“Prayers Crusade” of 1930 and the Reaction to It in the USSR
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“Prayers Crusade” of 1930 and the Reaction to It in the USSR
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Alexey Beglov 
Affiliation: Institute of World History. National Research Nuclear University
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
The Author describes the reaction to the so-called “prayers crusade” of 1930 by the Soviet leadership, Orthodox hierarchs and ordinary Orthodox believers on the basis of new archival materials. First of all, the researcher drew attention to the fact that Soviet leaders considered the Pope’s call to unite in prayers for persecuted believers in the USSR in the context of an analogous campaign in England, which began in December 1929. This campaign had a political subtext: conservatives tried to use it against labour, who were in power at that moment and tried to establish relations with the USSR. In this situation, the Soviet leadership decided to organize a powerful counter-propaganda campaign, with the best response to the speech of the Pope and other religious leaders were recognized as “refutation” by the Russian believers themselves. Thus, the idea was born to incite “interviews” of representatives of various religious communities of the USSR with “denials” of the Pope's statements. The most famous among these “interview” was the text published on behalf of the Deputy Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), which was in fact fabricated directly by the highest Soviet leadership. The published “interviews” put clergy and faithful in a difficult situation, from which they tried to get out, passing abroad through different channels information about the actual state of affairs with regard to religion and believers in the USSR in order to disavow the impression that could have developed in the West after the publication of “denials”. However, in the vast majority of cases attempts to transmit information about the persecution abroad ended tragically.
Russia (USSR) in the 20th century, Vatican, international relations, “prayers crusade” of 1930, Orthodox believers, Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky)
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