The Main Directions and Methods of Soviet Anti-Religious Policy of the 1958– 1960s. (on the Example of the Orthodox Parishes of the Rostov Region)

(Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

The article analyzes trends of antireligious policy of the Soviet state during the "Khrushchev thaw", characterized by carrying out in 1958–1960-s fundamentally prepared and supported by legislation "New Church policy" and its results on the example of the Orthodox parishes in Rostov region. Based on the analysis of archival sources of the Fund of the Council on the Russian Orthodox Church (from 1965 the Council for religious Affairs) at the Council of Ministers of the USSR in Rostov region, in the article were identified internal and external areas of anti-religious policy. Among internal directions in the article are considered methods
of work of local authorities with executive authorities of religious authorities and labor collectives in connection with preparation for closing of churches; attempts of introduction of "red rituals". External directions, aimed at ideological work with centralized religious organizations, are considered in the context of the consequences of changes in the regulation "on parishes". The result of the change in this provision were conflicts between local government-controlled elders and accountants with the ruling Bishop and parish clergy; a decrease in the number of services; as one of the directions of anti-religious policy-frequent transfers of the episcopate and priests from place to place. A special focus was the discrediting of the Orthodox clergy, which consisted in the closure of theological educational institutions, which made it impossible to train qualified clergy, as well as carrying out the planned action of renegade priests. As a result of the anti-Church policy in the 1958–1960-ies, religious organizations were materially weakened, all areas of their activities were controlled by state authorities. The clergy were deprived of the opportunity to receive theological education, the consequence of which was the filling of the clergy with people who were poorly educated and often accidental. Active anti-religious propaganda caused indifferent attitude of the population to religion.
"Khrushchev thaw", "new religious policy", Orthodox parishes of Rostov region, internal and external directions of anti-religious policy, results of anti-religious policy of 1958–1960-ies

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