Shutting off Religious Supply

Paul Froese

in The Plot to Kill God

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780520255289
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942738 | DOI:
Shutting off Religious Supply

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This chapter appraises the plight and difficulties encountered by the Russian religious populace during the Soviet era—from daily ridicule to imprisonment to execution. Persecution spiraled to a frenzy during the Stalin and Khrushchev eras. However, despite all the excesses, group solidarity enabled certain tight knight communities of believers such as the Jehovah Witnesses and Evangelicals to continue discreetly. Both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church also observed a strict religious hierarchy that required the official sanction of theological interpretations and religious rituals. These concerns rendered impossible for religious practices to be conducted incognito. To save their institutions, religious leaders decided between accepting Soviet demands and holding defiant stances, hoping to counter anti-religious policies. The ability of these religious institutions to withstand and even combat religious repression depended on several organizational factors. The Soviet secularization project presents a unique opportunity to study how intense repression impacts the vitality of religious organizations.

Keywords: Stalin; Jehovah Witnesses; Roman Catholic Church; religious hierarchy; anti-religious policies; organizational factors

Chapter.  12477 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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