Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevicius, MIC
A Biographical Sketch

[1920-2000] RIP

Archbishop Emeritus of Kaunas and Cardinal Priest of Spiritu Santo alla Ferratella

  • Born in Lithuania on August 20, 1920, in Guroniai, in the parish of Zasliai, he began his studies in a Jesuit high school.

  • He entered the seminary of the Marian Fathers (MIC) and was ordained on March 25, 1944.

  • In 1952, he became a professor of dogmatic theology at the seminary of Kaunas

  • On November 14, 1957, he was made titular bishop of Abora. The local Communist government refused to recognize this nomination, however, and so compelled him to retire to a parish in the country.

  • On July 15, 1982, John Paul II appointed him Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Kaisiadorys.

  • In April, 1988, he was named president of the Lithuanian Episcopal Conference and elevated to the College of Cardinals by John Paul II during the Consistory of June 28, 1988, when it was made public that he had been named a cardinal in pectore (in secret) by the pope in 1979.

  • On March 10, 1989, he was transferred to the archdiocese of Kaunas where he remained until his death in May 2000, just before his 80th birthday.

Education:  Seminary of Kaunas, Kaunas; Theological Faculty, Kaunas.

Priesthood:  Ordained, March 25, 1944. From 1944-1959, pastoral work in diocese of Kaisiadorys; faculty member, prefect of studies and of discipline, seminary of Kaunas, Kaunas.

Episcopate:  Elected titular bishop of Abora and auxiliary, sedis datus, of Kaisiadorys, November 14, 1957. Consecrated, December 25, 1957, Kaisiadorys, by Teofilius Matulionis, bishop of Kaisiadorys. Auxiliary sedi datus, 1963. Impeded from exercising his episcopal ministry by the government, resided in Neumunelio Radviliskis, diocese of Panevezys, under virtual house arrest from 1963 to 1982. Appointed apostolic administrator ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of Kasiadorys, July 15, 1982. President of Episcopal Conference of Lithuania, April 27, 1988.

Cardinalate:  Created cardinal priest, June 28, 1988; received red biretta and title of Spirito Santo alla Ferratella, June 28, 1988. Promoted to metropolitan see of Kaunas, March 10, 1989. Attended Special Assembly of World Synod of Bishops for Europe, Vatican City, November 28-December 14, 1991. Joined Congregation of Marian Clerics of Immaculate Conception, 1993. Resigned pastoral government of archdiocese, May 4, 1996.

Death:  May 28, 2000, Kaunas. Buried in the metropolitan cathedral-basilica, Kaunas. 2013                    home                    contact