First Lithuanian martyr during Communist regime is declared "blessed"
The ceremony was attended by around 30,000 people in Vilnius, the country's capital. In addition to 500 priests, there were also around 50 bishops and cardinals there, including the prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato.
Teofilius' casket was carried in by military forces, and flowers were placed around, as attendees could see a photo of this martyr and remember his life, which is remembered for bravery and resistance.
Became a priest in the early 1900s, Teofilius was in and out of prison multiple times for refusing to comply with rules against the Church set by the communist government. After the second Bolshevik attack on Lithuania he was quoted for saying, "I will stay with my own people. I am not afraid of being persecuted. When I pray, I have no fear."
This courage led to his death. He spent 15 years in prisons and communist labor camps and was finally killed with a lethal injection, making him the first Catholic martyr recognized by the Church from the communist era.
Now, with this official document, he is now one step closer to becoming an official saint in the Catholic Church.