BELIKOVA N.Yu. State Policy Concerning Russian Orthodox Church Between 1958 and 1964 (Based on Krasnodar Krai)


Natalia Yu. Belikova

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Department of History and Philosophy, Kuban State Technological University,

Moskovskaya St., 2, 350072 Krasnodar, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The article is devoted to the problem of revealing the consequences of state religious policy in the region under study in the period between 1958 and 1964. The initial date is associated with the end of the post-Stalin struggle for leadership in the Communist party and the state and the formation of a new Church policy aimed at the destruction of religious organizations in the USSR. The end of the period is associated with the change of the top leadership of the USSR and the attendant changes in religious policy. In order to identify the consequences of state religious policy, the author analyzes the nature and content of this policy, as well as the attitude of believers to the anti-church actions of local authorities. The territory of the Krasnodar and Kuban dioceses in the period under study corresponded to the administrative borders of Krasnodar Krai. This diocese was headed by Metropolitan Viktor (Svyatin).

Methods and materials. The use of the statistical method allowed the author to reveal the dynamics of personnel changes among the Orthodox clergy, the number of closed temples in the Krasnodar and Kuban dioceses and the number of religious ceremonies performed by the clergy. As a result of applying the system method the author reveals that not only local Soviet and party authorities took part in implementing religious policy, but also the public was actively involved that gave large-scale anti-Church actions.

Analysis. The aspiration of authorities to the full replacement of the Orthodox church from life of citizens in the region under study led to the loss of more than a half of personnel structure of priests and to closing more than 50 % of temples. To fight against religious traditions the government used both administrative measures expressed in changing the rules of the baptism ceremony, and distribution of experience of Soviet non-religious rites. These measures led to the fact that in the period between 1958 and 1964 the number of baptisms decreased by 38.2 %, weddings – by 87 %, funerals – by 66 %. However, residents of the region continued to visit churches and participate in religious ceremonies.

Results. It was found that in Krasnodar Krai the rite of baptism amounted to the largest percentage compared to other rites, which indicates the greater demand for thisrite among the parishioners. As a result of the state religious policy, the Orthodox Church as an institution was dealta serious blow, but it was not possible to eliminate the religiosity of the population.

Key words: Orthodox church, Krasnodar Krai, religious policy, baptism, religious rites.

Citation. Belikova N.Yu. State Policy Concerning Russian Orthodox Church Between 1958 and 1964 (Based on Krasnodar Krai). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 135-147. (in Russian). DOI:

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State Policy Concerning Russian Orthodox Church Between 1958 and 1964 (Based on Krasnodar Kra by Belikova N.Yu. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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