The Fate of the Catholic Church of St. Louis of the French in Soviet Moscow: the Perspective of an American Assumptionist
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The Fate of the Catholic Church of St. Louis of the French in Soviet Moscow: the Perspective of an American Assumptionist
Annotation
PII
S207987840016675-1-1
DOI
10.18254/S207987840016675-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Alexey Beglov 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Ivan Fadeyev
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Российская Федерация, Москва
Abstract

From 1938 to 1992, the Church of St. Louis of the French was the only legally operating Roman Catholic parish church in Moscow. The peculiarity of the parish was that its core membership and its “executive bodies” comprised foreign nationals and representatives of the diplomatic corps, primarily of France and the United States. In the second half of the 1940s, amid rising tensions with the West, the Soviet authorities subjected the community of St. Louis and its clergy to their control. Today, it is possible to detail the circumstances of this case not only thanks to the Russian archival materials but also to the document published below, a copy of a memorandum by Fr. Leopold Braun, A. A., an American priest who administered the Church of St. Louis in 1934—1945. The document, originally forwarded to the US State Department in February 1954, was found in the Archives of the North American Province of the Assumptionists in the Provincial House in Boston, MA. In this document, Fr. Braun describes the history of the church in the Soviet period, focusing on the confrontation between its clergy and parishioners, on the one hand, and the Soviet authorities, on the other. He also suggests that the US Government intervene in the situation and return control of the church to Catholics of all nationalities, including those who do not have Soviet citizenship. The basis for such interference, from the point of view of Fr. L. Braun, was the Roosevelt — Litvinov agreements of 1933, which contained guarantees of religious freedoms for American citizens in the USSR.

Keywords
USSR, Catholic Church, US-Soviet relations, Roosevelt—Litvinov agreements, Church of St. Louis of the French (Moscow), Fr. Leopold Braun
Received
08.06.2021
Publication date
15.09.2021
Number of characters
38950
Number of purchasers
2
Views
285
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0.0 (0 votes)
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