Schisms of the Russian Church

The Russian church was a major part of everyday culture to much of the population in Russia. Over the early 1920’s the major changes that occurred to the church caused it to lose its grip on the churches hold of power in Russian society. After the actions of Patriarch Tikhon who had condemned the Bolsheviks the relations between the church and the Soviet government became more rocky. After the Bolsheviks were condemned by the church, Lenin and his fellow conspirators came up with a three pronged approach to undermining the churches’ authority. One of these attacks was to take all of the gold and foreign currency away from the people. This action applied to the churches as well and the large amounts of gold that the church controlled. The reasoning behind this was to pay for the lack of food that was plaguing the nation at this time.

After carrying out a number of operations to undermine and split the clergy of the Russian church. This campaign by the Bolsheviks helped to drive religion farther out from the political world and thus opening the door for the Bolsheviks to take more control of Russian politics. The Russian governments stand against the church drove the populations of Russia to split into pro and anti-church units in which sides were harshly divided. This tactic to drive the people of Russia to different sides was used by many fronts during the Russian revolution in order to make the public easier to manipulate.

6 thoughts on “Schisms of the Russian Church”

  1. It’s interesting how big of a role religion played and plays in daily Russian life. Lenin was smart to go after the church in order to consolidate his power. If he divided the church, which people looked up to and found comfort in, he could direct them towards the state is their new caretaker. Also, did Lenin persecute the church outright, or was he content taking their money and gold? Thanks for sharing!

  2. There are a lot of great posts about the relationship between the Bolsheviks and the Church this week! A few you might want to check out are Lester’s post on the war against religion and later religion in the war (, Courtney’s post on church gold (, and Mike’s post about the tensions between Church and State (

  3. I also wrote about the split between the Church and State, and I found your post to do a very good job at explaining the motives and outcomes of the event.

  4. This post is a good start to the topic, but it leaves me wanting more. Why didn’t the Bolsheviks like religion? What did they seek to gain with a weakened Church?

  5. Nice post Mitch. I also talked about the role of the church in my post. I think Lenin target the Church because he knew of their power and influence, and believed that they could successful bring about a counterrevolution. The power of the Church has been significant factor in many societies throughout history, not just in terms of religion but politics as well.

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