Sigitas Tamkevičius

His Excellency
Sigitas Tamkevičius
Archbishop of Kaunas
President of the Lithuanian Bishops' Conference

Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevičius
Church Roman Catholic
Archdiocese Kaunas
Appointed 4 May 1996
Predecessor Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevičius
Other posts Auxiliary Bishop of Kaunas (1991-1996)
Ordination 18 April 1962
Consecration 19 May 1991
by Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevičius
Personal details
Born (1938-11-07) November 7, 1938
Gudonys, Lithuania
Nationality Lithuanian
Coat of arms

Sigitas Tamkevičius (born November 7, 1938 in Gudonys, in Lazdijai district) is a Lithuanian archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as Archbishop of Kaunas.

After having graduated the secondary school in Seirijai in 1955 he entered the Kaunas Priest Seminary. He continued his theology studies after some years of the military service in Soviet Army and graduated the seminary in 1962. Tamkevičius was ordained priest by the bishop P. Maželis on April 18, 1962. In the following years he ministered as vicar in the parishes of Alytus, Lazdijai, Kudirkos Naumiestis, Prienai, Simnas. In 1968 Tamkevičius entered the Society of Jesus, which was then illegal according to Soviet law. Tamkevičius was among the initiators of the petition action protesting against the Soviet discriminating restrictions considering the conditions of Kaunas Priest Seminary. Because of that Soviet authorities forbade Tamkevičius to exercise his priestly ministry. He worked in the factory and in the land-reclamation area for one year.

While being vicar in Simnas parish, Tamkevičius initiated the underground publication of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church of Lithuania in 1972. The Chronicle registered and made public in the West the facts of religious discrimination in Soviet Lithuania. The underground publications were persecuted by KGB. Tamkevičius was the pastor of Kybartai parish from 1975 until 1983. At the same time he was the editor of The Chronicle for 11 years until his arrest in 1983. Tamkevičius together with four other Lithuanian priests founded the Catholic Committee for Defense of the Believers’ Rights in 1978. Tamkevičius was arrested and put under trial, being accused for alleged anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation in 1983. He was sentenced with ten years term of the prison and exile. Tamkevičius spent his prison term in the labor camps of Perm and Mordovia. He was exiled to Siberia in 1988. Due to liberalization of Soviet politics caused by perestroika, Sigitas Tamkevičius was set free.

The Lithuanian Bishops' Conference appointed Tamkevičius to the position of spiritual director in the Kaunas Priest Seminary in 1989. He was appointed rector of the Seminary in 1990. Tamkevičius was consecrated bishop and appointed auxiliary of the archbishop of Kaunas on May 19, 1991. Sigitas Tamkevičius was appointed archbishop of Kaunas on May 4, 1996. Within the Lithuanian Episcopal Conference, he has been President (1999–2002, 2005–2008, and 2008–present) and Vice-President (2002–2005).



    Further reading

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