Closing of the Orthodox Churches in 1958–1960ies as a factor of the Soviet State Repressive Anti-Religious Policies towards Religious Organizations for example the Rostov Region

(Southern Scientific Center RAS)

The article deals with one of the least researched stages of Church-State relations in the Soviet era – the"Khrushchev thaw" period, which became the last stage of the repressive policies of the Soviet State towards religious organizations.
The study subject is a campaign on closing the Orthodox churches and worship houses in 1958-1960, initiated by the Soviet government, which announced the returning to the "Lenin socialist legality" and the strengthening of anti-religious propaganda.
The study of the complex of registration cases of churches and worship houses of the Russian Orthodox Church, stored in the State archive of the Rostov region in the Fund of the Commissioner for the Russian Orthodox Church (since 1965 - for religious Affairs) at the USSR Council of Ministers of the Rostov region, allowed to conclude that the beginning of the mass closing of the Don churches began in 1959, as well as in the other areas of the Russian Federation.
However, until that year – from 1945 to 1958 – 31 churches were closed in the Rostov region, i.e. since 1959 it was the mass closing. The initiators were: Commissioner of the Rostov region Council and local Executive and party committees. The reasons for closure of churches and the removal from registration of religious societies were the ones that often did not correspond to reality:
the collapse of communities, the absence of a priest, the small number of communities, the emergency state of the prayer building, the seizure for the needs of schools, collective farms, etc.
The results of the "new Church policy" in the Rostov region were: significant decrease in the functioning of the Orthodox churches, imbalance in the internal life of parishes, indifferent attitude of the population to the religion.
Church-State relations; the "Khrushchev thaw”, “new religious policy", Rostov region, closing of churches, religious organizations

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