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§758 Bolshevik oppression of the Orthodox Church (1918-1988): VIII-98.

VIII-98 (§758):

Blood of the people of church shall be spread,
Like water in so great abundance:
And for a long time shall not be stanched
Woe with the clerk!
Ruin and complaints.

(Des gens d'eglise sang sera espandu,
Comme de l'eau en si grande abondance:
Et d'un long temps ne sera restanché
Ve ve au clerc ruyne & doleance.)

NOTES: Restancher: = « Étancher (to stop, to stanch).» (Huguet).

Ve: = « , interj., malheur (woe).» (Godefroy).

Serge Hutin proposes the theme of the quatrain as “the violent anticlericalism of the French revolutionaries as well as of the Bolsheviki of 1917” (Hutin, 1972, p.276), but the prediction of Nostradamus that « And for a long time shall not be stanched » can decide for the Russian Revolution. For the political suffering of the French Church under the revolutionary regime had lasted only 12 years [November 2nd, 1789: nationalization of property of church – July 15th, 1801: First Consul Napoleon’s Concordat with Papacy], whereas the Russian Orthodox Church endured the Communist Regime’s oppression for as many as 70 years [February 5th, 1918: separation of Church and State, of Church and School – June 14th, 1988: Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, makes an apology to the leaders of the Orthodox Church for the Party’s religious suppression in the past]. As to the wars of religion in France in the 16th century (cf. Janus, p.172; Guinard, 2011, p.158), their duration of 36 years [March 1st, 1562: Massacre at Wassy - April 13th, 1598: Edict of Nantes] does not exceed yet the case of the Soviet.

« Men who carry through political revolutions seem to be of two main types, the clerical and the romantic. Lenin (he adopted the pen-name in 1901) was from the first category. Both his parents were Christians. Religion was important to him, in the sense that he hated it. Unlike Marx, who despised it and treated it as marginal, Lenin saw it as a powerful and ubiquitous enemy. He made clear in many writings (his letter to Gorky of 13 January 1913 is a striking example) that he had an intense personal dislike for anything religious. ‘There can be nothing more abominable’, he wrote, ‘than religion’. From the start, the state he created set up and maintains to this day [as of 1983: date of the 1st edition of this work of the author], an enormous academic propaganda machine against religion. He was not just anti-clerical like Stalin, who disliked priests because they were corrupt. On the contrary, Lenin had no real feelings about corrupt priests, because they were easily beaten. The men he really feared and hated, and later persecuted, were the saints. The purer the religion, the more dangerous. A devoted cleric, he argued, is far more influential than an egotistical and immoral one. The clergy most in need of suppression were not those committed to the defense of exploitation but those who expressed their solidarity with the proletariat and the peasants. With his extraordinary passion for force, he might have figured in Mohammed’s legions. He was ever closer perhaps to Jean Calvin, with his belief in organizational structure, his ability to create one and dominate it utterly, his puritanism, his passionate self-righteousness, and above all his intolerance.» (Johnson, 1991, p.50-51).

« Peter Alagiagian was born in Armenia, which had for a long time been part of the Russian Empire and where the small Roman catholic Church had been under severe stricture during the tsarist régime. He went to Rome to train for the priesthood, became a Jesuit and took advantage of the British occupation of the Caucasus after the Revolution  to return to his own part of the world. Shortly after his arrival in Georgia, the Soviet Navy made landings in this area in order to suppress the independent democratic governments of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia which had been set up at the Revolution. The first act of the occupying troops was to pass on various proclamations from Moscow, including one guaranteeing religious liberty to all Soviet citizens: there would be no interference in religious affairs and all religions and all branches of the Christian faith would have completely equal rights in the eyes of the law. Fr. Alagiagian’s natural reaction to this was one of restrained enthusiasm. It seemed that the special privileges and protection which the small branch of the Russian Orthodox Church in Georgia had enjoyed under the old régime were at an end and that this would inevitably benefit the Roman Catholics. Some converts were made; so Fr. Alagiagian prepared large-scale plans for his missionary activities, including founding an orphanage at Batumi for two hundred refugee children. By this time the Soviets were following up their military conquest by terrorizing the local population in a typical attempt to reduce the people to servility. No one suffered worse than the Church. Its buildings and properties were seized and the Soviet authorities converted many churches and monasteries into dance-halls, cinemas or anti-God museums. Monks and nuns were turned loose on the streets with no asylum or means of supporting themselves. Not only did priests not have the right to vote: they could not join a trade union and find alternative temporary work. Many were denied ration cards, and were thus given the alternative of seeing their wives and families starving on the streets or of sending tem off to some commune for a full course of Communist indoctrination. No religious instruction was allowed in schools, but some parishes managed to keep their churches open. This was possible where twenty people could be found to sign a petition to keep their place of worship. Those who signed were brave men and women. They had to supply their names, addresses and places of work; they must have known that to sign might mean a death-warrant if pressure against religion should be further increased, yet many gladly took the risk for the sake of their faith. One such group gave Fr. Alagiagian the possibility of continuing his work in Georgia, though on a very reduced scale.» (Bourdeaux, 1965, p.50-51);

« Soon his parishioners were being threatened with losing their jobs if they continued to attend church. Many joined atheistic societies and stopped coming to worship, but continued praying in their own houses and seeing their priest in secret. Those who still practiced their religion openly were further terrorized. Children were indoctrinated in the schools to such an extent that they were persuaded to form processions to the various places of worship on Sundays, break into the services carrying red flags and blasphemous emblems, and hurl insults at God, the meaning of which they themselves were scarcely old enough to understand. They were trained to inform the authorities of the activities of believing parents. Here is an example which Fr. Alagiagian gives from his own experience of the way in which these children were indoctrinated. One day a woman came to see him and said: ‘ “Yesterday my eight-year-old son, Carlitos, came home breathless with fatigue and excitement. He told me that when school was ended the children were taken on an outing which lasted more than two hours. Then they were conducted to the public park and took part in physical exercises for more than half an hour. At the end of that time they were asked, ‘Boys, are you hungry?’ and they naturally said that they were famished. Then these fiendish bolshevists told them to ask God to give them their daily bread. This petition was repeated three times and then then the children were asked if God had given them any bread. Then the bewildered youngsters were told that they could see for themselves that there was no God, for their prayers went unanswered. Then the same petition was made in the name of Lenin and immediately there appeared a truck-full of bread, cheese and fruit which was divided among the hungry children. ‘You see now,’ they were told, ‘it is not God that provides bread but Lenin’.” ’ This episode is a striking illustration of the process by which Lenin, and later Stalin, were literally deified by the Party machine for the benefit of the popular imagination. An outstanding example of what I call the ‘Lenin/God’ or ‘Stalin/God mythology’ occurred on the occasion of Stalin’s seventieth birthday, which conveniently coincided with the Orthodox Christmas of 1949. The Soviet illustrated journal, Ogonyok, printed an impressive picture on its front page. It showed vast crowds milling in Red Square, illuminated from above and behind by a supernatural glow. It came from a huge star in the sky which gave off brilliant rays all emanating from its central point – the face of Stalin… Fr. Alagiagian was geographically far removed from the centre of events during the first years after the Communists’ seizure of power. Had he lived closer to Moscow or Leningrad, he undoubtedly would not have survived to tell his story. There were many thousands of priests, mainly Russian Orthodox, but of other denominations also, who could have recounted their experiences in much more horrific detail if they had lived to do so. Most of those who did survive have had their voices muted by the course of events, yet an amazing amount of material on the Church’s suffering during these years has been collected by observers in the West (See Notes for Reading (pp.238-9)).» (Bourdeaux, id., p.51-53);

« The new wave of persecution in the late ’twenties was more systematic than anything which had preceded it. According to the first Five-Year Plan (1929-34), education was to be the main instrument used in converting the people to atheism. Every factory, workshop and communal house had to have its compulsory course of instruction. Besides this, Stalin issued a decree on 8th April 1929 which formally restricted the Church’s activities to the conduct of divine worship (though this merely legalized a state of affairs which already existed). The decree stated: ‘Religious unions are forbidden… to give material aid to their members; they may not organize prayer groups or any other special meetings for children, young people or women. General meetings for any purpose whatsoever are forbidden… Religious associations may not organize excursions and children’s playgrounds, open libraries and reading rooms, or maintain sanatoria and give medical aid. Only such books as are necessary for the performance of services are permitted in church buildings and houses of prayer.’ Most country parishes suffered acutely in 1929-30, the years of the forced collectivization of agriculture. The seminaries had already been closed, thus cutting off the supply of young priests to replace the old. At the same time as they seized colossal numbers of churches, the authorities claimed that as there were now so few parishes that more priests would not be needed. Severe penalties awaited the priests who objected to this sequestration of their churches; many were arrested and sent to Siberia, while others were shot. Those who acquiesced were totally deprived of their civil rights and it was difficult for them to get permission to earn their living by manual labour. Those who renounced their faith altogether, which under such pressure happened not infrequently, had to prove themselves by five years of hard work before they could be reinstated as citizens. A few years of comparative respite in the early ’thirties, during which there were almost no events of note as far as the churches were concerned, were followed by the worst time of all, the ‘Great Purge’ of 1937-8. During this time there was not a citizen in the Soviet Union, no matter what his allegiance, who did not fear nightly the coming of the N.K.V.D. (People’s Commissariat for Home Affairs, a euphemistic title for the secret police). Several fascist plots were ‘discovered’ among the clergy, and the executioner’s blade hovered above the heads of all Orthodox clerics.» (Bourdeaux, id., p.56-58).

« The Orthodox Church, relieved after the February Revolution from the control by the Bureau of Cult, gained a chance of promoting its autonomous activity. But, the ecclesiastics were not able to be up with the rapid evolutions of the revolutionary epoch, always in delay in accommodating themselves to the situation, and became more and more hostile against the Bolshevik Regime. The Soviet Government separated the Church from the State and from the School through the Decree adopted on February 2nd (January 22nd), 1918. This Decree deprived the religious organizations of their corporate status, prohibited their properties and gave all the citizens the freedom of performing cults as well as anti-religious propagandizing. In the beginning of the Civil War the clergy fiercely resisted the Bolshevik authority, but in 1919 the Archbishop Tihon declared their political neutrality. In 1921, when a very bad crop caused millions of casualties, the post-war prestige of the Church was drastically damaged. Under the approval by the Soviet Government the Orthodox Church voluntarily began to collect contributions including its own donation for the starveling on February 22nd, 1922. Nine days later, however, the Government decided the obligatory contribution of the property of the Church to purchase foods from abroad. The Church opposed it strongly and it occurred in the countryside bloody conflicts between the orthodox and the troops of the Red Army or the Secret Agency. On the moment the Authority decided to suppress thoroughly the Orthodox Church. Immediately began the arrest in mass and the ecclesiastics as well as the secular were executed after open trials, and simultaneously the Archbishop Tihon was reported apprehended. He apologized in part and sought to be set free in Summer, 1923, having a sense of crisis in facing the maneuvers of the Security Police for splitting up the Orthodox Church. His statement appeased the maneuvers and the Government itself became indifferent to the policy of division. Tihon died in 1925 in his confinement. In 1926 the deputy-Archbishop Sergij in succession to Tihon, and the Inner Bureau of the Church made many concessions to stabilize the interrelation of the State and the Church, and in 1927 when the Soviets were in bad international relations, appealed to the orthodox and their clergy for becoming loyal citizens of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.» (Wada, et al., 1997, p.125-126).

« The advance of the Russian Army since the beginning of 1943 and the popular image of the top of the State Stalin, who had not made use of his prerogatives in favor of his son taken prisoner by the Germans, produced a personal solidarity between him and the nation, which was intensified also by his policy at this time. It concerns his conciliation with the Church. Soon after the outbreak of war, the traditional anti-religious activities were suspended, and little by little the churches began to be rehabilitated everywhere. And by 1943 the relation between the State and the Church became a kind of covenant, through which the Church was given public supports and itself promised to assist more the war promotion.» (Wada, et al., id., p.280-281).

« In the election campaign in Moscow for the Supreme Soviet on February 9th, 1946, Stalin said that this victory of the Great Patriotic War proved the preponderance of the Soviet social system and with it the righteousness of the policies such as Quinquennial Plans and the Collectivization that effected it. His central message was to emphasize that there was no need to change the traditional regime even a little. But after this speech there took place a great famine in the country and the nation’s discontent increased, which testifies that there spread a wide gap between the Regime led by Stalin and the people’s mind. In these situations, the intermediate classes between them could have great influence upon the political future.» (Wada, et al., id., p.300-301).

« The Orthodox Church, too, was one of these intermediary organizations intervening between the nation and the authority. In January 1948, in fact, the number of the formally registered parishes was as many as 14,329 (300 larger than that of the year before), symbolizing the increasing prestige of the Church since the conciliation with the power during the war. But this trend ended in 1950, and thereafter the number diminished every year by several hundred units. This is considered as the result of the oppressive policy by the authority in fear of the growth of the influence of the Church. For example, the number of the rescission of the registered church buildings had not exceeded 20 a year in 1944 – 47, but reached 73 in 48 and even 400 in 50. » (Wada, et al., id., p.326).
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© Koji Nihei Daijyo, 2018. All rights reserved.
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Koji Nihei Daijyo

Author:Koji Nihei Daijyo
We have covered 143 quatrains (§588-§730) concerning the World Events in the 19th century after Napoleonic ages [1821-1900] in the Prophecies of Nostradamus, and 218 in the 20th [1901-2000] (§731-§948).

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