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The Russian Orthodox Church, 1917-1948. From Decline to Resurrection

edited by: Daniela Kalkandjieva
published by
: Routledge
pp: 378
ISBN: 9781138788480
price: 20 €

Book's frontpage

This book tells the remarkable story of the decline and revival of the Russian Orthodox Church in the first half of the twentieth century and the astonishing U-turn in the attitude of the Soviet Union’s leaders towards the church. In the years after 1917 the Bolsheviks’ anti-religious policies, the loss of the former western territories of the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union’s isolation from the rest of the world and the consequent separation of Russian emigrés from the church were disastrous for the church, which declined very significantly in the 1920s and 1930s. However, when Poland was partitioned in 1939 between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Stalin allowed the Patriarch of Moscow, Sergei, jurisdiction over orthodox congregations in the conquered territories and went on, later, to encourage the church to promote patriotic activities as part of the resistance to the Nazi invasion. He agreed a Concordat with the church in 1943, and continued to encourage the church, especially its claims to jurisdiction over émigré Russian orthodox churches, in the immediate postwar period. Based on extensive original research, the book puts forward a great deal of new information and overturns established thinking on many key points.


Table of contents


1. The Dissolution of the Russian Orthodox Church (1917-1939)
2. The Sergian Church in the Annexed Territories (September 1939 – June 1941)
3. The Holy War of the Sergian Church
4. The Sergian Church and Western Christianity
5. The Moscow Patriarchate Restored
6. The Growth of Moscow’s Jurisdiction
7. Russian Émigré Churches beyond Stalin’s Grasp (1945-1947)
8. The Moscow Patriarchate and the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches outside the Soviet Union (1944-1947)
9. Toward an Eighth Ecumenical Council (1944-1948)


Author Bio

Dr. Daniela Kalkandjieva is a researcher affiliated with Sofia University St. Kliment Ohrisdki. She has PhD in History from the Central European University. Her research is focused on the study of Orthodox churches and societies and more recently on the history of education and science in Bulgaria.


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