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Orthodox religious associations in the USSR 1940-1960 (on materials of the Penza REGION)

UDK 94 (47).084 | 50:29


L.A. Koroleva, the doctor of historical sciences, professor managing department of history of the Penza state university of architecture and construction A.A. Korolev, the doctor of historical sciences, the associate professor of the Penza state university of architecture and construction D.A. Stepnova, the trainee-teacher of department of history of the Penza state university of architecture and construction I.N. Garkin, the student of PGS-31 group of the Penza state university of architecture and construction

Position of the orthodox communities in the Soviet society (list of believers and clergy, the main activities of ROC, etc.) at the regional level is analyzed - in the Penza region in 1940-1960

The research is executed with financial support of RGNF within the RGNF nauchnoissledovatelsky project "The power and Russian Orthodox Church in the USSR in the second half of the 1940th - the first half of the 1980th. (On materials of the Penza region)".

Orthodoxy extended mainly among Russians (86.2% of all population of the area), a mordva (5.7%), Ukrainians (1.0%), Belarusians and other nationalities living to areas (in total about 96% of total population) [1 was the main religion of the population of the Penza region, owing to its national structure. 5235. L. 50; 2. 21. L. 16].

Before the Great Patriotic War in the area 2 churches functioned and there were 500 not operating churches, from them 476 was busy under economic and cultural and educational needs, 24 buildings were empty [2. 21. L. 16].

In 1945 as a result of change of the public church policy in area 16 churches and 2 meeting-houses were open; in 1946 - 10 churches; in 1947 - 2 churches and 1 meeting-house. From 25 districts of the area in which churches functioned in Penza, Belinsky, Kuznetsk, Moksha, Lower Lomovsky, (hereinafter in place names the old spelling is kept) Poimsky areas there were about two operating churches.

In 14 areas there were no operating churches: Golitsinsky, Golovinshchensky, Danilovsky, Kameshkirsky, Kuchkinsky, Lopatinsky, Luninsk, Small and Serdobinsk, Nechayevsk, Nicolo-Pestrovsk, Neverkinsk, Tamalinsk, Teleginsk, Ternovsk.

Candle workshops or other any enterprises in the Penza arrivals were not available [3. 3. L. 22].

The orthodox communities were engaged in vigorous religious activity, but awareness of the importance of political control of it not only in the theoretical plan,

but also applied, appeared at the Penza authorities far not at once. Until the end of the 1940th the representative of Council for Russian Orthodox Church for the Penza region

N.I. Lysmankin did not find understanding and support from employees of regional executive committee and district executive committees which regarded its activity as "unnecessary and even harmful", "did not render any help in carrying out in life of the tasks facing it, ignored its requirements, systematically delayed execution of official papers, violated its legal and substantive laws" [2. 1. L. 122]. From 1944 to 1948 the representative of Council for ROC for the Penza region concerning the work was accepted by the chairman of regional executive committee M.I. Zakharov only 3 times, and "without making concrete instructions, on the contrary, Zakharov said that he does not wish to be engaged in these affairs, to read directives and instructions of Council... as he well knows them" [2. 1. L. 122]. Both representatives - for ROC and to affairs of religious cults settled down in the general office, at one table, had one for two iron box for storage of documents, were at the same time forced to conduct reception of believers, etc. Though the regional executive committee made on March 7, 1945 the decision on granting the room for authorized Council for affairs of ROC, nobody hurried to realize it. M.I. Zakharov frankly said that Council for affairs of ROC requests a lot of any "nonsense" from places; criticized N.I. Lysmankin for the fact that that "wrote in the reports even those nonsenses which bottoms bear the believer" [3. 6. L. 13].

Only with replacement of the leadership of regional executive committee (1948) the relation to work of authorized Council changed. The new chairman of regional executive committee Ya.I. Abramov equated activity of both representatives for the Penza region to work of departments of regional executive committee and demanded from district executive committees to regard requirements of representatives as the direct directive of regional executive committee [2. 1. L. 122].

Post-war religious "Renaissance" could not be durable. In 19471948 the first symptoms of cooling of the state and church relations were shown. In 1949 in the territory of the Penza region 4 church buildings in the villages of Sanderki (Luninsky district), Buturlino (Issinsky district), the Resident of Ulyanovsk (Belinsky the area), Pominayevka (Neighbour's area) were sorted and converted [2. 21. L. 16].

The orthodox clergy of the Penza region, in 1945 included 1 bishop, 12 priests, 3 deacons, 2 psalm readers. In process of opening of churches in the area the number of priests increased. In 1957 the Penza clergy consisted of 1 bishop, 50 priests, 9 deacons, and more than a half of them were condemned, mainly, according to Article 5810 [3. 3. L. 25].

On age priests of advanced years prevailed: 55 years - 42 people, the others - aged from 42 up to 55 years are more senior. On national structure the Penza clergy was presented generally Russian and mordvy. The Penza city clergy had higher educational level, than at rural. From 38 rural priests had secondary theological education (vicarial courses, theological seminary) 16 people, initial - 14, average secular

>- 8; whereas in the city one attendant of a cult from 16 had the higher theological (academic) education, at 12 - an average theological, at 1 - initial school, at 2 - an average secular. 14 priests of area were people semiliterate, not able even to fill out the questionnaire. The bishop Kirill emphasized that "very many of his clergy are poorly prepared for vicarial activity, not only cannot tell sermons, but is also such which are not even able to read correctly in Slavic" [3. 5. L. 61].

Proceeding from a situation, in 1948 at the Penza diocesan council it was decided to open theological and vicarial courses on increase in literacy and office knowledge for the priests who did not have vocational spiritual education.

Theological and vicarial courses in Penza began to function since February 8, 1949 [3.

9. L. 7].

Sermons for believers were one of the main directions of activity of orthodox clergy. N.I. Lysmankin authorized across the Penza region paid special attention that in 1945-1953 "in the sermons and conversations the clergy put the task to develop at believers passionate love to the Homeland, to our Government and the ingenious Leader and the commander companion I.V. Stalin. The conversations based on apostolic and evangelical readings were developed in the spirit of a present situation on newspaper materials". Considerable attention in sermons was paid to a question of moral value of work: "Work cultivates will and develops creative, bogodarovanny abilities, cures our defects and protects from crimes". Sermons on the subjects "Mildness and Humility — the Sincere Qualities Especially Valuable in Human Community", "Humility Is a Condition of the Checked Progress", etc. sounded. Then when reading sermons the Penza priests began to use actively the recommendations of "The magazine of the Moscow patriarchy". Priests sought to present religion as a peculiar science of life. The emphasis was placed on supporting the validity of belief, its compliance to the present phenomena. The priest of Mironositsky church of Penza Makashev was even fired for the state for its "public statements". The priest addressed believers with sermons "About value of big precepts" in which he explained the meaning of a precept "Thou shalt not kill": "The word "Thou shalt not kill" means not only to kill the person physically. The person can be killed and spiritually, to kill with words. If to take away faith in God from the person, then it is equivalent to murder as deprivation of the person of faith in God deprives of it and the Kingdom of Heaven" [2. 27. L. 124; 3. 3. L. 24].

Sermons of priests of Penza, Kuznetsk and other cities of area differed in bigger intellectuality, social orientation and relevance, approach to problems of today, in comparison with rural areas that was explained, apparently, by the level of audience for which sermons, and priests, more young people and professionally prepared were designed.

From 1944 to 1947 steadily forward dynamics of submission of petitions for opening of churches was registered, then obvious recession in result of next "crackdown" concerning faiths from the state followed: 1944 - 55, 1945-168, 1946 - 192, 1947 - 67, 1948 - 35. In total from 1944 to 1949 from orthodox believers of the Penza region about 600 applications from 177 settlements of area with applications on opening of churches were submitted to various state instances. From all applications which arrived from residents of 31 settlements of area in 1944-1947 89 - 17.2% to total number of petitions were satisfied. For 1948-1949 the majority of statements for opening of churches came not to the address of the representative of Council for the Penza region, and actually to Council for affairs of ROC and other central Soviet bodies. So, in 1948 from 74 petitions 38 it was sent to the central bodies, in 1949 from 48 applications - 34. The representative of Council N.I. Lysmankin noted that "organizers of submission of petitions for opening of churches in hope of receiving more prompt and affirmative answer began to address directly to the central Soviet bodies". In 1953 as reflection of change of state and church policy was given only 19 petitions from believers of 7 villages of the Penza region. By the number of the moving applications and according to personal statements to the representative of Council for the Penza region about opening of churches believers of Bolshe-Vyassky, Zemetchinsky, Kuznetsk, Luninsky, Narovchatsky, Lower Lomovsky districts were in the lead [2. 1. L. 11; 3. 3, L. 96].

According to the central circulars in the Penza region the rule according to which the priest coming to the diocese or the worker of the religious community surely had to pay a visit was established

to the representative of Council, where explained it a situation in local community, the main questions of the legislation on cults, the correct conducting finansovoekonomichesky activity, etc. Literally at once after appointment the bishop Penza and Saransk Leonid was on a conversation to the representative for an occasion of visit of arrivals by it for carrying out in them hierarchal services. Though official objections from authorized Council did not follow, nevertheless N.I. Lysmankin noticed that "private departures in arrivals, especially in working hours, can serve as a big hindrance for performance of the civil duties by collective farmers". The bishop agreed, having referred to a condition of the health and absence, in his opinion, the person in it need. And, really, during 1954 the bishop Leonid made only two departures on places [2. 24. L. 3-4].

Till February 18, 1947 the duties of the managing director of the Penza diocese were fulfilled by Mikhail Postnikov. Due to its new appointment on February 21 the management of the diocese was joined by the bishop Kirill (Leonid Pospelov). As the bishop Kirill for health reasons could not operate individually the diocese, created Diocesan council from the 3rd persons. The bishop reserved the general management of Council. Soon the bishop distributed the message to clergy and laymen in which congratulated believers on a holiday of Easter and called them for productive work on fields in collective farms and state farms, for amicable work at factories and the plants. Kirill obliged priests to subscribe to the Moskovskaya Patriarkhiya magazine and recommended to get acquainted with secular periodicals.

On December 18, 1953 the archbishop Penza Kirill died. On December 21 the patriarchy charged holding a funeral to the Kuibyshev bishop Jerome. At funeral procession there were over 2 thousand people, and as the representative noticed, many "were in church not from religious motives, and with the purpose to look at the bishop's funeral as a show especially as in Penza there was never the bishop's funeral yet" [2. 20. L. 91].

In February, 1954 the bishop Leonid (Ilya Lobachev) was transferred as the managing director from Astrakhan and Stalingrad to the Penza and Saransk diocese (in 1930 it was sentenced according to Article 5810 to 5 years). The bishop held big authority among clergy and believers, he wrote out the central and local press, was in political life in the USSR and area actively interested [2. 24. L. 4].

The decree of the Sacred synod of April 18, 1961 issued by it under pressure of secular authorities became serious blow for priests. Now the prior had no right to participate in economic and financial life of the religious community. Besides, the management of the community passed to executive body - so-called "twenty". In each registration business on religious association lists of "twenty" with biographical particulars, including information on existence of government awards and criminal records were obligatory. As a part of church "twenty" people of old age prevailed: in 1962 from 631 people of "twenty" of orthodox churches of the Penza region 394 people (62%) were more senior than 60 years; 439 (70%) were illiterate and semiliterate, 149 (24%) had only primary education, 21 (3%) - an incomplete average. The education level of members of "twenty" steadily increased. As a part of "twenty", as well as in general among orthodox believers, women prevailed. Despite these characteristics, members of a church asset, according to the representative, "show sometimes enviable activity and resourcefulness in permission of church questions" [1. 4681. L. 37-38]. The representative for the Penza region frankly spoke levers of impact on "twenty": "... we have an opportunity to influence structure of a church asset. Under the law the citizens wishing to enter the list of founders or so-called "twenty" are obliged to submit about it the application. in raygorispolky in which he undertakes to be responsible together with other founders or members of "twenty" for safety of the prayful building and church property.


>, considering these applications of believers, can satisfy them, but can reject, having refused thereby to the citizen. These are already great opportunity for us not to allow penetrations into structure of a church asset of religious fanatics or dishonest people" [1. 5235. L. 51; 4681, L. 26]. Besides, members of church councils were monthly invited in city and regional executive committees where with them discussions were led.

In the early sixties the representative noted the following trend as a part of "twenty": the number of capable, active pensioners considerably increased in them, and "some of them for good work on production and for participation in fights during the Great Patriotic War were awarded awards and the medals" [3. 27. L. 85]. The danger was that the introduction of veterans of work and war, very dear people, in a church asset promoted strengthening of religiousness of the population.

The Penza region was among "the most unsuccessful areas of the Soviet Union on religious ceremonialism" [1. 71. L. 8-12]. As since 1962 the authorities established control of weddings, baptisms and burial services, all participants of rituals without fail were registered in special magazines, then information arrived "on instances" that, as a rule, led to repressive consequences. The situation for authorized Council for the Penza region was complicated by the fact that religious practices were made not only residents of the area, but also coming special for this purpose from other regions (The Saratov, Ulyanovsk, Tambov region, Mordovian by the ASSR, etc.).

Orthodox priests were so demanded that often did not cope with all amount of works. So, in the letter the priest of church of Bednodemyanovsk N.I. Bessonov told on January 14, 1963 the managing director of the Penza diocese of Feodosiyu: "The Preosvyashchenny lord, I do not refuse work, and I ask for your help - send the second priest. The service of us proceeds daily from 8 o'clock in the morning till 16-17 o'clock and furthermore on a holiday there is so much service and occasional offices that to one it is very heavy. The lord, I am not able to execute occasional offices and decided to ask of the people for help with a request for the petition of other priest. If I for health reasons do not execute any given occasional office, then I will be broken off on a part. There were several cases, for non-performance of occasional offices by me at me knocked on windows and broke a door, especially when weddings and a christening. Any day, even in day off, I will not eat in time, not to mention rest" [3. 27. L. 78-79].

In days of big religious holidays the quantity being present at prayers was very high - from 10 to 50 thousand people. According to instructions of the Penza archbishop Feodosiy, the clergy of orthodox churches of area not only quite carefully kept account of the made religious practices, but also carried out calculation of number of the believers who were present at prayers. Usually calculation was conducted by specially allocated church employee at the end of a church service when approaching believers for kissing of a cross. Insignificant fluctuations being present at prayers were connected not with changes of religiousness in connection with atheistic actions, with bad weather conditions, with coincidence of a religious holiday to the day off, etc. And, if the number praying remained quite stable, then in some other parameters significant changes were observed. Among believers during this period women of more advanced age (of 50 years) - about 95% began to prevail. Men made no more than 5%, and, as a rule, old age. Nevertheless in the early sixties among praying recorded a certain number of youth. Certainly, visit by young people of temples, especially on such holidays as Easter, it is impossible to classify unambiguously as manifestation of true belief. Arrival of youth was explained rather not by religious motives, but interest in spectacular actions, desire to communicate in an unusual situation

etc. The clergy made active attempts to attract children and youth in church. Orthodox priests in the sermons convinced parents of need of familiarizing of children with belief. The priest of Paraskevinsky church of Kuznetsk Voloshenko in one of the sermons directly said: "The church cultivates at youth higher moral qualities, than Komsomol" [1. 4617. L. 93;

2. 66. L. 70; 37. L. 12]. Priests of churches of villages the Russian Mink (Shemysheysky district) and Small Izhmora (Zemetchinsky rayon) Kalmykov and Shuvalov issued to the children coming to temples insignificant sums of money in days of religious holidays what children openly said about: "I will go to church, the father rublik will give" [2. 29. L. 220].

Despite large-scale atheistic work from the secular state, got married and mainly the young people occupied with socially useful work with formation of 7-8 classes christened the children. So, in 1964 among the parents who made an office of Baptism of the children of 84% citizens were younger than 35 years which had generally initial (63%) and incomplete (28%) education. Children were christened usually up to 3 years, from them by 87% - aged up to 2 years. It is characteristic that among the youth making religious practices girls prevailed. The maximum quantity of ceremonies passed in city temples of area - the Penza, Kuznetsk, Serdobsky churches [1. 4617. L. 94-96].

The citizens participating in commission of religious practices were exposed to serious repressions. So, in 1947, residents of the village of Lipovki of the Neighbour's area M.I. Demkin (50 years) for the fact that it was present the put father at a wedding of his brother, and M.I. Vanyaeva (22 years) for own wedding [2 were expelled from party. 27. L. 125].

In the second half of the 1940th in connection with droughty spring in settlements of the Penza region the broad scope was gained by carrying out prayers about a rain. "Rain" prayers priests, conventuals, nachetchik, the former church choristers served. Ceremonies were carried out in churches, on fields, at ravines, sources, etc. Prayers were recorded in 20 districts of the area: Bednodemyanovsky, Bessonovsky, Bolshe-Vyassky, Vadinsky, Golovinshchensky, Issinsk, Kondolsk, Luninsk, Nicolo-Pestrovsk, Lower Lomovsky, Poimsky, Serdobsky, Sosnovoborsk, Teleginsky, Ternovsky, etc. And in some cases local authorities - chairmen of regional executive committees gave official permissions to their carrying out, and in certain cases directly acted as their initiators [4. 188. L. 4].

It should be noted that even in severe Soviet conditions the priests sought to pay attention to church, to make it "socially attractive". Having conducted some kind of social research, the Penza clergy drew a conclusion that "the intellectuals visit churches in which there are good church choirs". Considering this circumstance, despite considerable financial expenses, church choristers began to receive worthy monetary "allowance": leading "voices" got paid from 400 to 1,500 rubles a month. As a result in 1957 the choruses were available already in 15 churches. Also other methods were used. The bishop in the cathedral attracted youth "to creation of bigger splendor of hierarchal services" - the second-year student of technical school of the mechanical Platonov studying elementary school of Zaboleev which served at his services and received for it payment (20-25 rubles for service). The most numerous and most "professional" choruses contained in city churches of Penza [3. 5. L. 128-129].

Realizing that guarantee of stability and expansion of all activity of churches is their material welfare, the Soviet power always sought for reorientation of religious monetary resources. Revenues of churches were very attractive to the state. Control of financial activity of the orthodox communities was allocated in the special area of work of the representative

Council for ROC for the Penza region. Statistics about profitability of arrivals and clergy of the Penza region was fixed by the representative and transferred to Council for affairs of Russian Orthodox Church with special care. And, the representative emphasized that if profitability of arrivals is reflected objectively, then the profit of clergy is obviously underestimated. Really it made from 25 to 50% of the total parish income. Arrivals got profit mainly due to sale of objects of cults and a payment for commission of religious practices that averaged about 80% of all monetary income. City churches had the greatest revenue, the smallest - orthodox houses of worship sat down Big Michkas of the Lower Lomovsky area and Arishk of Nikolsky district [2. 27. L. 128; 3. 3. L. 22].

Due to the monetary reform the profitability of churches and clergy considerably went down. According to believers, it became difficult for city and rural communities to support churches therefore members of the Penza church council in 1948 raised before orthodox clergy a question of assignment of 25-30% of the income of clergy for occasional offices on the maintenance of churches. The clergy of area was negative to such offer, referring to that, "that thanks to reduction of income from occasional offices it became difficult for them to live". No decision at a meeting of church council was made. Then the bishop Kirill serially summoned initiators from church council on a conversation then some of them said an exit from council [3. 6. L. 10-11].

In 1960 the regional finance department noted that approximately priests of 20 churches of the Penza region were engaged in concealment of the real income, i.e. the total amount of the profit of clergy which was not taxed with income tax was about 325,000 rubles in 1960. The representative emphasized: "The clergy lives is financially provided. Many of them get expensive houses, automobile cars, buy luxury goods, support servants". The number of complaints from orthodox clergy with claims about overestimate of income tax averaged 10-15 in a year. In 19511953 the Penza priests sent the complaints, mainly to local financial bodies (26), the Ministry of Finance of the USSR (13), to the ROC (10) authorized Council for affairs [3. 5. L. 41. 11. L. 29].

The management of churches tried to stabilize the material level for what in 1948 the special meeting of the Penza clergy at which the issue about "mutual aid of churches each other" was discussed was held. In the Penza diocese along with strong arrivals (Kuznetsk, Serdobsk, we Give to drink, etc.) existed such which had no sufficient means independently to repair the temple, to buy necessary church utensils, etc. As a result it was decided to render to weak arrivals financial support "as a pozaimstvovaniye" [3. 37. L. 117-118].

The representative kept thorough account of service staff of the Penza churches and especially their monthly salaries. In 1958 all across the Penza region in churches and diocesan management worked as workers and employees the 199th persons. Accountants, accountants, cashiers, typists, prosvirn, watchmen, cleaners, etc. were most demanded. The average salary was 200-400 rubles. To perform work in church, even unqualified, it was favorable. The former psalm reader of church of Kuznetsk V.M. Hramov, the former employee of bodies of militia, the member of the CPSU, so explained the refusal to leave service in the temple: "The person I am elderly. Pension I receive only 30 rubles. What it is money! Pay me 100 rubles a month to churches. Yes besides a salary how many still it is necessary products. On a Saturday of Souls I carried away home on 2-3 poods of millet, with pudik to rice and bags seven rolls. And in a year of such 10 days happens. And how many still rolls, to sugar and another. Only for Easter I got one thousand pieces of eggs. Well, where I still will find the best place! No, I cannot give up a divine service" [2. 26. L. 285;

3. 27. L. 265].

In 1959 the check of orthodox churches of the Penza region regarding existence and use of automobile cars was undertaken. During inspection it was revealed that "cars were considered as church formally, though at the time were acquired at the expense of the religious communities. Actually cars were at the full and uncontrolled disposal of clergy of these churches". Cars were widely used for private traveling on settlements of area for the purpose of commission in houses of believers of various religious practices, certainly, paid "off the books". During check it became clear that upon purchase of cars by churches the Resolution SNK USSR of March 22, 1945 according to which vehicles could be bought only with the permission of authorized Council for the Penza region of N.I. Lysmankin who was not even informed was violated. Besides, it was established that the acquired cars in the State traffic inspectorate are registered not on church, and on figureheads. So, the Victory passenger car of Mironositsky church (Penza) was registered on the state account for being the prior of this church priest M.A. Lebedev. One of cars "WINTERS" of the Penza diocesan management was registered in traffic police of Moscow as the private car of the bishop Leonid though at the time it was acquired not for his personal money, and at the expense of the diocese. In August, 1959 Leonid sold the car in this connection according to the decision of diocesan advice to the bishop it was offered in view of "difficulty of a re-registration of this car from his name on the diocese" to bring its cost in cash desk of the diocese. After the conversation of the representative of Council for the Penza region with the bishop the diocesan council adopted the resolution of October 1, 1959 in which recognized as inexpedient to contain cars in churches and suggested religious associations to refuse their further use, and to dismiss service staff. Church councils, having discussed this resolution and considering that religious formations have no right of sale of vehicles, decided to hand over the cars which were available at their order gratuitously in fund of the state. In total in 1959 to the state 5 Victory cars from Mironositskaya's (Penza) churches were given, to Mitrofaniyevskaya (Penza), Kazan (Kuznetsk), by Paraskevinska (Kuznetsk) and from church of the village Kozlyatsky of the Lower Lomovsky area. Then they were transferred to regional department of national education for boarding schools (2) and to a regional zdravotdel for further use in hospitals (3) [2. 29. L. 190-193].

The priest of church of the village of Hovanshchino of Bekovsky district A.A. Obolensky at the expense of income from service got a house and two passenger cars: Volga and "Victory". The priest of church of the village of Teshnyar of the Sosnovoborsk district L.N. Evstratov at the expense of similar sources bought two houses (in Penza and Mordovian to the ASSR) and two cars. The former priest of Mitrofaniyevsky church of Penza N.V. Rodnikovsky became the owner of a house, the automobile car "Volga", kept the personal driver and the servants. N.V. Rodnikovsky frankly said: "It is possible now and not to serve me in church. For my century at me will be enough" [2. 29. L. 276]. According to competent sources, only in Penza in 1960 own houses had 19 priests.

During numerous checks the numerous facts were elicited, "when the clergy was not content with receiving monetary and natural income for the religious practices made by them. Many of them get in various ways into church cash desks and are enriched at the expense of means of the religious communities" [2. 29. L. 276]. Due to these circumstances the close attention was turned on actions of the managing director of the diocese of the bishop Penza and Saransk Leonid. Besides monthly monetary pay in the sum of 12 thousand rubles Leonid annually received from diocesan cash desk "for treatment" on 20,000-30,000 rubles at a time. Besides, Leonid "accepted monetary handouts from clergy in day of a so-called name-day and

allowed direct abuses of the situation, was engaged in extortion of money from the churches subordinated to it. Only from Mitrofaniyevsky church for the last 2 years it took in such way 72,000 rubles" [2. 29. L. 277]. Crime was that these sums took cover clergy from taxation by income tax.

Wide powers were also conferred to representatives of Council in the solution of the financial questions connected with activity of churches on places. Since the end of the 1950th in conversations with the bishop Penza and Saransk Feodosiy special attention to the high prices of prosphoras and candles existing in churches which, were estimated "speculative, unreasonably overestimated and excessively heavy for parishioners of the churches forced to buy these objects for satisfaction of the religious requirements" [2 was paid. 29. L. 346]. The representative S.S. Popov persistently recommended to study price level and to lower them taking into account prime cost and to establish the minimum overhead costs. And, on his belief, the margin should not exceed 5-10%, as in the Soviet retail chain stores. The bishop requested data on prices for prosphoras and candles and came to a conclusion that "in the diocese there is the sheer arbitrariness in this question. Prosphoras are on sale at the price from 1 up to 4 rubles apiece (in favor of church, apart from the income of clergy for commemoration). In the prices of candles also big disparate" [2. 29. L. 347]. In the next conversation with the representative the bishop emphasized a religious and symbolical, voluntary and traditional and sacrificial nature of prosphoras and candles, but recognized need of adjustment and unification of the price policy.

At the end of 1961 at the initiative of the authorities the one-time accounting of religious associations, prayful buildings and the property which was in use of the religious organizations was carried out. In November-December, 1961 according to the Resolution of Council of ministers No. 263 of March 16, 1961 and instructions of Council for affairs of religious cults at Council of ministers of the USSR the regional executive committee made on September 15, 1961 the special decision "On carrying out one-time accounting of religious associations, prayful buildings and the property which is in use of church bodies". Headed by the vice-chairman of executive committee of regional council of deputies of workers N.V. Hristoforov the group on carrying out account was formed. In areas and the cities of area personal responsibility for carrying out account was conferred on deputy chairmen (secretaries) of raygorispolkom [2. 37. L. 116].

In 1961-1962 the authorities reduced forcibly selling prices of prosphoras and candles. Under the influence of authorized Council for ROC for the Penza region the communities made decisions on decrease in selling prices of candles from 30 to 50% for different grades of candles and also for 50% for prosphoras [4. 772. L. 106].

Since 1962 the new system of compensation was introduced: to the father the firm salary was established by executive bodies of religious societies over which it should not have been rewarded in any way. Thereby the clergy lost material interest in increase in number of commission of religious practices. However this in general positive fiscal action had also a back: reduction of income of clergy automatically entailed decrease

income tax. Thus, as a result of transfer of clergy to firm salaries within a year the receipt of income tax in the state treasury was reduced by 70,400 rubles. The representative of Council for the Penza region fairly emphasized that "this sum which was earlier coming to income of the state could appear in church cash desks now and could be used on strengthening of churches" [3. 27, L. 248]. For prevention of strengthening of this trend, measures for withdrawal of excessive money at churches within the Soviet legality were taken.

From the second half of the 1950th the next "krasnogvardeysky attack" on religion, stimulated is developed by process of "creation of communistic society by 1980". Strengthening of the state pressure directly was reflected in the Penza orthodox organizations. If in 1949 in the area there were 70 attendants

an orthodox cult (about 2% of the number of priests in 1917), in 1961 70 representatives of clergy served in all officially functioning churches, mosques and meeting-houses. If in the late forties in the area 29 churches and 3 meeting-houses functioned, then to the middle of the 1960th remained to the 27th church [2. 20. L. 16, 105].

So, owing to national structure of the Penza region (Russians, a mordva, etc.) Orthodoxy was the main cult of religion among the population.

Having strengthened the positions by the end of the Great Patriotic War, the Russian Orthodox Church became powerful structure. If before the Great Responsible war in the Penza region there were 2 churches, then by their 1948 everything there were 32.

The main contingent of orthodox believers - people of advanced age, pensioners, mainly women. The area differed in the high level of visit by the population of temples, participation in church services, etc. The situation was complicated by the fact that to the Penza region there came for commission of religious practices residents of the neighboring areas.

The Penza clergy was presented by priests of old age, mainly Russian and mordvy. Educational level of priests was low and, at city priests is slightly higher, than at rural priests.

By 1950th the state policy of restriction of religious activity is activated that directly affected local orthodox churches (closing of arrivals, financial to the press

Walter Neil Roger
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