Blessed Teofilius Matulionis, Martyr of Lithuania

Teofilius Matulionis

Congratulations to all Lithuanians, especially those in my parish, on the beatification of their first martyr, Blessed Teofilius Matulionis. (1873-1962) He was beatified yesterday in Vilnius

After studying in St Petersburg, Blessed Teofilius was ordained priest in 1900. He worked in various Latvian parishes and in the parish of the Immaculate Heart of Jesus in Saint Petersburg.

He was first put in prison in 1923 because the authorities had just passed a law ordering the confiscation of all Churches. In a humiliating touch so characteristic of totalitarian mind-policing everywhere, parish priests were required to sign the order of confiscation of their own Churches. Blessed Teofilius refused.

He was consecrated Bishop secretly in 1929. Not long after that, he was arrested and deported to the Russian camps in the Solovestky Islands. Here he is after his release in 1933 as a result of a prisoner exchange with Lithuania.

In 1943, Blessed Teofilius was named bishop of Kaišiadorys. After issuing a pastoral letter in 1945, he was arrested again and imprisoned for ten years. After his release, he consecrated another Bishop without permission of the communist government and was exiled to Seduva. In 1962, the communists made a "routine" search of his flat and beat up the 89 year-old prelate. He died shortly after. When his body was exhumed in 1999, tests confirmed that he had also been poisoned.

Blessed Teofilus pray for us.

For Lithuanian readers:
Teofilius Matulionis - Vikipedija
T. Matulionis – vyskupas sovietinėje mėsmalėje

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