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The Russian Orthodox Church 1
Heading: The Russian Orthodox Church
Your name:
Course name:
Professors’ name:
Date
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The Russian Orthodox Church 2
Introduction
Under the Soviet Union, religion suppression and control were the order of the day. Many
religious people were persecuted and others were killed because the leadership then wanted to
maintain an atheist society that had no spiritual influence. This paper seeks to explore ways in
which the Russian Orthodox Church managed to survive under the Soviet Union. In order to
effectively do this, the paper intends to explore the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, and
its status under the rule of the Soviet Union.
Soviet Union stance
McGuckin (2011, pp. 254-260) notes that the Christianity’s history in the Soviet Union
was not restricted to secularization and repression. The Soviet policy towards religion was
founded on Marxism-Leninism ideology that made atheism the only official religion in the
Soviet Union. Marxism-Leninism has constantly campaigned for suppression, control, and
eventually the elimination of any religious beliefs in the region. The state was determined to
destroy religion, and hence, it destroyed mosques, temples, and churches. It also harassed,
ridiculed, and executed numerous religious leaders, flooded medial and schools with atheistic
propaganda, and commonly promoted scientific atheism as the only truth that the society ought
to accept (Fahlbusch 2008, pp. 140-145). Nevertheless, religious practices and beliefs among the
most people, in private and domestic spheres, but also dispersed public spaces permitted by a
state, which noticed its failure to totally eliminate religion and political risks of an insistent
culture war.
The Soviet rule was apparently determined to total extinction of religious ideas and
institutions. Instead, the militant atheism was significant to the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union’s Ideology, and all the Soviet leaders’ top priority. According to communism, religion
Showing Page:
3/10
The Russian Orthodox Church 3
was unimportant in the society and thus, it sought to eradicate it completely. This is because
convinced atheists were viewed as more virtuous people as compared to religious belief. The
state, therefore, declared atheism to be the only scientific truth. State’s anti-religious policies or
atheism criticisms were prohibited, and could cause arrest, retirement, and imprisonment
(McGuckin 2011, pp. 254-260). Religion was never formally outlawed, and the Soviet legislation
usually guaranteed people the right to believe. Nevertheless, because Marxist ideology as
explained by Lenin and his successors declared that religion was a hindrance to the building of a
communist society, eradicating all religion and bringing atheism in its place.
Besides, Fahlbusch (2008, pp. 140-145) asserts that the state officially persecuted religion
by use of numerous legal measures, which were made to bar religious activities, a great volume
of anti-religious propaganda, and education through different other means. Nonetheless, the
formal persecution of religion was accompanied by a lot of secret instructions, which remained
informal. Moreover, McGuckin (2011, pp. 254-260) says that the state controlled religious
bodies, and hamper their activities with a final goal of eliminating them. The official
persecutions carried out by the state were commonly masked under euphemisms in formal party
documents like “struggle against bourgeois ideology” “dissemination of materialistic ideology”
among others. Besides, the government usually objected the idea of regarding religious people as
public enemies, because of pragmatic considerations of many people committed to faith, and that
there was a belief that many of the loyal Soviet citizens were among the religious believers who
should be persuaded to join atheisms instead of attacking them.
McGuckin (2011, pp. 254-260), maintains that religious believers were commonly
subject to anti-religious propaganda, a constitution that limited their religious practice, or
suffered limitations within Soviet society. Nevertheless, due to the aforementioned paradigm,
Showing Page:
4/10
The Russian Orthodox Church 4
they were seldom formally ever subject to imprisonment, arrest, or death basically for their
beliefs, but always suffered during persecution because of some perception that they resisted the
state’s broad campaign against religion. This campaign was made to spread atheism, and the
state employed acts of terror and violence, while almost formally invoking them on the basis of
their perceived resistance to the government. Largely, these acts were not just designed to root
out rebellion, but as a way of totally eradicating religion in the society (Lindsay 2011).
Soviet tactics of suppressing religion
McGuckin (2011, pp. 254-260) maintains that the state employed various tactics over the
years, changing between moderate and harsh at varied times. Some of the common tactics used
include ridiculing religion, confiscating church property, harassing believers, and propagating
atheism in media and schools. However, the state had to determine various actions directed to
specific religions, and religions that were considered to be the most organized were not banned.
Some of the actions towards Orthodox believers and priests included execution, torture, being
sent to labor camps, prison camps, or mental hospitals. Many of the Orthodox believers were put
in psychological punishment, torture, and mind control experimentation so as to coerce them to
abandon their religious convictions. Within the first years of the Soviet reign, the Bolsheviks
killed 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than Russian Orthodox priests. Many other
believers in this category were exiled and others imprisoned.
In the Soviet Union, Lindsay (2011) alongside the destruction and closure of churches,
the social work and charitable work officially carried out by ecclesiastical authorities was
controlled by the state. Moreover, every private property belonging to the church was
confiscated into public utilization. The few worship places spared for the church were lawfully
considered as state property that the government allowed the church to utilize. On the other hand,
Showing Page:
5/10
The Russian Orthodox Church 5
the protestant Christians in the USSR like the Pentecostals, Baptists, and Adventists, endured
prisons and trials, and sent to mental hospitals. Some were deprived of their parental rights
(Ramet 2006, pp. 107-120).
History of the Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church is estimated to be older than a thousand years. As per
tradition, St. Andrew the First Called, when spreading the gospel, stopped at Kievan hills to give
blessings to the future Kiev city. Since Russia was among the city’s neighbors and had a strong
Christian state (the Byzantine Empire), it contributed greatly to the dissemination of Christianity
in it. The southern part of Russia was blessed by Methodius Equal to the Apostles and Sts Cyril,
the Illuminators of Slavs (Ramet 2006, pp. 107-120). It is believed that Princess Olga of Kiev
was baptized in 954; hence, paving way for the most significant events in the Russian people’s
history. These events include Prince Vladimir’s baptism. During the pre-Tartar period the
Russian Church was among metropolitanates of the Constantinople’s Patriarchate. At the head
of the church, the Metropolitan was appointed by Constantinople’s Patriarchate form Greek, but
Russian-born Metropolitan Illarion was placed at the primatial see in 1051 (McGuckin 2011, pp.
254-260).
Majestic churches and monasteries began to be built in the 10
th
Century and 11
th
Century
respectively. St. Anthony of the Caves introduced traditions of Anthonia monasticism to Russia
in 1051. He established the famous Monastery of the Caves in Kiev that would become Old
Russia’s religious center. Monasteries played significant roles in Russia by providing pure
spiritual work, and were used as education centers (McGuckin 2011, pp. 254-260). Monasteries
were influential in recording in their chronicles all the key historical events that took place in
Russia. Moreover, the allowed people learn literary art and icon-painting. Others activities in the
Showing Page:
6/10
The Russian Orthodox Church 6
monasteries included translation of different historical, theological, and literary works into
Russian (The Russian Orthodox Church, pp. 1-20).
In the 12
th
century, there were many feudal divisions, but the Russian Church remained
the only group that bore the idea of unity among Russian people. The church resisted the feudal
strife and centrifugal aspirations among Russian princes. The greatest misfortune in Russia in
13
th
century, the Tartar invasion, never managed to break the Russian Orthodox Church. The
church survived as an actual force and was the people’s comforter during the time of plight. In
fact, the church made a big spiritual, moral and material contribution to the restoration of the
Russian political unity as an assurance of its future triumph over their enemies (Lindsay 2011).
In the 14
th
century, separated Russian principalities started to unite around Moscow. The
Russian Orthodox Church persistently played a significant role in the process of reviving the
unified Russia. At that moment, the extraordinary Russian bishops assumed the roles spiritual
assistants and guides to Princes of Moscow (Ramet 2006, pp. 107-120). St. Metropolitan Alexis
of 1354-1378 participated in the education of Prince Dimitry Donskoy. He later helped the
Prince of Moscow to end feudal discords and safeguard the state’s unity. St. Sergius of
Radonezh, an immense abstinent of the Russian Church, and blessed Prince Dimitry Donskoy to
take part in the Kulikovo Battle that paved way to the start of Russia’s liberation from the
invaders (The Russian Orthodox Church, pp. 1-20).
In addition, Fahlbusch (2008, pp. 140-145) says that monasteries made immense
contribution to the perpetuation of the Russian national identity and self-consciousness in the
time of Tatar yoke, and Western influences. During its liberation form enemies, Russia and the
Russian Orthodox Church gathered strength. Nonetheless, the start of the 17
th
century became a
hard time for Russia because of the Poles and Swedes invasion form west. This is the period in
Showing Page:
7/10
The Russian Orthodox Church 7
which the Russian Orthodox Church played a vital role of maintaining its patriotic duty. Ramet
(2006, pp. 107-120) a substantial contribution was made by Patriarch Nikon, a church reformer
and a bright personality.
Ramet (2006, pp. 107-120) upon driving away the invaders in Russia, the Russian
Orthodox Church got engaged in one of the main interior activities that included introduction of
service rites and books. At the start of the 18
th
Century, in Russian was marked fundamental
reforms conducted by Peter I. The reforms never left the Russian Orthodox Church untouched
because after Patriarch Adrian’s death in 1700 Peter I delayed the new Primate of Church’s
elections. He then started a common supreme administration in 1721 in Holy and Governing
Synod. The Synod remained the church’s supreme body in the Russian Church for about two
centuries (Garrard 2008, pp. 1-20). In the Synodal period between 1721-1917, the Russian
Church gave a special notice to the growth of religious mission and education in provinces. The
old churches were renovated and the new ones were built. Besides, the start of the 19
th
century
had great work of outstanding theologians. The Russian theologians contributed a lot in the
development of sciences, such as, linguistics, history and oriental studies. Moreover, in the 20
th
century, there were emergence of great examples of Russian sanctity like St. Seraphim of Sarov
and Glinsky Hermitages, and Starets of Optina (Fahlbusch 2008, pp. 140-145).
Still in the 20
th
century, the Russian Orthodox Church started preparations for the
assembling of an All-Russian Council. But it was set to be convened only after the Revolution of
the 1917. Some of the key actions included the reinstatement of the patriarchal office in the
Russian Orthodox Church. The council managed to elect Metropolitan Tikhon of All Russia and
Moscow Patriarch from 1917 to 1925 (Fahlbusch 2008, pp. 140-145). St. Tikhon of Moscow put
a lot of effort to calm the negative passions brought about by the revolution. The Holy Council
Showing Page:
8/10
The Russian Orthodox Church 8
issued a message on 11 November, 1917 that was totally against rivalry, fighting and the entire
revolution. It advocated for unity and brotherhood among God’s people (The Russian Orthodox
Church, pp. 1-20).
Nevertheless, Lindsay (2011) says that the Bolsheviks that took over power in 1917
considered the Russian Orthodox Church as an ideological opponent a priori, as a tsarist Russia’s
institutional part it determinedly protected the old administration even after the October revolt.
That is why thousands of clergymen, many bishops, nuns and monks, and lay people were
subdued up to murder and execution striking in its violence. 1992-1922 the Soviet government
demanded that the church proceeds should be given to the people starving because their crops
failed; a fateful disagreement erupted between the new authorities and the church who decided to
take the opportunity to destroy the Church completely (Ramet 2006, pp. 107-120).
Fahlbusch (2008, pp. 140-145) notes that at the start of the World War II, the church
structure was absolutely destroyed all over the country. It is at this time that a majority of the
clergy was persecuted, executed and even imprisoned. A few bishops that remained free could
perform their duties and responsibilities. Some of the managed survive the hard times in isolated
parts, or under disguise of priests. A few hundreds of churches were established for services
across the Soviet Union. The catastrophic course of battle at the start of the World War II
compelled Stalin to mobilize all national resources to defend the country, and the Russian
Orthodox Church acted as the people’s moral force.
Lindsay (2011) says that churches were opened for services, and clergy and bishops were
freed from prisons without further delay. The Russian Church never limited itself to giving moral
and spiritual support to the motherland in danger. It also rendered material assistance by offering
funds for all types of things up to army uniform. This is referred to as the rapprochement
Showing Page:
9/10
The Russian Orthodox Church 9
between the state and church in a patriotic union, culminated in Stalin’s receiving on September
4, 1943 Metropolitan Alexy Simansky, Patriarchal Locum Tenes Metropolitan Sergiy
Stragorodsky and Nikolay Yarushevich. Therefore, despite the state’s campaign against religion,
it is clear that the church managed to survive it all.
Conclusion
Under the Soviet Union, it is explicit that the Russian Orthodox Church went through
tough times. The Soviet Union leaders were determined to control, suppress and completely
terminate any form of religion in the region. In order to attain this, the soviet leadership
employed various tactics like ridiculing religion, confiscating church property, and harassing
believers. Instead, the Soviet Union rulers wanted to spread the atheism as advocated by Marxist
and Leninism ideology. Despite the persecutions of bishops, priests, and many believers, the
Church managed to survive it all. Some of the priests and bishops disguised themselves like
priests. The church survived the suppression through its works of preaching unity, peace and
providing moral support and guidance to the Soviet Union during its hard times.
Showing Page:
10/10
The Russian Orthodox Church 10
References
Fahlbusch, E 2008, The encyclopedia of Christianity, Wm. B. Eerdmans Brill, Grand Rapids,
Mich. Leiden, Netherlands. Pp. 140-145.
Garrard, J 2008, Russian Orthodoxy resurgent: faith and power in the new Russia,
Princeton University Press, Princeton. Pp. 1-20
Lindsay, R 2011, Rapprochement between the Orthodox Church and the USSR. Retrieved on
March 6
th
2012.http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/rapproachment-between-
the-orthodox-church-and-the-ussr/
McGuckin, JA 2011, The encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Wiley-Blackwell,
Chichester, West Sussex, U.K. Malden, MA. Pp. 254-260.
Ramet, S 2006, Religious Policy in the Soviet Union, Cambridge Univ Pr., Cambridge, UK: Pp.
107-120.
The Russian Orthodox Church. History and Influence. A curriculum unit for grades 6-10.
http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/creees/_files/pdf/curriculum/CREEES-developed-
units/russian_orthodox.pdf

Unformatted Attachment Preview

The Russian Orthodox Church 1 Heading: The Russian Orthodox Church Your name: Course name: Professors’ name: Date The Russian Orthodox Church 2 Introduction Under the Soviet Union, religion suppression and control were the order of the day. Many religious people were persecuted and others were killed because the leadership then wanted to maintain an atheist society that had no spiritual influence. This paper seeks to explore ways in which the Russian Orthodox Church managed to survive under the Soviet Union. In order to effectively do this, the paper intends to explore the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, and its status under the rule of the Soviet Union. Soviet Union stance McGuckin (2011, pp. 254-260) notes that the Christianity’s history in the Soviet Union was not restricted to secularization and repression. The Soviet policy towards religion was founded on Marxism-Leninism ideology that made atheism the only official religion in the Soviet Union. Marxism-Leninism has constantly campaigned for suppression, control, and eventually the elimination of any religious beliefs in the region. The state was determined to destroy religion, and hence, it destroyed mosques, temples, and churches. It also harassed, ridiculed, and executed numerous religious leaders, flooded medial and schools with atheistic propaganda, and commonly promoted scientific atheism as the only truth that the society ought to accept (Fahlbusch 2008, pp. 140-145). Nevertheless, religious practices and beliefs among the most people, in private and domestic spheres, but also dispersed public spaces permitted by a state, which noticed its failure to totally eliminate religion and political risks of an insistent culture war. The Soviet rule was apparently determined to total extinction of religious ideas and institutions. Instead, the militant atheism was significant to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Ideology, and all the Soviet leaders’ top priority. According to communism, religion The Russian Orthodox Church 3 was unimportant in the society and thus, it sought to eradicate it completely. This is because convinced atheists were viewed as more virtuous people as compared to religious belief. The state, therefore, declared atheism to be the only scientific truth. State’s anti-religious policies or atheism criticisms were prohibited, and could cause arrest, retirement, and imprisonment (McGuckin 2011, pp. 254-260). Religion was never formally outlawed, and the Soviet legislation usually guaranteed people the right to believe. Nevertheless, because Marxist ideology as explained by Lenin and his successors declared that religion was a hindrance to the building of a communist society, eradicating all religion and bringing atheism in its place. Besides, Fahlbusch (2008, pp. 140-145) asserts that the state officially persecuted religion by use of numerous legal measures, which were made to bar religious activities, a great volume of anti-religious propaganda, and education through different other means. Nonetheless, the formal persecution of religion was accompanied by a lot of secret instructions, which remained informal. Moreover, McGuckin (2011, pp. 254-260) says that the state controlled religious bodies, and hamper their activities with a final goal of eliminating them. The official persecutions carried out by the state were commonly masked under euphemisms in formal party documents like “struggle against bourgeois ideology” “dissemination of materialistic ideology” among others. Besides, the government usually objected the idea of regarding religious people as public enemies, because of pragmatic considerations of many people committed to faith, and that there was a belief that many of the loyal Soviet citizens were among the religious believers who should be persuaded to join atheisms instead of attacking them. McGuckin (2011, pp. 254-260), maintains that religious believers were commonly subject to anti-religious propaganda, a constitution that limited their religious practice, or suffered limitations within Soviet society. Nevertheless, due to the aforementioned paradigm, The Russian Orthodox Church 4 they were seldom formally ever subject to imprisonment, arrest, or death basically for their beliefs, but always suffered during persecution because of some perception that they resisted the state’s broad campaign against religion. This campaign was made to spread atheism, and the state employed acts of terror and violence, while almost formally invoking them on the basis of their perceived resistance to the government. Largely, these acts were not just designed to root out rebellion, but as a way of totally eradicating religion in the society (Lindsay 2011). Soviet tactics of suppressing religion McGuckin (2011, pp. 254-260) maintains that the state employed various tactics over the years, changing between moderate and harsh at varied times. Some of the common tactics used include ridiculing religion, confiscating church property, harassing believers, and propagating atheism in media and schools. However, the state had to determine various actions directed to specific religions, and religions that were considered to be the most organized were not banned. Some of the actions towards Orthodox believers and priests included execution, torture, being sent to labor camps, prison camps, or mental hospitals. Many of the Orthodox believers were put in psychological punishment, torture, and mind control experimentation so as to coerce them to abandon their religious convictions. Within the first years of the Soviet reign, the Bolsheviks killed 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than Russian Orthodox priests. Many other believers in this category were exiled and others imprisoned. In the Soviet Union, Lindsay (2011) alongside the destruction and closure of churches, the social work and charitable work officially carried out by ecclesiastical authorities was controlled by the state. Moreover, every private property belonging to the church was confiscated into public utilization. The few worship places spared for the church were lawfully considered as state property that the government allowed the church to utilize. On the other hand, The Russian Orthodox Church 5 the protestant Christians in the USSR like the Pentecostals, Baptists, and Adventists, endured prisons and trials, and sent to mental hospitals. Some were deprived of their parental rights (Ramet 2006, pp. 107-120). History of the Russian Orthodox Church The Russian Orthodox Church is estimated to be older than a thousand years. As per tradition, St. Andrew the First Called, when spreading the gospel, stopped at Kievan hills to give blessings to the future Kiev city. Since Russia was among the city’s neighbors and had a strong Christian state (the Byzantine Empire), it contributed greatly to the dissemination of Christianity in it. The southern part of Russia was blessed by Methodius Equal to the Apostles and Sts Cyril, the Illuminators of Slavs (Ramet 2006, pp. 107-120). It is believed that Princess Olga of Kiev was baptized in 954; hence, paving way for the most significant events in the Russian people’s history. These events include Prince Vladimir’s baptism. During the pre-Tartar period the Russian Church was among metropolitanates of the Constantinople’s Patriarchate. At the head of the church, the Metropolitan was appointed by Constantinople’s Patriarchate form Greek, but Russian-born Metropolitan Illarion was placed at the primatial see in 1051 (McGuckin 2011, pp. 254-260). Majestic churches and monasteries began to be built in the 10th Century and 11th Century respectively. St. Anthony of the Caves introduced traditions of Anthonia monasticism to Russia in 1051. He established the famous Monastery of the Caves in Kiev that would become Old Russia’s religious center. Monasteries played significant roles in Russia by providing pure spiritual work, and were used as education centers (McGuckin 2011, pp. 254-260). Monasteries were influential in recording in their chronicles all the key historical events that took place in Russia. Moreover, the allowed people learn literary art and icon-painting. Others activities in the The Russian Orthodox Church 6 monasteries included translation of different historical, theological, and literary works into Russian (The Russian Orthodox Church, pp. 1-20). In the 12th century, there were many feudal divisions, but the Russian Church remained the only group that bore the idea of unity among Russian people. The church resisted the feudal strife and centrifugal aspirations among Russian princes. The greatest misfortune in Russia in 13th century, the Tartar invasion, never managed to break the Russian Orthodox Church. The church survived as an actual force and was the people’s comforter during the time of plight. In fact, the church made a big spiritual, moral and material contribution to the restoration of the Russian political unity as an assurance of its future triumph over their enemies (Lindsay 2011). In the 14th century, separated Russian principalities started to unite around Moscow. The Russian Orthodox Church persistently played a significant role in the process of reviving the unified Russia. At that moment, the extraordinary Russian bishops assumed the roles spiritual assistants and guides to Princes of Moscow (Ramet 2006, pp. 107-120). St. Metropolitan Alexis of 1354-1378 participated in the education of Prince Dimitry Donskoy. He later helped the Prince of Moscow to end feudal discords and safeguard the state’s unity. St. Sergius of Radonezh, an immense abstinent of the Russian Church, and blessed Prince Dimitry Donskoy to take part in the Kulikovo Battle that paved way to the start of Russia’s liberation from the invaders (The Russian Orthodox Church, pp. 1-20). In addition, Fahlbusch (2008, pp. 140-145) says that monasteries made immense contribution to the perpetuation of the Russian national identity and self-consciousness in the time of Tatar yoke, and Western influences. During its liberation form enemies, Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church gathered strength. Nonetheless, the start of the 17th century became a hard time for Russia because of the Poles and Swedes invasion form west. This is the period in The Russian Orthodox Church 7 which the Russian Orthodox Church played a vital role of maintaining its patriotic duty. Ramet (2006, pp. 107-120) a substantial contribution was made by Patriarch Nikon, a church reformer and a bright personality. Ramet (2006, pp. 107-120) upon driving away the invaders in Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church got engaged in one of the main interior activities that included introduction of service rites and books. At the start of the 18th Century, in Russian was marked fundamental reforms conducted by Peter I. The reforms never left the Russian Orthodox Church untouched because after Patriarch Adrian’s death in 1700 Peter I delayed the new Primate of Church’s elections. He then started a common supreme administration in 1721 in Holy and Governing Synod. The Synod remained the church’s supreme body in the Russian Church for about two centuries (Garrard 2008, pp. 1-20). In the Synodal period between 1721-1917, the Russian Church gave a special notice to the growth of religious mission and education in provinces. The old churches were renovated and the new ones were built. Besides, the start of the 19th century had great work of outstanding theologians. The Russian theologians contributed a lot in the development of sciences, such as, linguistics, history and oriental studies. Moreover, in the 20th century, there were emergence of great examples of Russian sanctity like St. Seraphim of Sarov and Glinsky Hermitages, and Starets of Optina (Fahlbusch 2008, pp. 140-145). Still in the 20th century, the Russian Orthodox Church started preparations for the assembling of an All-Russian Council. But it was set to be convened only after the Revolution of the 1917. Some of the key actions included the reinstatement of the patriarchal office in the Russian Orthodox Church. The council managed to elect Metropolitan Tikhon of All Russia and Moscow Patriarch from 1917 to 1925 (Fahlbusch 2008, pp. 140-145). St. Tikhon of Moscow put a lot of effort to calm the negative passions brought about by the revolution. The Holy Council The Russian Orthodox Church 8 issued a message on 11 November, 1917 that was totally against rivalry, fighting and the entire revolution. It advocated for unity and brotherhood among God’s people (The Russian Orthodox Church, pp. 1-20). Nevertheless, Lindsay (2011) says that the Bolsheviks that took over power in 1917 considered the Russian Orthodox Church as an ideological opponent a priori, as a tsarist Russia’s institutional part it determinedly protected the old administration even after the October revolt. That is why thousands of clergymen, many bishops, nuns and monks, and lay people were subdued up to murder and execution striking in its violence. 1992-1922 the Soviet government demanded that the church proceeds should be given to the people starving because their crops failed; a fateful disagreement erupted between the new authorities and the church who decided to take the opportunity to destroy the Church completely (Ramet 2006, pp. 107-120). Fahlbusch (2008, pp. 140-145) notes that at the start of the World War II, the church structure was absolutely destroyed all over the country. It is at this time that a majority of the clergy was persecuted, executed and even imprisoned. A few bishops that remained free could perform their duties and responsibilities. Some of the managed survive the hard times in isolated parts, or under disguise of priests. A few hundreds of churches were established for services across the Soviet Union. The catastrophic course of battle at the start of the World War II compelled Stalin to mobilize all national resources to defend the country, and the Russian Orthodox Church acted as the people’s moral force. Lindsay (2011) says that churches were opened for services, and clergy and bishops were freed from prisons without further delay. The Russian Church never limited itself to giving moral and spiritual support to the motherland in danger. It also rendered material assistance by offering funds for all types of things up to army uniform. This is referred to as the rapprochement The Russian Orthodox Church 9 between the state and church in a patriotic union, culminated in Stalin’s receiving on September 4, 1943 Metropolitan Alexy Simansky, Patriarchal Locum Tenes Metropolitan Sergiy Stragorodsky and Nikolay Yarushevich. Therefore, despite the state’s campaign against religion, it is clear that the church managed to survive it all. Conclusion Under the Soviet Union, it is explicit that the Russian Orthodox Church went through tough times. The Soviet Union leaders were determined to control, suppress and completely terminate any form of religion in the region. In order to attain this, the soviet leadership employed various tactics like ridiculing religion, confiscating church property, and harassing believers. Instead, the Soviet Union rulers wanted to spread the atheism as advocated by Marxist and Leninism ideology. Despite the persecutions of bishops, priests, and many believers, the Church managed to survive it all. Some of the priests and bishops disguised themselves like priests. The church survived the suppression through its works of preaching unity, peace and providing moral support and guidance to the Soviet Union during its hard times. The Russian Orthodox Church 10 References Fahlbusch, E 2008, The encyclopedia of Christianity, Wm. B. Eerdmans Brill, Grand Rapids, Mich. Leiden, Netherlands. Pp. 140-145. Garrard, J 2008, Russian Orthodoxy resurgent: faith and power in the new Russia, Princeton University Press, Princeton. Pp. 1-20 Lindsay, R 2011, Rapprochement between the Orthodox Church and the USSR. Retrieved on March 6th 2012.http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/rapproachment-betweenthe-orthodox-church-and-the-ussr/ McGuckin, JA 2011, The encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex, U.K. Malden, MA. Pp. 254-260. Ramet, S 2006, Religious Policy in the Soviet Union, Cambridge Univ Pr., Cambridge, UK: Pp. 107-120. The Russian Orthodox Church. History and Influence. A curriculum unit for grades 6-10. http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/creees/_files/pdf/curriculum/CREEES-developedunits/russian_orthodox.pdf Name: Description: ...
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