The Russian Orthodox Church in the foreign policy of the USSR: historiography of the Soviet time

Keywords: Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, foreign policy, USSR, international relations, Soviet historiography

Abstract

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has always been closely connected with the institution of power and occupied important positions not only in the state’s internal life, but also in the foreign policy course. The character of the modern international activity of the Russian Orthodox Church was shaped by the Soviet system after the Second World War. Despite the fairly active position of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USSR’ foreign policy, this issue remains one of the least studied in both historical and political science literature. The authors will try to determine the coverage level of this phenomenon in the scientific literature in terms of use of the Russian Orthodox Church by the Soviet system in the implementation of foreign policy tasks in the post-war era. Therefore, the purpose of the article is to outline the historiographic heritage of the Soviet era regarding the place and role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USSR’ foreign policy in 1944-1991.

The Soviet historiography of the problem of the Russian Orthodox Church activities in the international arena began to take shape in the 1940s. Among researchers of the Soviet era, two trends can be distinguished: church and secular. The church’ research school is represented by the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate: Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev), Archpriest Grigoriy Razumovskiy), Anatoliy Vedernikov, Aleksandr Kozha. The secular research school is represented by the works of Soviet anti-religionists: Nicolay Gordienko, Pavel Kurochkin, Vladimir Kuroedov, Nicolay Krasnikov.

The works of Soviet researchers usually have an overview of agitation and propaganda, and bear either a religious or an ideological imprint of a negative attitude towards the past of the Orthodox Church and towards religion in general. Even the best examples of Soviet historiography, represented by the works of Nicolay Gordienko and Pavel Kurochkin, lack a deep disclosure of the topic, since the authors did not have access to archival documents in the field of state-church relations, did not see the latent mechanisms of certain steps in the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church, etc. All the works used in the historiographical analysis were written under certain ideological pressure from the country’s political leadership.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Bolotov, S.V. (2011). Russkaya pravoslavnaya tserkov i mezhdunarodnaya politika SSSR v 1930-e – 1950-e gody. Moskva: Izdatelstvovo Krutitskogo podvorya, Obshchestvo lyubiteley tserkovnoy istorii [in Russian].

Bubnov, P. (N.d.). Ekumenicheskie kontakty Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi i ikh rol v sovetskoi vneshnepoliticheskoi deyatelnosti v 1946-1948 gg. Belorusskaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov. Minskaya dukhovnaya seminariya. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/3XrniR3 [in Russian].

Chumachenko, T. (2011). Sovet po delam Russkoi pravoslavnoi tserkvi pri SNK (SM) SSSR. 1943-1965 gg. (Doctor’s thesis). Moskva [in Russian].

Filaret (Vakhromeev) (1971). Bogoslovskaya osnova mirotvorcheskoi deyatelnosti tserkvi. Bogoslovskie trudy, 7, 215-221 [in Russian].

Gordienko, N.S. (1968). Sovremennoe pravoslavie. Moskva: «Mysl» [in Russian].

Gordienko, N.S. (1969). Ekumenizm: ego sotsialnii smysl, ideologiya i tseli. Politicheskoe samoobrazovanie, 8, 103-107 [in Russian].

Gordienko, N.S. (1972a). Ekumenicheskie vliyaniya v sovremennom russkom pravoslavii. Uchenye zapiski Leningradskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo instituta. Vol. 524: Obshchestvennaya zhizn i religiya. P. 140-177 [in Russian].

Gordienko, N.S. (1972b). Evolyutsiya vzaimootnoshenii russkogo pravoslaviya i ekumenizma. Uchenye zapiski Leningradskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo instituta. Vol. 524: Obshchestvennaya zhizn i religiya. P. 100-139 [in Russian].

Gordienko, N.S. (1972c). Sovremennyi ekumenizm. Dvizhenie za edinstvo khristianskikh tserkvei. Moskva: Izdatelstvo «Nauka» [in Russian].

Gordienko, N.S. (1987). Sovremennoe russkoe pravoslavie. Leningrad: Lenizdat [in Russian].

Klibanov, A.I. (Ed.). (1989). Russkoe pravoslavie: vekhi istorii. Moskva: Politizdat [in Russian].

Kozha, A. (1987). Mirotvorchestvo Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi. Bogoslovskie trudy, 28, 181-191 [in Russian].

Krasnikov, N.P. (1988). Sotsialno-eticheskie vozzreniya russkogo pravoslaviya v XX veke. Kiev: «Vyshcha shkola» [in Russian].

Kurochkin, P.K. (1962). Pravoslavie i gumanizm. Moskva: Izdatelstvo VPSH i AON [in Russian].

Kurochkin, P.K. (1971). Evolyutsiya sovremennogo russkogo pravoslaviya. Moskva: Izdatelstvo «Mysl» [in Russian].

Kuroedov, V.A. (1981). Religiya i tserkov v Sovetskom gosudarstve. Moskva: Izdatelstvo politliteratury [in Russian].

Osipov, A. (1978). O nekotorykh printsipakh pravoslavnogo ponimaniya ekumenizma. Bogoslovskie trudy, 18, 180-187 [in Russian].

Razumovskii, G.I. (1949). Ekumenicheskoe dvizhenie i Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov. In Deyaniya i soveshchaniya glav i predstavitelei pravoslavnykh tserkvei v svyazi s prazdnovaniem 500-letiya avtokefalii Russkoi pravoslavnoi tserkvi. 8-18 iyulya 1848 g. Vol. 2. Moskva: Izdanie Moskovskoy Patriarkhii, 87-195 [in Russian].

Serafim (Sobolev) (1991). Nado li Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi uchastvovat v ekumenicheskom dvizhenii? In Kratkoe zhizneopisanie arkhiepiskopa Serafima (Soboleva). Fessaloniki, 58-79 [in Russian].

Shkarovskii, M.V. (1999). Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov pri Staline i Khrushcheve. Moskva: Krutitskoe Patriarshee podvore, Obshchestvo lyubiteley tserkovnoy istorii [in Russian].

Shkuratova, I.V. (2005). Sovetskoe gosudarstvo i vneshnepoliticheskaya deyatelnost Russkoi pravoslavnoi tserkvi. 1945-1961 gg. (Candidate’s thesis). Moskva [in Russian].

Vedernikov, A.V. (1947). Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov posle konchiny Patriarkha Sergiya. In Patriarkh Sergii i ego dukhovnoe nasledie. Moskva: Izdanie Moskovskoy Patriarkhii, 271-411 [in Russian].

Yakunin, V.N. (2002). Vneshnie svyazi Moskovskoi Patriarkhii i rasshirenie ee yurisdiktsii v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny 1941-1945 gg. Samara: Izdatelstvo «Samarskiy universitet» [in Russian].

Published
2023-02-15
How to Cite
Trygub, O., & Stepanchuk, Y. (2023). The Russian Orthodox Church in the foreign policy of the USSR: historiography of the Soviet time. Acta De Historia & Politica: Saeculum XXI, (5), 5-15. Retrieved from https://ahpsxxi.org/index.php/journal/article/view/70
Section
Articles