. Klemensas Gutauskas, 34. Gaudentas Ikamas, 35. Vincas Inkratas, 36. Tadas Ivanovskis.
37. Alfonsas Jančys, 38. Povilas Jankevičius, 39. Juozas Janulis, 40. Vytautas Jasiūnas, 41. Jonas Jatulis, 42. Jonas Juodelis, 43. Povilas Juozėnas, 44. Jonas Jurgaitis, 45. Antanas Juška, 46. Alfonsas Kadžius, 47. Antanas Kairys, 48. Vytautas Kapočius, 49. Lionginas Keršulis, 50. Petras Kiela, 51. Stanislovas Kazėnas, 52. Antanas Kietis, 53. Anicetas Kisielius, 54. Povilas Klezys, 55. Petras Krasauskas, 56. Vladas Kremenskas, 57. Stanislovas Krumpliauskas, 58. Petras Kuzmickas.
59. Jonas Labakojis, 60. Jonas Lapinskas, 61. Antanas Liesis, 62. Juozas Lukšas, 63. Leonas Lukšas, 64. Petras Markevičius, 65. Vytautas Marozas, 66. Aleksandras Masys, 67. Vytautas Masys, 68. Antanas Mikulėnas, 69. Algirdas Miškinis, 70. Povilas Miškinis, 71. Antanas Mitrikas, 72. Kazimieras Mozūras, 73. Juozas Nagulevičius, 74. Algirdas Narušis, 75. Lionginas Neniškis, 76. Petras Nykstąs.
77. Albinas Paltanavičius, 78. Steponas Pelešynas, 79. Antanas Petrauskas 80. Albinas Pipiras, 81. Jonas Pranevičius, 82. Augustinas Pranskietis, 83. Robertas Pukenis, 84. Izidorius Puriuškis, 85. Vladas Rabašauskas, 86. Antanas Rameikis, 87. Pranciškus Rasčiūs, 88. Jonas Rimša, 89. Edmundas Rinkevičius, 90. Pranas Sabaliauskas, 91. Raimundas Saprigonas, 92. Bronius Simsonas, 93. Leonardas Skar-dinskas, 94. Mykolas Stonys, 95. Vincentas Stankevičius, 96. Bronius Strazdas, 97. Alfonsas Strielčiūnas, 98. Aloyzas Sungaila, 99. Paulius Svirskis.
100. Ignas Šaučiūnas, 101. Bronius Šlapelis, 102. Povilas Šliau-teris, 103. Gediminas Šukys, 103. Juozas Šumskis, 105. Albertas Talačka, 106. Leonardas Tamošauskas, 107. Pranas Tamulionis, 108. Stasys Tamulionis, 109. Petras Tarulis, 110. Petras Tijušas, 111. Vytautas Tvarijonas, 112. Benediktas Urbonas, 113. Sigitas Uždavinys, 114. Jonas Vaičiūnas, 115. Antanas Valančiūnas, 116. Antanas Va-lantinas, 117. Juozas Varnas, 118. Povilas Varžinskas, 119. Antanas Vaškevičius, 120. Juozas Vaškevičius, 121. Antanas Zakrys, 122. Stasys Zubavičius, 123. Antanas Zulonas, 124. Bronius Žilinskas, 125. Serafinas Zvinys.
Of the 127 priests of the Diocese of Panevėžys, only two did not sign: Fathers Juozas Antanavičius and Jonas Uogintas.
On June 6, 1983, the Associate Pastor of the parish of Kybartai, Father Jonas Matulionis, protesting against the arrest of Father Sigitas Tamkevicius, sent a petition to the Prosecutor of Lithuania, in which he writes, "... All of Lithuania knows Father Sigitas Tamkevicius as a very good, exemplary and kind priest... I have never heard that Father Sigitas Tamkevicius ever got involved in that of which he is accused: anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda. . . His basic concern was the needs of the faithful. Who will defend the believers when he is the object of discrimination, if not the priest? As for how the faithful are treated, there are plenty of examples throughout Lithuania . . .
"I therefore protest against the arrest of Father Sigitas Tamkevicius. I ask you to arrange that Father Sigitas Tamkevicius be released from the KGB Isolation Prison and allowed to return to his duties as pastor. If it has been determined to get rid of him and to sentence him, then I ask to be allowed to serve Father Tamkevicius' sentence instead of him . . ."
The faithful of Lithuania, protesting against the sentencing of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas and the arrest of Father Sigitas Tamkevicius, continue to sign protests:
Kazlų Rūda —611 Skuodas — 186 Mosėdis — 229 Tauragė — 363 Šatės — 546 Laižuva — 268 Akmenė — 520 Kalviai — 382 Daugailiai — 733 Vilkija — 86 Alovė — 300 Kapsukas — 4609 Rumbonys — 506
Kražiai — 733 Kretinga — 1718 Kuršėnai — 357 Kalesninkai — 385 Dubičiai — 203 Klaipėda — 1467 Lithuanian Village of
Palesė (Byelorussia) —36 Kriokialaukis — 235 Ūdrija —317
Bazilionai — 173 Josvainiai — 166 Šeduva — 676
Valkininkai — 777 The following parishes have repeatedly collected signatures:
Zarasai — 164 Kirdeikiai — 33 Dūkštas — 63
Smalvos — 26 Vilnius — 108 Vištytis — 646
Imbradas — 119 Alytus — 1260 Punia — 62
Bishop Liudvikas Povilonis during a pilgrimage at Šiluva.