I am curious about the organizational nature of religious institutions in the Soviet Union. It is obviously a lie perpetuated by the western conservative media that no religion was allowed in the Soviet Union, as the 1977 edition of the Soviet Constitution Article 52 clearly states that people are allowed freedom of worship and church must be separated from state, but I'm curious. Since by definition private property cannot exist, just how independent of state regulation did churches operate, and across what scale were they able to operate as organizations? Locally? Across individual republics within the Union? This is not really a question about freedom of religion, but rather the nature of religious establishments.
Well, it's important to notice that the Contitution of the USSR often had little bearing on reality. In any case, it was self-contradictory. It promises freedom of speech and assembly but then says that people don't have these rights when they use them "to the detriment of the socialist revolution" - which is decided pretty arbitrarily. This can be extended to other things in life, like religion.
Ce n'est pas en oubliant que nous avons forgé notre survivance.
There was freedom of religion. My cousin, who became an Orthodox priest, lived right across a church.
"To rebel is justified"---Red Guard slogan
I dunno 'bout religion for the Soviet citizens, but for visitors, the Soviet govt. I felt was pretty sensitive to their needs. Whenever my grandpa or my father visited, they'd always need special religious care such as hahal meals, prayer rugs, people to lead prayers (for jamaat) etc. All this was provided w/o any hassles or qualms. Nobody ever gave a dirty face / dirty look.
Many Western propaganda sources often stated that Moslem mosques in the USSR were made into pig barns. I'm happy to report that was not true. Many dargas in cities such as Almata were preserved w/ painstaking care by the communist govt. Of course, all Imams/ Priests, etc. came under the scrutiny of the communist party. But still- both my grandpa and my father never reported ANY case of ANY freedom of religion violation there.
Even during the height of the Soviet thrust into Afghanistan, I never recall seeing any active or passive signs of "Islamaphobia" anywhere in the USSR.
Again, I was only visitor, not a resident.
I think it is ture that the USSR has religious freedom.As in China,civilians have right to turst in religions.But the local administrations of religions could not be controled by foreign powers.for example,the main Christianism bishop of the China area can not be appointed by Vatican. The USSR might be the same.
I love the USSR,and my country,the People's Republic of China.
According to the History Channel, the Russian Orthodox Church "disappeared" under Stalin. Just like Trotsky.
Religion in the USSR
I would like to know what it ment by "all religious instruction was restricted until 1990."
"Don't hate on me bro" - Loz
IIRC the History Channel Was talking about from the Revolution to the through the late 1920s. Wiki
"Don't hate on me bro" - Loz
yes, I see..
I'm not sure on the credibility of what I did hear, but there was a story about Stalin's reunion with the Church to help boost enlistment.
if anyone knows more, I 'd like to find a more credible source.
Not sure how it was in the Soviet Union, but in Communist Romania, they left the Orthodox Church alone to conduct its business and have its own property.
Then again, Orthodox Church priests received a salary from the Communist Party. Catholic priests, well, they were screwed.
Thats my sig now .
Sorry, just loved that sentence :P.
" According to the History Channel, the Russian Orthodox Church "disappeared" under Stalin." - Red Rebel
The History channel, when dealing with communism, always shows strongly anti-communist programs. Regardless of truth.
لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله - يا عمال العالم اتحدوا
When I was reading Theology a few years back I read the following title:
Dimitry Pospielovsky, The Russian Church Under the Soviet Regime, 1917-1982, Vol's 1&2, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, 1984.
My memory of late has been failing me (and I'm supposed to be only 32 ) and I have forgotten the main arguments Pospielovsky puts forth, but I remember I was enthralled by it. For my Master's thesis (had I stayed one more year to do so) I was thinking of writing on the Orthodox Church and how she had to adapt to and survive under governments which were hostile to her. It was a very dense book, possibly too dense for the layperson who has little or no knowledge of Ecclesiastical Canon Law. At times, I remember I was surprised by what was written in it. I should re-read it once more.
Has anyone here read the book? And what were your thoughts on it, especially if you adhere to Communism.
As far as I know, religion was tolerated in the Soviet Union. There were militant Atheists about, but I don't know if they had a lot of influence. My great, great uncle traveled there in 1962 and wrote that people in his group (he was a translator for a group of teachers) went to local churches and that he saw Muslims praying in the streets. I trust his account because by virtue of the fact that he spoke Russian, he was allowed to walk the streets without escort and go places most foreigners weren't. I would have loved to have talked to him about his experience, but he died when I was little. Anyway, that's not really here or there.
From what I can gather, elaborate churches from the pre-Soviet era were confiscated by the state and were either demolished or made into museums. Congregations of the Orthodox church had to apply to the state for a building to worship in. They would receive a fairly modest construction which I have no problem with.
All churches existed on state property, and some were built and kept up by the state (particularly the 'cultural/historical artifact' ones and those which weren't centrally organized to be able to pay for themselves -like Muslim mosques and Protestant churches). Most Orthodox churches were based upon the ability of parishiners to pay for the salary of the priest and maintain the upkeep of the church building. The Church financed itself through donations, fees for marriages, burials, baptisms, etc. By the early 1980s, the Church actually took in quite large amounts of money -300 million roubles a year according to Michael Binyon, though it was taxed more heavily than most other private/semi-private organizations. A Bishop's salary was over 500 roubles a month -as much as the salaries of top Soviet officials.
Interestingly, state-Church relations were actually quite amicable by the 1980s, with the Church providing funds to the Soviet Peace Fund (an organization supporting disarmament and detente), as well as disaster relief funds, and being allowed to publish updated versions of the Bible, and monthly journals on Church affairs. Internationally, the Church rather consistently supported Soviet foreign policy positions (Soviet Muslim delegations were similarly supportive abroad). Also in common between the Party and the Orthodox Church was the growing concern, in the 1980s, about growing consumerism, cynicism and lack of spiritual values in Soviet society.
Overall, it's obvious why the state would give such freedoms to the various denominations (and particularly to the Muslims) -in order to build or keep up a positive international reputation in religious affairs. Meanwhile, the religious leaders had an interest in cooperating with the state in order to attain funding, maintain their freedoms, and to be able to travel abroad and accept visitors.
edit: oh and sorry pasi for being so late in response.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Thanks for the figure of the Bishops' salaries.
Peter the Great had dissolved the throne of the Moscow Patriarchate making it an entirely Synodical body ie. without a head to preside over it (not sure if the eldest Bishop was then made presiding Bishop or not, as usually happens). However, I think in 1917 or 1918, the Patriarchal throne was restored (I hope I am not incorrect here). Patariarch Tikhon had anathematised the Revolution - was it this move by Tikhon which caused the outbreak of anti-Church edicts? Following this, there was a Church decree which overturned the anathema and this caused the split between the Moscow Church and those of the Russian emigres (eg. 'White Russian Church', R.O.C.A., R.O.C.O.R.; last I had heard this split had been healed and now they both recognise each other's Sacraments).
Also, from memory, Pospielovsky discussed a body called called the 'Godless League' or 'Atheists' League'. Do we know what role was played by them? Were they set up by the Government? What were their main activities?
Good question Comrade!
In my 1983 USSR Constitution, Article 52 reads;
'Freedom of Conscience, that is, the right to confess any religion or not to confess such, to perform religious cults, or to carry on atheistic propaganda shall be guaranteed to citizens of the USSR. Incitement of animosity and hatred in connection with religious beliefs shall be prohibited.
The church is the USSR shall be separated from the state, and the school from the church.'
Religion appears to be both protected, and not.
No, it was Stalin who restored the patriarchal throne during the Great Patriotic War. Either he wanted to intensify patriotic war support or he wanted God to help him against the fascists.
I think it was because he wanted to use it as a way to give the people hope.
Once capitalists know we can release the Kraken, they'll back down and obey our demands for sure.
I think that he (Stalin) also declared socialism to have been acheived for the same reason. Though I have to admit that it is just a suspicion, but perhaps someday I will do more research into the area.
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