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2017.06.26 10:41

Beatification Mass of Archbishop Teofilius Matulionis

Algirdas Acus 2017.06.26 10:41

On 25th June, Sunday, Teofilius Matulionis, Archbishop of the Soviet era, was beatified in the Vilnius Cathedral Square by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints from Vatican.

Matulionis was a priest and bishop who continually defied Communist rule and spent the greater part of his ministry in prison. He was known for his heroism and determination in faith.
 

‘He becomes a flag bearer of all martyrs and deportees in Lithuanian history, especially of the last century martyrs. He brings the message to whole of the world that in Lithuania, in that period of time, there were people, who stayed faithful to their belief,’ said archbishop of Vilnius Gintaras Grušas.
 

Matulionis was ordained a priest in what is now Belarus, where his zeal for the faith immediately raised suspicions of the authorities of the Russian Empire, and later he witnessed a violent persecution starting right with the Bolshevik Revolution.
 

He was released in an exchange of prisoners between Lithuania and the Soviet Union in 1933. After his release Matulionis was already praised for his heroism by pope Pius XI, during the meetings in Vatican.
Matulionis continued to speak boldly against totalitarian regimes when Lithuania was occupied by Soviet Union and briefly by Nazi Germany. He was imprisoned again and eventually killed by lethal injection after receiving notice from Rome, in 1962, that he had been made an archbishop and invited to participate in the Second Vatican Council.
 

‘It coincided that this month we commemorate the most painful experience of our country – occupation, mass deportations, thousands of victims. All that was experienced by our people, and Blessed Teofilius Matulionis is one of them,’ said President Dalia Grybauskaitė referring to 14th June, the day of the very first mass deportation, conducted by Soviets in 1941.
 

Shots of bringing Matulionis sarcophagus
 

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITĖ, President of Lithuania:

I can see especially a lot of young people celebrating freedom. The freedom lost to archbishop, which he firmly defended despite the consequences. It coincided that this month we remember the most painful experience of our country – occupation, mass deportations, thousands of victims. All that was experienced by our people, and Blessed Teofilius Matulionis is one of them.
 

Matulionis declared beatified
 

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

GINTARAS GRUŠAS, Catholic Archbishop of Vilnius:

Teofilius becomes a flagbearer of all martyrs, deportees in Lithuanian history, especially of the last century martyrs. He brings the message to whole of the world that in Lithuania, in that period of time, there were people, who stayed faithful to their belief.
 

Shot of the Cathedral square
 

Sound bite (Lithuannian), vox pop:

It’s a self-search to me. I am for the first time in an event like this and I want to see what is the spirit and atmosphere of the people who come here. And such an event is the first in modern Lithuania’s history.
 

Sound bite (Lithuannian), vox pop:

I think it is an important historical event both to Lithuania and its religious community.
 

Sound bite (Lithuannian), vox pop:

I am a believer, so I could not miss such an opportunity. (Reporter asks what beatification of Matulions means to her) It is a blessing to all Lithuanian people.
 

Priests leaving the ceremony