Russian Catholic on Trial for Publishing Pope’s Prayer for Peace

Konstantin Jankauskas, deputy of the Zjuzino district, is due to appear in court on 26 August. He is charged with ‘discrediting the armed forces,’ having published the Pope’s supplication on the day of the consecration of Russia and Ukraine to Our Lady.

Newsroom (25/08/2022 3:00 PM Gaudium PressIn Moscow, a deputy of the Zjuzino district, Catholic Konstantin Jankauskas, has been fined and put on trial for discrediting the armed forces. He is guilty of having published Pope Francis’ prayer for peace on his Facebook page on the day of his consecration to Our Lady on 14 March, calling for an end to military action in Ukraine.

Pope Francis recalled that “the city bearing the name of the Virgin Mary to whom we addressed our prayers, Mariupol, has become a city-martyr of the war that destroys souls and is exhausting Ukraine… With a heart full of sorrow I join my voice to that of the ordinary people, who are asking for an end to the war. In the name of God, may the voice of those who suffer be heard, may the attacks and bombings be stopped!” quoting the words spoken by the pontiff during the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The appeal hearing at the Zjuzino district court takes place tomorrow, 26 August 2022, and Konstantin confesses that he “doesn’t quite know what to say to the judge: how can prayer for peace and life be a discredit to anyone? It seems absurd to me, an attempt to call white black.”

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Jankauskas is 40 years old and was born in Moscow into a family of Lithuanian origin, as his surname, of Catholic tradition, attests. An economist specializing in the market, he graduated in political science from the Faculty of Philosophy at Mgu University, studying the relationship between the state and civil society.

Konstantin has been a deputy in the Zjuzino municipality since 2012, re-elected in 2017, and in 2014 he also ran for the Moscow Duma. At the time, however, he was blocked by a criminal charge related to the Naval’nyj group’s campaign financing when it won over 30% in the Moscow mayoral elections in 2013, the best result of the opposition in the Putin era. He denounced the accusation as trumped-up and fabricated but was placed under house arrest for a few days, the very days in which he had to submit his nomination papers for the elections. He tried again in 2016 in the State Duma elections, taking fourth place in the uninominal constituency with 8.22% of the vote.

In 2019 he made another attempt to run for parliament. During the election campaign, searches were carried out in the flats of his parents and grandmother, and he himself was arrested four times. Between 2020 and 2021, he was again put in custody for the so-called ‘sanitary action,’ the mass arrests justified by the anti-Covid measures of the pro-Naval’nyj protesters, after his poisoning and arrest on his return to Russia.

On this occasion, Jankauskas was recognized as a ‘political prisoner’ by the Memorial association, which was later dissolved by the Moscow court at the request of the authorities.

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His father, Stasis Jankauskas, married to the journalist Olga Gorelik, was also a university professor and never hid his religious convictions, for which he was dismissed several times in the days of Soviet atheism. Konstantin’s family members have invited all interested persons to attend the trial for ‘papal discreditation’; many will join the desire for peace that is not only for Catholics but for all people of goodwill in Russia as well as in Ukraine and the whole world.

– Raju Hasmukh

(With files from



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