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CHRONICLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN LITHUANIA, NO. 73
In this issue:
Lithuania March 19,1987
The love of the Father of the Ages protects
The land of the Nemunas and Neris,
Under the Lithuanian roof
A new fire will now glow.
Where primeval forests murmured,
And the flames of altars burned,
Spires raise high the Cross of Christ,
Not to be conquered by storms.
Not the wildest winds shall root up,
Christ, our living love for you!
You conquered the world,
You are the ruler of Lithuania!
The new "Gorbachev Era" is urging on the people by all means at its disposal the idea of the "great reorganization" based on a new way of thinking and acting. The inspirer and creator of this new re-ordering says himself that present times have "posed problems of undreamed novelty and unheard scope which must be solved in as short a span of history as possible."
Is this great "reorganization" not similar to the "great leaps forward" and "cultural revolutions", complete with quotations from Mao which have faded into historical oblivion, and which also were supposed to be carried out in a brief time.
However, all those movements born of megalomania are remembered today only as a bad dream which caught millions of people up in its dizzy spin. And who will count the meaningless sacrifices and the wrecked lives? Just as earlier, so the prime purpose and task of the contemporary movement is to attain complete unity of thought and action. That means to renounce one's own subjective thinking and individual outlook and to "switch" to a collective mechanism with compulsory programming. It is just like K. Saja's story, "Ninetroubles" ('Devynpėdziai'): To do nothing which displeases the ox: Not to sing, not to speak loudly, not to think for oneself, etc.
We thank Divine Providence most sincerely for the constant protection which has surrounded the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania for fifteen years. We are grateful for the joys and for the sufferings, everything which the Will of the Lord has sent.
The editorial staff of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania thanks all who have suffered for the Chronicle in camps and in prisons, and have experienced the nightmare of searches and interrogations.
We thank our brethren abroad for their dedication defending the affairs of the Church and the nation, translating and disseminating the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania.
We thank all who assist the Chronicle by their work, prayer and donations.
May the good God reward them all!
On January 6,1987, Vilnius resident Vladas Lapienis was released from labor camp in Mordovia. He refused to sign any promise to be loyal to the Soviet government in the future. The chekists were satisfied with a written request from Lapienis' wife to release him on account of bad health and on account of the care for the elderly which her husband requires.
Docent Vytautas Skuodis, having completed his sentence of seven years strict regime, was taken to exile in Magadan. After being kept for a whole month in Chelyabinsk prison in solitary confinement, on February 5 Skuodis was released. The KGB repeatedly demanded a promise from Skuodis in writing that he would not break Soviet law in the future. Skuodis, arguing that he had never broken Soviet law, but that on the contrary, those who terrorized and tried him had not abided by either the Constitution or with international agreements which the U.S.S.R. had signed, refused to comply with the officials' demands. "Making such a promise in writing would in itself be an acknowledgement that in the past, I did not keep the law, and that's not true," said Skuodis. Finally, Skuodis agreed to sign the following text drafted by the KGB themselves: "I request that you let me go to the U.S.A. I will not break the law."
On November 18,19S6, a thorough search was carried out in the apartment of Mrs. Miliūnienė, mother-in-law of Algirdas Patackas who was under arrest. The apartment is located in Kaunas, Aluntas g-ve., nr. 47. Directing the raid was KGB Major Vidzėnas. During the search, a portable typewriter was seized, together with a few copies of the article "The Essential Structural Sign of the Religion of the Baits". After the search, Mrs. Miliūnienė was taken to KGB headquarters and interrogated.
On October 10,1986, KGB staff personnel showed former political prisoner Liudas Simutis, whom they had summoned to KGB headquarters in Kaunas, Algirdas Patackas' manuscripts of the incriminating publication Lietuvos ateitis, No. 6 ( Future of Lithuania), including "A Letter to the Seminarians of Lithuania", written by Simutis, and demanded that he tell them how the letter came to be in Lietuvos ateitis. The prisoner explained that the letter was addressed also to Security Committee staff member Vidzėnas, and he did not know how the letter could have gotten from this office into an illegal publication.
Father Jonas Matulionis writes:
"Today is our patronal feast - Saint Casimir. I ask his protection and intercession for everyone... Every place, every corner of our lives, is a gift of God. Frequent searches, underserved accusations, hired sleuths and terrorists — their unimaginative attempts to humiliate can do only as much as they are allowed, while the Lord is always with us. I am receiving the newspapers and magazines. The obvious annoyance of one warden does not disturb my spiritual calm. They don't like people who are better informed, better educated, spiritually stronger, readers or thinkers. On February 24, the lieutenant for operations summoned me and told me that they had destroyed a letter containing four reproductions of photographs or lithographs. On the other side was a Lithuanian text. We talked for a good half-hour, and he finally admitted that he could have shown me the pictures and the sender's address.
"Give my regards to those who have returned. Whether I shall return earlier, only God knows. I ask for favors only from the just and merciful Lord, and not from unjust and deceitful man... To all, the graces and blessings of the Sacred Host." (Father Matulionis' sentence was reduced. He was released on November 16,1987. — Trans. Note)
To: Comrade Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union From: Priests of the Diocese of Telšiai and the Prelature of Klaipėda
The Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics guarantees freedom of conscience and freedom of religious practice: "To citizens of the U.S.S.R., freedom of conscience is guaranteed; that is the right to profess any religion or not profess any, to practice religious cults, or to carry on anti-religious propaganda." (Art. 52)
The same is stated in the Constitution of the Lithuanian S.S.R. (Art. 50.) Besides, the government of the U.S.S.R. has signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the 18th paragraph of which is emphasized the right of every citizen to profess his beliefs and to proclaim them.
The atheists of the L.S.S.R. have the rights guaranteed in the aforesaid documents and make use of them. Meanwhile, the faithful are seriously constrained. The teaching of religious truth is allowed only in church during the sermon at services, and only to older people.
To: General Secretary M. Gorbachev
From: Marytė Gudaitytė
Residing in: Prienų raj., Skersbalio km.
Once again, I come to you in the hope that my request will be heard.
On March 27,1985, the Director of the Pranas Mažylis School of Nursing in Kaunas sent me to KGB headquarters to agent Jocas. The KGB agent, in the course of the interview, stated that I would no longer be able to study since I had signed Christmas greetings to the priest-prisoners Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius. As we were speaking, one more KGB agent entered and he explained that I would not be able to continue studies because it would be impossible to trust me as a nurse because they said I might give my enemies poison instead of medicine.
Director Tamošauskienė of the school said that she herself would not dismiss me from school, but the KGB required it and she had to carry out their orders.
Aušra (The Dawn), No. 56 (96). In December, 1986, a new issue of the underground publication, Aušra, number 56 appeared.
In the publication is mentioned the centennial of the birth of that noted activist in Lithuanian learning and Catholic society, Professor Pranas Dovydaitis.
For the article "Preparing for the Christianity Jubilee," material from the sermon of October 13, 1986 at Šiluva is used. Much attention is devoted in the publication to a scientific-historical study of the Seinai-Suvalkai territory, which was begun in Aušra No. 55. This historical study of the Seinai-Suvalkai territory will be continued in further issues of Aušra.
Lithuanians, remember that:
Father Alfonsas Svarinskas Father Sigitas Tamkevičius Father Jonas-Kąstytis Matulionis Viktoras Petkus Balys Gajauskas Gintautas Iešmantas Povilas Pečeliūnas
and others bear the shackles of imprisonment so that you might live and believe freely.
(Trans. Note- since the appearance of this issue of the Chronicle, Father Jonas-Kąstytis Matulionis and Povilas Pečeliūnas have been released.)