After the official warning by the prosecutor in 1979 to Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius, the stream of un­official threats and rumors increased. It was said that the KGB had secretly decided to kill them by setting up an accident, or in some similar fashion. Throughout Lithuania, rumors flew that Fathers Svarinskas and Tamkevičius had already been injured in an accident, arrested and that searches had been made of their residences.

People hearing those rumors often warned the priests not to drive about at night alone, and to avoid all sorts of traps. KGB agents did not hesitate to telephone the priests and to threaten them with violence. Those rumors were probably spread by the KGB especially to intimidate the fearful.

Father Sigitas Tamkevičius


The situation became such that more zealous priests could expect all sorts of unforseen incidents at any moment.

The KGB constantly bragged that it had all sorts of means of affecting even a person's mind. This was confirmed in part bv "fixing" the Orthodox priest, Dmitri Dudko, and other prisoners.

Therefore, on February 6, 1982, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius wrote his spiritual testament:

My   Credo

More and more often, I hear threats that I am to be ar­rested. I believe that the KGB threats can become a reality.

Perhaps the security organs will try to force me, as they did the Orthodox priest, Dmitri Dudko, to recant my activities as a crime against the state and the people. Who can guarantee in advance that he will be able to resist all of the means available to the KGB, and will not break? In the Gulag hell, thousands have caved in! There­fore, at this time, while I am free, I wish to express my credo.

I saw lying, decit and moral decay, so I could not remain un­committed. The desire to see my fellow countrymen happy here and in eternity forced me to struggle against all that evil which burdens my homeland and my Church.

To this struggle, I have devoted the most fruitful years of my life.

I thank God that during the past decade, He has allowed me to work with good results for the Church and, by the same token, for my country. If I had it to do all over again, I would do the same thing, except perhaps, more zealously. I regret only that most likely, I could have done even more.

It is with a peaceful heart that I go to prison; let it be the crown­ing of my work. My years of imprisonment, I dedicate as a penance for my own mistakes, and for the future of the Church and of our homeland. Every thing that I shall suffer, I offer for my beloved fellow countrymen, that they would remain faithful to God and country, that not one of them would go the way of Judas.

I desire, especially, that the ecclesiastical hierarchy in Lithua­nia which is pressured by the KGB more than anyone, would preserve this loyalty. For my brother priests, I will pray God for the grace of Unity: Unity with Christ, with the Church, with the Pope, but not Math the KGB and not with the Council for Religious Affairs.

In prison, I will always pray the Lord for the sisters of Lithuania Who have dedicated their lives to God and to the loving service of People, that they would devote great attention to the struggle for the freedom of the Church, and for basic human rights. Do not believe it when propagandists for government atheism say that such activity is Political. It is not politics, but a matter of life and death for all of us. And if it is politics, then it is Church politics, it is papal politics.

I will carry in my heart all those dear faithful of Lithuania with whom I came into contact during my twenty years as a priest. Remain faithful to Christ and the homeland! Bring up children who will not bow to lies and coercion. Let them create a more rational and healthy society than the one in which you must live.

I believe that others will continue our work and struggle, only perhaps more zealously and fruitfully than I or my friends were able. If anyone says, "You cannot knock a hole in the wall with your head", do not believe such pessimism. The wall of lying and coercion is rotten, and with the help of Christ, it is possible to overcome all things.

If you ever hear me speaking otherwise, do not believe it, because it will be not I speaking, but a poor man broken by the KGB.


February 6, 1982                 Father Sigitas Tamkevičius