Recently in Lithuania, the war on religious believers has greatly escalated. The government has begun warring against even the aged, the invalid and the infirm. The KGB is looking for the sick little old man, Vladas Lapienis, and they have arrested the seriously ill Father Jonas Matulionis. Even more strangely — the saints too have drawn the ire of the government.

In celebrating the 500-year Jubilee of Saint Casimir, the government atheists did everything possible to play down the solemnity of the jubilee. For propaganda purposes, a jubilee medal was struck. But who got one? Even active church-goers had to be satisfied with merely seeing it. It was the same with the Saint Casimir Jubilee Catholic Calendar and the Catholic Calendar-Directory. In all ways and on all occasions, pompous announcements were made about these jubilee publications, only no one dared to tell how many of them were obtained by the faithful. Most of the faithful did not even see them, but propaganda was well served: — See how much religious liberty — the government publishes the Catholic Calendar!

On November 1, 1984, after the evening Mass, the faithful of the parish of Kybartai went in procession to the cemetery near the church, and there prayed for the deceased.

Presiding over the ceremonies according to the Ritual of the Catholic Church was the associate pastor of Kybartai, Father Jonas Kastytis Matulionis.

The procession of the faithful to the cemetery was watched by militia and KGB. During the procession Chairman Gudžiūnas of the Kybartai District ran up to Father Matulionis and told him to have the people disperse. The faithful, paying no attention, continued in orderly fashion to the cemetery, singing the Litany of the Saints, and there, after praying for the deceased, they dispersed.

November 7 and 8, residents of Kybartai noticed that many KGB from elsewhere had come to town, and were closely watching the church and rectory. Friday, November 9, the tension mounted. Automobiles with KGB agents in them constantly guarded the town. After the evening Mass, at 8:00 PM, a group of about thirty people accompanied Father Matulionis to the hospital, where the priest anointed a patient. Security police dogged the steps of the priest at a distance, but they did not dare to approach the priest or faithful.


On November 12, 1984, a search was carried out in the apartment of Father Jonas Kastytis Matulionis. The search report was signed by Under Magistrate G. Pogželskas of the LSSR Prosecutor's Office for Especially Serious Cases. Besides him, four other staff members of the Prosecutor's Office and two women witnesses carried out the search. Seized were: the publi­cation "Lietuvos Ateitis" ("Lithuania's Future") No. 7, articles — "Lietuvos valdininkas tėvynėje" ("The Ruler of Lithuania in his Homeland"); "Katekizacija praktikoje" ("Practical Catechetics");

"Nuotaikos iš šv. Kazimiero jubiliejaus uždarymo" ("The Mood of the Closing of the Jubilee of Saint Casimir"), a letter addressed to Father Algis-Kazimieras Gutauskas, a petition addressed to the Commissioner for Religious Affairs, three versions of a photo montage of Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, twenty-one photographs of Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, a petition addressed to the First Secretary of the LSSR Central Committee and a typewriter. The search lasted more than five hours.

Kybartai (R a y o n of Vilkaviškis)

On November 10, 1984, a search was carried out at the home of Miss Ona Šarakauskaitė, 19 Čepajevo g-ve. (See Chronicle No. 61 — Trans. Note) The warrant indicated the purpose of the search: to seize items which could have a bearing on a criminal case against a group. Officials refused to indicate specifically for which case the articles were being sought. The search was carried out while the householder was not at home. During the search, they seized all photographs of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius and Jadvyga Bieliauskienė, audio casettes with recordings of sermons by Father Sigitas Tamkevičius and Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, brochures of a religious nature, about 100 small metal cross-pins, so-called "green scapulars", etc. A search report, together with lists of articles seized were drawn up by a resident of the house, Miss Birutė Briliūtė, who happened to be at home during the search.

Christmas Eve

My native land, like a mother you conceal within you

The hope of bright comfort.

That white Christmas Eve I hear you call your children

In my thoughts I fly to embrace you, my homeland, I speak with you.


I am greeted from a distance by Gediminas' city,

The steeple crosses, the Mother of the Gates in

history's night — Resolved to go a journey of a thousand miles,

I slump to my knees,

I kiss the ground, my native soil —

And you still call to me . . .

As though I see the house where I was born . . .

Recently K. Bagdonavičius' collection of literary pamphlets, Dialogai (Vilnius, Vaga, 1984), appeared in the bookstores. From this booklet the faithful of Lithuania learn how on the basis of an interview with the rector of the seminary in Kaunas, the plight of the Church in our country is described in a distorted fashion by the London Dailu Guardian (p. 243).

In it the rector, the Reverend Dr. Viktoras Butkus, recounts how in March, 1982, a new seminary church was blessed. This is not true; that church is not new. In 1982, the seminary had returned to it the Church of the Holy Trinity, which had been taken from it twenty years earlier. After all those years the walls were all that was left of a wonderful church. The beautiful altars were wrecked, artistic paintings and statues were destroyed. The church had been converted into a book depository.

It is thought that the late Cardinal Alfred Bengsch (of Berlin — Trans. Note) helped to get the church back when during his visit to Lithuania, he expressed surprise at the inadequate little seminary chapel which lacked light, air and space.


In November, 1984, journalist Vytautas Miniotas gave a lecture in Palanga. Speaking about the international situation, he attacked Vatican Radio, saying that it libels the Soviet government by announcing that the latter did not allow the Holy Father to come to Lithuania during the jubilee of Saint Casimir. "But that's not true. I myself asked Bishop Povilionis whether he had invited the Holy Father. Bishop Povilionis replied that he had not," Miniotas told the gatherirrg.

Skardupiai (Kapsukas Rayon)

During the night of April 25-26, 1984, unidentified malefactors used a crowbar to break open the door and force their way into the church in Skardupiai. Here they broke open the tabernacle doors and took the ciborium with the Blessed Sacrament. The culprits have not been found.

On May 26, in the church in Skardupiai, services of reparation took place. The pastor, Father Boleslavas Čegelskas, gave a sermon suited to the occasion. After Mass, young and old went around the church on their knees. In May and June, the faithful of Skardupiai and their guests gathered in large numbers at the church where, together with the priests, they would participate in the Holy Mass for the intention of the reparation, and would receive Holy Communion.

Šaukėnai (Kelmė Rayon)

In October, 1984, pupils of Communist Youth League age at the Šaukėnai Middle School who had refused to join the Communist Youth League were then taken to Kelmė for rehabili­tation. After the prescribed rehabilitation, only one girl agreed to join the Communist League

Vidsodis (Kelmė Rayon)

On October 15, 1984, the Turauskas family, residents of Vidsodis, were visited by elementery school Principal Kęstutis Vinča. Angry and upset, the principal berated Adomas Turauskas for taking his son, Modestas, a pupil in the fifth class, to church, and not allowing him to join the Pioneers. The father explained, "I go to church and my child does, and he does not wish to be a Pioneer." When the principal continued to scold Turauskas, a visitor who had been with Turauskas intervened in the conversation, "Why the big fuss? At the present time, they're proclaiming religious liberty!"

On October 16, in school, Assistant Principal (Mrs.) Merkelienė, assailed Modestas Turauskas, "Why do you go to church? Why don't you enroll in the Pioneers? We'll show you yet!" the assistant principal threatened the boy. The teacher turned Modestas' classmates against him, and they began ridiculing their friend. Terrified, the boy fell ill. The parents had to consult a physician. For a week, Modestas Turauskas could not go to school on account of illness.


Priests of the Diocese of Panevėžys, Who Have Undergone Arrest, Imprisonment and Camps in the Soviet System.

1. Msgr. Vladas Butvila, born 1891, ordained 1915. Pastor, Dean of Rokiškis, arrested in 1950, sentenced to 10 years in prison. Returned from Irkutsk, Siberia, November 25, 1955, an invalid. Died March 14, 1961. Buried in the cemetery of Panevėžys.

    2.  Msgr.   Kazimieras   Dulksnys,   born   February   19,   1910, ordained June 15, 1935. Pastor of SS Peter and Paul Church, Panevėžys, arrested November 17, 1957, sentenced to 2 years in prison. Returned from camp in Russia, May 19, 1959. Exiled to the Diocese of Kaišiadorys, as emeritus priest of Merkinė; to Ned­zingė until June 7, 1963. Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Panevėžys. (See Chronicle No. 64 — Trans. Note)

3. Msgr. Mykolas Karosas, born 1878, ordained 1901. Pastor, Dean of Šeduva, Episcopal Vicar General of the Diocese of Pane­vėžys. Arrested September, 1951. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, imprisoned in Šilutė and Karaganda. Returned to Lithuania, December 25, 1954. Died October 13, 1955. Buried in the church­yard of Šeduva.

4. Msgr. Leopoldas Pratkelis, born June 5, 1912, ordained June 11, 1938. Pastor of the parish of Rosalimas, arrested 1950. Sentenced to 10 years in prison. Returned from the Siberian katorga, 1956. Died January 7, 1983. Buried in the churchyard in Linkuva. (See Chronicle No. 56 — Trans. Note)

In April, 1984, issue 42 (82) of the underground publication Aušra (Dawn) appeared. The issue is dedicated to the 500th Year Jubilee of Saint Casimir. The introductory article reproduces the talk by Pope John Paul II delivered March 4, in Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome, commemorating the anniversary of Saint Casimir's death; in the publication, the meaning of sainthood in today's world is thoroughly discussed. The issue carries the request by Lithuanians living in Byelorussia, addressed to Lithuanians abroad, to let the world know about their unsuccessful struggle for the preservation of their language and culture. The article, entitled "And Who Will Write About You? is dedicated to Juozas Eretas, who died March 14: "A Swiss of good-will, an oak which has taken root in the soil of Lithuanian culture, and left there a significant mark."

Aušra 43 (83), appearing June, 1984, dedicates considerable space to the temperence movement, describing the damage alcohol does to the individual and to the entire nation, and indicates guidelines for the work of sobering up the nation. The issue contains news from the camp for political prisoners in Mordovia; a number of articles describing how "occupied Lithuania" marked the 50th anniversary of the death of its heroes, Stasys Darius and Seponas Girėnas. (Lithuania-Americans who flew the Atlantic in 1934, only to crash to their deaths in East Prussia. — Trans Note)

Lithuanian, remember!

Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius, Father Jonas-Kąstytis Matulionis, Romas Žemaitis, Sergei Kovalev, Viktoras Petkus, Balys Gajauskas, Jadvyga Bieliauskienė, Vytautas Skuodis, Gintautas Iešmantas, Antanas Terleckas, Julius Sasnauskas

and others bear the chains of imprisonment so that you might live and believe in freedom!