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Gosudarstvo i religija

Author: J.W. Nosowa
Year of publication: 2012
Source: Show
Pages: 13-28
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/npw2012201
PDF: npw/03/npw2012201.pdf

Religion and state played a very important role in organising social life in the Russian Empire. Apart from religious life tasks, the Church was also running schools, hospitals and shelters. It was conducting cultural activities and ran full records of civil acts: births, weddings and deaths. For centuries, the Church gathered great fortune, and was using it to take care of such a wide area of interest. Clergymen became true lords of their parishioners’ thoughts, whatever the persuasion. After the October Revolution in 1919, one of the main tasks of the new government was to fight with religion and clergy, both regarded as ideological enemies. Already in 1917, after taking over power in the country, several state decrees were issued in order to eliminate religion from the nation’s life. In 1918 a document was issued, depriving the Church of a right to be represented in the social life as a legal entity, as well as confiscating all the Church’s fortune and bank accounts. All religious schools, printing houses, cultural institutions, even objects serving religious purposes – books, icons, sacrificial tables – were nationalised. Convents were changed into prisons, faith in God was announced to be a relic of rightly passed old times, and believing meant risking repressions. The Clergy were considered a social group that was supposed to become extinct, a sort of “former” structure. Religious life went underground. During the war, between 1941 and 1945, certain reliefs were introduced, with propaganda purposes, especially to improve the international image of the USSR and its leader, Stalin.

Among many organs created throughout many years in order to control religion and the clergy, the most significant one was the Russian Orthodox Church’s Council. The article contains a detailed description of this organisation’s activities within the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic.

The ROCC’s activities’ analysis shows that it was the organ of detailed state control over the clergy and all believers, which was being executed directly by its agents.

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