Vilnius Archdiocese invited to celebrate and remember God’s servant Archbishop Mečislovas Reinis on February 5 and to pray for his intercession on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of his birth. The Mass for the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Vilnius, Minsk and Mogilev, the martyr of Vladimir prison, will be celebrated by the Auxiliary Bishop of Vilnius A. Poniškaitis in the Vilnius Cathedral.
On the website about the sound of holiness in Lithuania (sventomogarsas.lt), the list of God’s servants and maidservants includes 23 candidates for sainthood: women and men, laymen and consecrated persons, as well as clergy, including four bishops (J. Ciepliakas, J. Steponavičius, V. Borisevičius and M .Reinys).
Mečislovas Reinys was born in 1884. February 5 In the village of Madagascar, Utena County, 1907. ordained priest, from 1925 to 1926 served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, in 1926 consecrated as coadjutor of the bishop of Vilkaviškis, 1940 he was appointed as the assistant of Vilnius, but he actually held the position of the pastor of Vilnius and therefore the Holy See granted him the title of archbishop. in 1947 Archbishop M. Reinys was arrested and interrogated for defending the rights of the Church and sentenced by the Soviet court to 8 years. prison, serving his sentence in the famous Vladimir prison in Russia, where he died under unknown circumstances a little more than 70 years ago. – 1953 November 8 In 2023, a monument was erected in the Vladimir town cemetery in memory of Archbishop M. Reinis and other martyrs of communism. was desecrated.
in 1998 The archdiocese of Vilnius started the canonical case of beatification and canonization, which aims to prove the martyrdom and sanctity of M. Reinis, so that he could be officially elevated to the altar and declared a martyr.
Several prisoners freed from Vladimir prison testified in writing about M. Reinis’ path of martyrdom in a Russian prison, including the archbishop’s cellmates – a German diplomat, evangelical believer Gothold Starke, unbelieving British soldier Frank James William Kelly and a prisoner in the same prison, but who did not know M. Reinis personally in Italy Jesuit, priest of Armenian origin. Pietro Alagiani SJ (Pietro Alagiagian SJ, 1894–1981).
The latter in his memoirs “My Prisons in the Soviet Paradise”, published in 1956. February 16 In Rome, among other things, it tells about the lack of a real Mass – with Eucharistic bread and wine – in a Soviet prison. Because for many years, he quietly offered the so-called “dry mass” – that is, without bread and wine – alone in his cell. However, despite being “buried alive” – that’s how he described his condition – and no longer hoping to escape from Vladimir prison, in 1952 he received a missal and some money through the Italian embassy in Moscow. The condition of the Jesuit prisoner improved to such an extent that he was able to buy everything he needed in prison to celebrate the true Mass in complete secrecy.
The priest says that the possibility of the extraordinary exceptional grace to offer the true Mass dawned on him even more clearly in 1954, just before the liberation, when he was transferred to a common cell. There, one prisoner, a French officer (name not mentioned), told about 1952. Easter spent together with young Poles, Lithuanians, Belarusians and Ukrainians, as well as with the Lithuanian archbishop M. Reinis (in the text, P. Alagiani SJ writes “Renes”). “His Excellency had prepared all Catholics for Easter Communion. However, immediately after the distribution of Communion, before the end of the Mass, the guards noticed this and a group of them broke into the cell and confiscated everything they could get their hands on. All luck, the French officer finished the story, we managed to save the bag with the Most Holy One just in time…!”
Jesuit Vol. Mr. Alagiani SJ’s memoirs were published in Italian. The priest from Ardakan (Iran) belonged to the Italian Jesuit Province. in 1942 was arrested by the Russians for the second time while serving as a chaplain in the Italian army. After returning to freedom, he made a noise Silent Churches being abused at conferences in Italy and elsewhere in the world. in 1981 On March 5, Pietro Alagiani SJ died in Rome and was buried in the Jesuit cemetery in the Verano cemetery. (SAK / Vatican News)