Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

church service are blessed for church use and the congregation should not even touch them, (b) Church registers are indispensable for church uses, and the secular authorities, if in need of same, should see to the preparation of them themselves, (c) Church property belongs to the Holy Church, and the clergy and all Orthodox people are merely their guardians.

14. In cases of attack by despoilers or robbers of church property, the church people should be called to the defense of the Church, sound the alarm and send out runners, etc.

15. Should the seizure nevertheless take place, it is absolutely necessary to make a report thereof, signed by witnesses with an accurate description of the articles seized, indicating by name those guilty of the seizure, and forthwith to report thereon to the diocese.

[Articles 16-27 deal with excommunication of guilty persons, and Articles 28- 31 with marriages.]

32. Until further notice of the Church authorities, it is obligatory to enter promptly in the books of record the births, certificates of baptism, marriages and deaths in the usual manner.

33. The collecting by the clergy of statistical data and the forwarding of same to the civil authorities is not compulsory on the clergy. However, the representatives of the civil authorities must have access to the Church Records for the copying of information required by them under the supervision of members of the diocese.

Source: Paul B. Anderson, People, Church and State in Modern Russia ( New York, 1944), pp. 68-71. Russian text in Alexander Vvedensky, Tserkov i Gosudarstvo, 1918-1922 ( Moscow, 1923), pp. 203-205.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

References for Document 127.


130
Instructions of the Justice Commissariat on the Separation Decree August 24, 1918

The meaning of the Decree of Separation of Church and State became clearer when the Justice Commissariat issued these detailed instructions a half year later. To carry out these directions, "liquidation sections" were attached to executive committees of provincial soviets, but in some areas there was no real enforcement until 1919 or 1920 (despite the twomonth time limit stated in Article 24). The work secured to the state the wealth and invested capital of the church, but in most cases parish

From The Russian Revolution and Religion by Boleslaw Szczesniak. © 1959 by University of Notre Dame Press. Reprinted by permission.

-335-

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