Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview
27. We demand that believers be allowed to address particular problems which concern them, i.e. the right of petition.
28. We demand that laws which regard religious activity as criminal be dropped.
29. We demand that certain legal articles be amended.
30. We demand that all existing laws be brought into line with international pacts on human rights.
31. We demand that a committee composed of State and Church representatives be formed to discuss and make appropriate decisions.

Source: Religion in Communist Lands, Vol. XVII, No. 2 ( 1989), pp. 165-166.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

J. Broun, Conscience and Captivity. Religion in Eastern Europe ( Washington, D.C., 1988), pp. 67-102.

P. Michel, Politics and Religion in Eastern Europe ( Oxford, 1991).

N. C. Nielsen, Revolutions in Eastern Europe. The Religious Roots ( Maryknoll, N.Y., 1991), pp. 85-102.

P. Walters (ed.), World Christianity: Eastern Europe ( Eastbourne, England, 1988), pp. 175-197.


186
Soviet Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religion (Extracts) October 1, 1990

The revolutionary "new order" of glasnost and perestroika released after 1985 by the reformer, Mikhail Gorbachev, resulted in a radical improvement in the prospects of religion. Not only was official harassment largely abandoned, but a new interest in religious tradition and practice was manifested in a population disenchanted with Marxian ideology and hungry for the recovery of continuity with pre-1917 history and culture. Like other leaders of Russian society, Orthodox churchmen joined the national debate, making proposals and criticisms of unprecedented boldness. By 1990 they were demanding the return of some 18,000 churches -- buildings that for decades had been converted to secular purposes as museums, offices, shops, sports facilities, and the like. And in the same year Patriarch Pimen's death permitted his replacement by the more assertive Aleksy of Leningrad. But the new freedom brought problems as well as opportunities. Religious edifices were often in structural decay. The shortage of priests was critical.

From Religion in Communist Lands, XIX, No. 1 ( 1991). Copyright, 1991, by Keston College, publisher. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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