Monday, March 30, 2009

Hitler saved Russian Orthodox Church

How do modern-day Russian Orthodox Church members reconcile the treatment given their religion by the Soviets with their love of Stalin?

Consider the following from page 376 of Davies No Simple Victory:

“In the USSR, the German invasion of 1941 saved the Russian Orthodox Church from total extinction. Only a handful of churches were still operating on Soviet territory after two decades of persecution. But Stalin was forced to relent. Church leaders emerged from the catacombs, and in regions occupied by the Germans a remarkable revival took place both of the Orthodox and of the Ukrainian Churches. In 1943 Stalin restored the Orthodox patriarchate of Moscow.”

The CIA Factbook provides the following as the current situation of religion in Russia: “Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.) note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule.”


Here in the US we have many points of view. We are clearly not all the same, and yet most of us are Christian. For the US the CIA Factbook shows the following: “Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)

So if a modern-day Russian member of the Russian Orthodox Church were to speak of Russia as a Christian nation and of the West (including the US) as non-Christian, I should want quite a bit more detail before I could consider such an opinion at all rational. And I would also like to know how he reconciles his love of Stalin with his love of his Church.

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