Members Bishops Emeriti + Cardinal Sigitas Tamkevičius SJ

Cardinal Sigitas Tamkevičius SJ

Msgr. Sigitas Tamkevičius SJ

Rotušės a. 14A
LT-44279 Kaunas

Tel. (+370-37) 40 90 26
Fax (+370-37) 32 00 90

Born 7 November 1938
Ordained 18 April 1962
Consecrated 19 May 1991
Archbishop emeritus of Kaunas since 11 July 2015
Cardinal 5 October 2019

Sigitas Tamkevičius was born on November 7, 1938, in the village of Gudonys (district of Lazdijai). After having graduated the secondary school in Seirijai in 1955 he entered the Interdiocesan Seminary in Kaunas. In 1957 S. Tamkevičius had to interrupt the studies in the seminary because of the obligatory military service. He continued his studies of theology after the military service and graduated the seminary in 1962. On April 18, 1962, S. Tamkevičius was ordained priest by the bishop P. Maželis. In the following years Rev. S. Tamkevičius ministered as vicar in the parishes of Alytus, Lazdijai, Kudirkos Naumiestis, Prienai, Simnas. In 1968 he entered the Society of Jesus. (Catholic religious congregations were illegal according to Soviet law). Rev. S. Tamkevičius was among the initiators of the petition action protesting against the Soviet discriminating restrictions considering the conditions of the Interdiocesan theological seminary in Kaunas. Because of that Soviet authorities forbade Fr. Tamkevičius to exercise his priestly ministry. He worked in the factory and in the land reclamation area for one year.

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

In 1989 the Lithuanian Bishops' Conference appointed Fr. Tamkevičius to the position of spiritual director in the Interdiocesan Seminary of Kaunas. In 1990 he was appointed rector of the seminary.

On May 19, 1991 Fr. Sigitas Tamkevičius SJ was consecrated and appointed auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Kaunas. On May 4, 1996 Msgr. S. Tamkevičius was appointed archbishop of Kaunas. 1999–2002 and 2005-2014 archbishop Sigitas Tamkevičius SJ was president, and 2002–2005 vice-president of Lithuanian Bishops' Conference.

2005-2015 archbishop S. Tamkevičius SJ served as a president of the Commission for Media of social communication and the 2011-2014 chairman of the Council for Social Affairs of Lithuanian Bishops‘ Conference.

On July 11, 2015 Pope Francis accepted the resignation of archbishop S. Tamkevičius SJ and appointed bishop L. Virbalas SJ the archbishop of Kaunas.

Archbishop S. Tamkevičius SJ was elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals on October 5, 2019.