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Pope Francis has set the date for beatification of Lithuanian Archbishop Teofilius Matulionis – he will be announced blessed in Vilnius on June 25.
Teofilius  Matulionis. 1935
Teofilius Matulionis. 1935

Secretariat of the Lithuanian Conference of Bishops said this would be the first beatification ceremony in Lithuania.

"The life of the honorable Teofilius Matulionis witnessed courage and strength, which helped the ordinary person resist the system that contemned freedom of conscience and religion. The archbishop was not sentenced to 16years in prison and four under house arrest for crimes but because of the hatred of the Christian belief," reads the press release.

Beatification is not just recognition of an individual's virtue but especially the recognition of God's work via the person, archbishops said.

Matulionis was born in 1873 in the current Molėtai district, studied at the Daugavpils Gymnasium and the Petrapilis Seminary before being ordained to the priesthood in 1900. He was a priest in Latvia and Russia before being arrested in 1923 and being repeatedly sent to prison or labor camps. Pope John XXII granted him the title of archbishop in 1962 for his outstanding loyalty to the Catholic Church. During a search of his apartment in Šeduva, northern Lithuania, that August, he was injected with an unknown substance and died three days later.

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