Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview
religious services revert to the free use of religious organizations by special arrangement with the central or local [Soviet] authorities.

Source: James Bunyan and H. H. Fisher (eds.), The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1918 ( Stanford, 1934), pp. 590-591. Russian text in Sobranie Uzakonenii Rasporiazhenii Rabochego i Krestianskogo Pravitelstva, 1918, No. 18, pp. 272-273.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

A. Kischkowsky, Die sowjetische Religionspolitik und die Russische Orthodoxe Kirche ( Munich, 1957).

References for Document 127.


129
Instructions of the Patriarch and the Sobor to the Church (Extracts) February 28, 1918 [February 15, Old Style]

Bolshevik decrees ending state aid and providing for uncompensated confiscation of church property aimed at the destruction of the economic basis of the church. Moreover, in many districts peasants had already appropriated church lands on their own initiative. The sobor condemned such measures and summoned Orthodox faithful to resist. Leagues of laymen were organized in many places, attracting conservative or tsarist leaders. The church also encouraged the formation of parents' and teachers' associations in defense of the schools. These instructions, issued jointly by the patriarch and the sobor, sought to organize clergy, parochial brotherhoods, education societies, and other Orthodox resistance. This organized opposition produced processions, demonstrations, riots, and loss of life on a large scale, but did not force the Bolsheviks to alter policy.

The new conditions of Church life demand of Church workers, especially local ones, extraordinary care and unusual efforts, in order that requisite spiritual work may be carried on with good success, regardless of the obstacles to be met and even persecution. The Holy Assembly and Holy Patriarch direct the general method to be followed at the present time by the spiritual pastors; inviting them to independent action under the present difficult conditions and cautioning against possible erroneous action on their part, propose the following instructions:

CALL TO THE PRIESTS:

1. Priests are invited to be strictly on guard in protecting the Holy Church in the heavy years of persecution, to encourage, strengthen and unite the believers, for defense against attacks on the freedom of the Orthodox Faith and to strengthen the prayers for the enlightenment of the doubting.

2. The Priests should encourage the good intentions of the believers directed towards the defense of the Church.

-333-

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