The Church Under Stalin

The programs that were enacted and carried out under Lenin led the Communists party against the Russian Orthodox Church, and almost dismantled the entire church.

The Church Under StalinThe carnage and widespread slaughter of the church and its proponents during the period between 1927 and 1940 was shocking in numbers. The number of churches that were still active in the Russian Republic during that time fell from 29,584 to a number that totaled less than 500 during that time period.

Of the estimated 130,000 Orthodox priests that were arrested under the direction of the ruling Communist Party, at least 95,000 of those were sentenced to death by the administration.

It was no wonder that under the full brunt of this extermination policy of the Communist Party, the Church would later seek ways of aligning itself with the State in order to somehow escape the complete destruction that seemed so imminent in those days. In 1927, against the majority of wishes of the parishes, the Metropolitan Sergius issued a Church declaration that essentially said that the Church would accept the authority of the State and would hence forth co-operate and condemn any political dissension from the pulpit.

This led to revolt among those in power who felt that Sergius had overstepped his boundaries and led to a split in the Church. The Church decided that it would enter the political arena and field its own candidates for election in the year 1929 elections to no lasting avail.

The mere fact that the Church still existed after the many years of persecution under the regimes of both Lenin and Stalin are direct testament to the strength and the will of both the leaders of the Church and the followers of the faith.

It was the German invasion of the Soviet Union that saw the resurgence of the power of the Church when Stalin, recognizing the precarious position of the State, saw fit to reestablish ties with the Church in an effort to bolster patriotic fervor against the invading German hordes.