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ROC and ecumenical activity of the international pro-Soviet organizations

 __________________________ History ____________________________


ROC and ecumenical activity of the international pro-Soviet organizations

The idea of use of ROC as the international political authority, perhaps, arose soon after 1943 in connection with I.V. Stalin's appeal to Orthodoxy and the beginning of the state support of the Moscow patriarchy.

During this period the state circles, church and close to them, were captured by a certain similarity of euphoria from suddenly open oxygen which so long the Church was deprived. Fantastic projects according to the address of prisoners of war to Orthodoxy and their return home already as agents of Orthodoxy socialism began to appear. Moscow began to be called by the Second Rome, speaking about its prospects in merging of orthodox churches around it in a counterbalance of Vatikanu1.

Victor Anatolyevich LIVTSOV — to. and. N, professor of the Oryol State University

During this period ROC not really hurried to join in activity of the western organizations, bearing the ideas about creation of the new organization under the aegis. So, the Patriarch Alexy writes the chairman of the board for Russian Orthodox Church G.G. Karpov in the letter of January 23, 1946 that "if the Russian Orthodox Church begins to take part in the ecumenical movement, then the offer will be her first question — to call "The world assembly of the world" (so we will call it)" 2. It is possible even to tell that the Moscow Vsetserkovny meeting of 1948 was such first attempt of creation of the vsepravoslavny international organization. However objections and protests of a number of ancient churches (Cyprian, Alexandria, etc.) interfered with implementation of it proekta3.

In February, 1949 the patriarch Alexy noted that "The orthodox Russian Church welcomed the offer of the International committee of communication of cultural figures in defense of peace about convocation of the World congress of defenfers of peace". The congress passed in Paris on April 20 — 25, 1949. The delegation of patriarchy was invited also to the first All-Union conference of defenfers of peace in August, 1949. The head of the delegation metropolitan Nikolay Krutitsky (Yarushevich) in the presentation at the conference of 26.08.1949 emphasized: "... when powers of darkness of admirers of a golden calf are going to cast all mankind into new accident. The Russian Church cannot remain indifferent. Greedy tentacles of a transatlantic octopus try to entangle all Globe. Capitalist America, this violent loose woman of the revived Babylon, having arranged world torzhishche, tries to tempt the people, pushing them to war." The metropolitan Nikolay (Yarushevich) was a part of the constant Soviet Peace Committee.

On May 9 — 12, 1952 at the initiative of the patriarch Alexy in Zagorsk the Conference of all churches and religious associations in the USSR in defense of peace was held. In the appeal of a conference to churches, religious associations, clergy and believing

1 GARF. T. 6991. Op. 1 142. L. 251-252 about.
2 In the same place, L. 30
3 AVP. Fund 7. Op. 12. Time. 111 Fathers. 8
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all religions of the whole world, it was said: "All people loving the world are captured by alarm... on our belief, the source of war disappears not here where people in continued work create conditions for the general happiness and where. prepare for war, dreaming of domination over the whole world. we call all churches. to help the people with fight for preservation of peace. We support offers of the World council of the world on aggression condemnation. Condemning the American aggression in Korea, we are firmly sure that all churches. are ready it is effective to support an appeal of Bureau of the World council of the world of April 1 of this year "Against bacteriological war".

In July, 1958 at the initiative of prominent theologians of Czechoslovakia Hurried also I. Gromadki, with the assistance of churches of a part of the socialist countries and some members of the West German church brotherhoods which are in opposition to the management of Evangelic church of Germany Prague Christian Peace Conference (HMK) was founded. At its first conference there were only 37 delegates, is almost exclusive from the socialist countries. hMK the counterbalance part was assigned to the World Council of Churches (WCC) which is under control of the USA. Involvement of church figures of the socialist countries in a peace movement and more active use of the available contacts with church circles of the West, rendering influence on them in the spirit of need of joint fight of Christians for the world was a problem of HMK. Since 1958 ROC got into gear of HMK. At the headquarters of HMK in Prague the Moscow patriarchy had the permanent representative entering into the management of HMK.

In September, 1958 I. Gromadka got the Lenin award "For Consolidation of Peace between the People". On February 25, 1959 I. Gromadka was accepted by the employee of Council for affairs of religious cults at Council of ministers of the USSR A.A. Puzin and reported on preparation for the 2nd Prague conference of religious figures. And in the plan of measures on strengthening of activity of Russian Orthodox Church", the ROC developed by Council for affairs and intended for the Moscow patriarchy it was recommended to last "to promote actively ecumenical

To council of churches of Czechoslovakia in preparation of the World Christian conference in defense of peace".

From 16 to 19.04.1959 in Prague the II enlarged meeting of HMK took place. Previously the question of the purposes and the nature of the second Christian conference was considered at a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU of January 13, 1959 which approved the draft of the plan of holding this conference presented by the Ministry of Public Education and the cultures of ChSR.

Despite obstacles from the official management of the western churches and on boycott of some bishops of the German evangelic church, 91 foreign delegates from 16 states, from them about a half of delegates of the capitalist countries took part in work of the II conference.

The conference discussed three main issues: 1) about carrying out Day of Christian repentance — Day of Hiroshima, 2) about the termination of Cold War, 3) about convocation of Ecumenical Christian peace council.

In particular, it was decided to call in the spring of 1961. Ecumenical Christian council for expression of general opinion of Christians against use of atomic weapons. In the published communique it is said also that "the conference was concerned by arms of West Germany atomic weapons and a distance of the fair solution of the all-German question by peace talks".

The prof. Gromadke and the secretary of the Pospeshilu conference "managed with the help of delegates from the USSR by personal meeting on the sidelines to prepare a meeting of delegates from the GDR, Germany, ChSR and Party of Russian Taxpayers for support of the plan of Rapatsky set for a conference the tasks were carried out. Organizers of a conference managed to win round a significant amount of representatives of the western churches and by that to expand on them the influence".

On September 6 — 9, 1960 in Prague the Third Christian conference in defense of peace at which the issue "On the Way to a Peace Era of Mankind" was discussed took place. At a conference there were representatives of Christian churches from the socialist countries and also otdel01'2008 __________________ the POWER _________________________ 81

ny church figures from the USA, Germany, England, Austria, France and Switzerland. On September 2, 1960 the employee of Council for affairs of religious cults at Council of ministers of the USSR A.A. Puzin accepted and addressed heads of the religious centers in the USSR leaving to Prague for participation in the 3rd Christian peace conference. The head of the delegation from Russian Orthodox Church metropolitan Pitirim made on conferences the report "World and Orthodox Church" in which he subjected to sharp criticism reactionary policy of Vatican and some church figures of Protestant churches. Such assessment of activity of the Pope was given by Russian Orthodox Church for the first time.

Meetings of heads of departments for religions were an important factor in the interchurch relations of the socialist countries. From May 25 to May 30, 1964 in Berlin the meeting took place direct - tel of the state departments for Church of the GDR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and the USSR with participation of heads of ideological departments of the Central Committees kommunistiches - ky and labor parties of the specified countries.

Participants of the meeting unanimously noted that activity of the Prague Christian organization has significant effect on work of other international church organizations towards peace.

Participants of the meeting set the task — wider to attract in governing bodies of the movement of authoritative church figures, including from the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Measures for strengthening of a role of the international secretariat of the movement were planned, in particular, the wish that the representative of Russian Orthodox Church was appointed one of deputy secretaries general is stated.

From May 26 to June 4, 1968 there took place the celebration of the 50 anniversary of restoration of patriarchate in ROC. In this regard in Moscow there arrived representatives of churches from a number of the countries and heads of the international religious organizations. Among the arrived foreigners there were also "hostile persons" concerning whom bodies of state security "held a number of events for their study, to prevention possible undesirable

actions from their party and also to rendering on them ideological influence favorable to us and to obtaining information interesting us". Some religious figures who often were not personalized even in the classified information for the Central Committee of the CPSU became "Sources of information" of KGB about a religious situation in other countries.

On June 18, 1968 in Berlin the meeting of representatives of public institutions for religions took place again. During the meeting comrade Zaygevasser informed on results of the Conference of the left Catholics of the European countries which took place at the beginning of June, 1968 in Berlin which discussed tasks of Catholics in the solution of problems of the European safety. In the rezultateaktivnykhsoglasovannykhdeyst-Viy of Catholic figures from Hungary, the GDR, Poland and the Soviet Union "it was succeeded to provide at a conference adoption of the correct, corresponding to spirit of peace-loving policy of the socialist states decisions on Vietnam and the European safety which will have positive value in work with Catholic masses in countries of Western Europe".


C on July 28 till August 2, 1970 in Moscow the meeting of heads of the state departments to the case of religions of NRB, VNR, the GDR, MNR, the Party of Russian Taxpayers, SRR, ChSSR and the USSR was connected. Employees of the Central Committees of communist and labor parties of the specified countries also took part in it.

The question of strengthening of a role of churches of the socialist countries in fight for peace in the international religious organizations became one of the main discussed issues.

On this matter delegations came to the general conclusion that in the conditions of aggravation of ideological and political struggle on the international scene the imperialistic circles more and more actively use the church organizations in the political interests and for this purpose strengthen pressing all international religious centers, seeking to give to their activity reactionary and pro-imperialistic character. Churches of the socialist countries, being members more than 10 international church organizations, in particular World Council of Churches, the Conference euro82 The POWER 01 ’2008

peysky churches and some other, despite prevalence in these organizations of influence of the western countries, carry out to them a certain positive work on exposure of reactionary policy of imperialistic powers, explanation of peace-loving policy of the countries of the socialist commonwealth and a denial of the slanderous propaganda extended in the capitalist countries about the provision of religion and Church in the socialist countries. Therefore it was recognized as expedient in every possible way to raise a role of churches of the socialist countries in the specified international organizations, to try to obtain increase in number of representatives of churches of the socialist countries in governing bodies of these organizations, to provide closer cooperation and coordination of actions of churches of socialist countries on the international scene, to promote expansion of their contacts with progressive religious figures abroad, to improve political training of the representatives of churches of the socialist countries directed abroad.

On August 6, 1970 the chairman of KGB Yu.V. Andropov reported in the Central Committee of the CPSU that for counteraction to aspirations of Vatican "to unite all religions on an anti-Communist basis of" an action of bodies of KGB "went for advance in governing bodies of the international religious organizations, such as World Council of Churches (WCC), Prague Christian Peace Conference (PCPC), Conference of the European Churches (CEC) of "progressive religious figures" from the USSR

and other socialist countries and "compromise of certain representatives of the West in these organizations". As a result "our positions" in VSC, PHMK were strengthened and "a number of the western religious figures supporting creation of the uniform block of religions is compromised".

On the IV Vsekhristiansky peace congress in Prague in October, 1971 the metropolitan Nicodemus (Rotov) who held this position nearly seven next years was elected the president of the Christian peace conference.

Thus, from first post-war years the patriarchy participated in peacemaking on the world scene and in the most Soviet country: in the World assemblies of the world, the sessions of the World council of the world. At all conferences in the country, the international forums and the interfaith congresses devoted to the issues of peace and disarmament, and later to a nuclear perspective in 1950, 1951, 1952, 1955, 1969, 1977, 1982 were present delegates of patriarchy. On several speeches were made by patriarchs.

By 70th years the representatives of ROC managed to take key places in the management of Christian peaceful movements that made them completely controlled by the Soviet and party bodies and allowed to use authority of these movements on advantage to the Soviet foreign policy, support of the Soviet peace initiatives and prevention of attacks against the USSR. Christian peaceful movements along with World Council of Churches took the place among the pro-Soviet international organizations.

Javier Allen
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