The 1922 removal of jewelry from churches in Russia

The 1922 removal of jewelry from churches in Russia was held by the Bolshevik government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to combat the Russian famine of 1921–1922.[1] During 1922, precious metals and gems were removed by state authorities from churches of all denominations. Subject to confiscation or articles intended exclusively for liturgical purposes (holy chalices), which is set in a very vulnerable position of the clergy, and caused the resistance of the congregation. The clergy organized resistance to the removal of church jewelry, therefore the campaign was accompanied by repression against the clergy.

1922 Russian famine aid poster. The caption above the image: «Hunger-spider strangles the peasantry of Russia». Image caption: «Churches gold should go to save the hungry from death»
Confiscation of church property in Petrograd, by Ivan Vladimirov
Monument to clergy and laity killed during resistance during the removal of jewelry from churches to help the starving. Shuya, the square in front of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

On February 5, 1918, the Soviet government issued the Decree on Separation of Church from State and School from Church. According to this document, all property in the Russian Orthodox Church and in other religious organizations, including land, premises, church utensils, was nationalized and became the property of the state. According to the decree, buildings and objects intended specifically for liturgical purposes, were given, under special decrees of local or central state power, to the free use of the respective religious societies.[2][3] The Decree displeased the leadership of the Russian Church. On February 28, 1918, Patriarch Tikhon and the Synod of the Russian Church issued a message instructing the clergy to begin a struggle against the Decree. The message said that in order to protect the Church and its property, it is necessary to organize unions (collectives) at all churches from the parishioners, which should protect the holy places and church property from encroachment.[4][5] Some believers tried to resist when representatives of the state made an inventory of the property of churches and monasteries. Resistance was crushed, and resistance activists ended up in the dock (Samarin-Kuznetsov trial).[6] In 1921, famine began in Russia. Means were needed to purchase bread abroad, but the Republic of Soviets did not have them. There was an idea to use for this purpose part of the values concentrated in the churches.[7] On February 23, 1922, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued a decree «On the Seizure of Church Jewelry».[8] The decree ordered the local organs of Soviet power to remove from the churches all products made of gold, silver and precious stones and transfer them to the Central Fund for the Relief of the Starving. Patriarch Tikhon hindered of the removal of jewelry from churches.[9][10] He believed that church utensils according to church canons belong to God and the Church and issued a message to believers on February 28, 1922.[11] In the message, he forbade the seizure of sacred objects, the use of which is not for liturgical purposes, and called this act «svyatotatstvo» – stealing of sacred things. According to the patriarch, for such an action, the laity should be excommunicated, and clergymen are to be expelled from the dignity. To substantiate his opinion, the patriarch referred to the 73 canon of the apostles[12] and the 10 canon of the Protodeutera Council.[13][14][15] The consequence of the message of the patriarch was a clash between representatives of power and believers.[16] The most famous armed clash occurred in Shuya. Here, a crowd of believers, armed with wooden stakes, tried not to let the representatives of power to seize church jewelry to help the starving. The authorities opened fire, as a result of 4 people were killed and several wounded. After the events in Shuya, trials took place, at which direct participants in the events and Patriarch Tikhon as the author of the message appeared on the dock.[17]

The company of the removal of jewelry from churches in Russia for the help of the hungry was completed on May 26, 1922.

According to The New York Times, eight priests, two laymen and one woman were sentenced to death in Moscow on May 8, 1922, for having opposed the requisitioning of Church treasures.[18]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Православие: Словарь атеиста / Под ред. Н. С. Гордиенко. — М.: Политиздат, 1988. — 270[2] с.; 17 см.; ISBN 5-250-00079-7 : / Стр. 89
  2. ^ Декрет СНК РСФСР от 23 January 1918 Об отделении церкви от государства и школы от церкви
  3. ^ Православие: Словарь атеиста / Под ред. Н. С. Гордиенко. — М.: Политиздат, 1988. — 270[2] с.; 17 см.; ISBN 5-250-00079-7 : / Стр. 89
  4. ^ Постановление Святейшего Патриарха Тихона и Священного Синода о деятельности церковно-административного аппарата в условиях новой государственной власти. 15 (28) февраля 1918 г.
  5. ^ Христианство / Большая советская энциклопедия (1-е издание), т. LX (1934): Холангит — Цянь, стлб. 128—192; (стлб. 185)
  6. ^ Следственное дело Патриарха Тихона : Сб. док. по материалам Центр. архива ФСБ РФ. - М. : Правосл. Св.-Тихон. Богосл. ин-т, 2000. - 1015 с., (16) л. ил., портр. : ил., портр.; 25 см. - (Материалы по новейшей истории Русской Православной церкви / Правосл. Св.-Тихон. Богосл. ин-т; Ред. кол.: Протоиерей Владимир Воробьев (гл. ред.) и др.).; С. 86 ISBN 5-88451-086-1
  7. ^ Русское православие: вехи истории / Я. Н. Щапов, А. М. Сахаров, А. А. Зимин и др.; Науч. ред., глава авт. коллектива, авт. вступ. ст. и послесл. А. И. Клибанов. - М. : Политиздат, 1989. - 719,(1) с. : ил.; 21 см. / Стр. 621; ISBN 5-250-00246-3 (В пер.) :
  8. ^ Одинцов, Михаил Иванович. / «Русские патриархи ХХ века. Судьбы Отечества и Церкви на страницах архивных документов». Москва. Издательство РАГС. 1999. Стр. 59-60 Постановление ВЦИК об изъятии церковных ценностей. 23 февраля 1922 г.; ISBN 5-7729-0039-0
  9. ^ Православие: Словарь атеиста / Под ред. Н. С. Гордиенко. — М.: Политиздат, 1988. — 270[2] с.; 17 см.; ISBN 5-250-00079-7 : / Стр. 240
  10. ^ Атеистический словарь / [Абдусамедов А. И., Алейник Р. М., Алиева Б. А. и др. ; под общ. ред. М. П. Новикова]. - 2-е изд., испр. и доп. - Москва : Политиздат, 1985. - 512 с.; 20 см / С. 446
  11. ^ Следственное дело Патриарха Тихона : Сб. док. по материалам Центр. архива ФСБ РФ. - М. : Правосл. Св.-Тихон. Богосл. ин-т, 2000. - 1015 с., (16) л. ил., портр. : ил., портр.; 25 см. - (Материалы по новейшей истории Русской Православной церкви / Правосл. Св.-Тихон. Богосл. ин-т; Ред. кол.: Протоиерей Владимир Воробьев (гл. ред.) и др.).; С. 142 ISBN 5-88451-086-1
  12. ^ Canon LXXIII: «Let no one convert to his own use any vessel of gold or silver, or any veil which has been sanctified, for it is contrary to law; and if anyone be detected doing so, let him be excommunicated». – The Canons of the Holy and Altogether August Apostles
  13. ^ Canon 10: Those who appear to be victims of their own passions not only do not shudder at the thought of the punishment provided by the sacred Canons, but have actually dared to laugh them to scorn. For they distort themselves, and in conformity with their venomous nature they forge their will awry; in order that thanks to the magnanimity of their venom, according to St. Gregory the Theologian, not only may the evil be kept from affecting their responsibility, but may even be thought something divine. For this holds true in the case of the Apostolic Canon which says that no one shall appropriate any golden or silver vessel that has been sanctified, or any piece of cloth, to his own use. For that would be unlawful. If anyone be caught doing so, let him be disciplined with excommunication. Taking this Canon to be in effect an advocacy of their own unlawful deeds, they allege that one must not deem those men worthy of deposition who employ the venerable tablecloth of the Holy Table to make a tunic for themselves or reshape it into any other vestment. Not only so, but not even those who employ the holy chalice. Oh, what impiety! or the venerable paten; or things akin to these, because they expend them for needs of their own, or defile them outright. For the Canon says that those who become guilty of this are to be punished with excommunication, but has made no one liable to deposition for such an act. But who would tolerate the magnitude of any such perversion and impiety? For notwithstanding that the Canon inflicts excommunication upon those who merely use what is sanctified, but do not appropriate it to the extent of purloining it entirely, they, on the other hand, exempt from deposition those who plunder and sacrilege the equipment of the Holies of Holies, and as for those who pollute the venerable patens or sacred cups by putting them into use for the serving of food, so far at any rate as they rely upon their own judgment, they rank them as undeposed, notwithstanding that the contamination has become apparent to all, and it is plain that those who do such things not only incur liability to deposition from office, but even become subject to charges of committing the worst kind of ungodliness. Wherefore the holy Council has decreed that (those who purloin for their own profit, or who misuse for some unsacred purpose, in general any one of the sacred and holy vessels or utensils in the sacrificial altar, or of the vestments, or the holy chalice, or the paten, or the tongs, or the venerable tablecloth, and the so-called “air”),i are to be compelled to undergo total and complete deposition. For one charge is that of having profaned, and the other charge is that of having plundered the holies. As touching those, however, who convert to an unsacred use for themselves, or bestow upon another person, consecrated vessels or vestments outside of the sacrificial altar, the Canon excommunicates them and we join in excommunicating them. But as for those who utterly purloin them and take them away we make them liable to condemnation as sacrilegists. – The Canons of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The so called First-Second Council – 861.
  14. ^ Послание свт. Тихона Патриарха Московского 15/28 февр. 1922
  15. ^ Следственное дело Патриарха Тихона : Сб. док. по материалам Центр. архива ФСБ РФ. - М. : Правосл. Св.-Тихон. Богосл. ин-т, 2000. - 1015 с., (16) л. ил., портр. : ил., портр.; 25 см. - (Материалы по новейшей истории Русской Православной церкви / Правосл. Св.-Тихон. Богосл. ин-т; Ред. кол.: Протоиерей Владимир Воробьев (гл. ред.) и др.).; С. 114 ISBN 5-88451-086-1
  16. ^ Русское православие: вехи истории / Я. Н. Щапов, А. М. Сахаров, А. А. Зимин и др.; Науч. ред., глава авт. коллектива, авт. вступ. ст. и послесл. А. И. Клибанов. - М. : Политиздат, 1989. - 719,(1) с. : ил.; 21 см. / Стр. 621; ISBN 5-250-00246-3 (В пер.) :
  17. ^ Следственное дело Патриарха Тихона : Сб. док. по материалам Центр. архива ФСБ РФ. - М. : Правосл. Св.-Тихон. Богосл. ин-т, 2000. - 1015 с., (16) л. ил., портр. : ил., портр.; 25 см. - (Материалы по новейшей истории Русской Православной церкви / Правосл. Св.-Тихон. Богосл. ин-т; Ред. кол.: Протоиерей Владимир Воробьев (гл. ред.) и др.).; С. 129 ISBN 5-88451-086-1
  18. ^ EIGHT RUSSIAN PRIESTS SENTENCED TO DEATH NyTimes.com

ReferencesEdit