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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7040067

Sergei and the “Divinely Appointed” Stalin: Theology and Ecclesiology in Church-State Relations in the Soviet Union in the Lead-up to the Cold War

1
School of Humanities and Social Science, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia
2
School of Liberal Arts, Renmin University of China, 59 Zhongguancun Street, Beijing 100872, China
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christians and the Cold War)
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Abstract

In contrast to the tendency to focus on political and social reasons for the rapprochement between the Soviet government and the Russian Orthodox Church, between Stalin and the later patriarch Sergei, this article deals with theological and ecclesiological sensibilities. One would expect such reasons from the side of the church but I also argue that they were important for Stalin’s considerations and acts. His deep awareness and intimate knowledge of the church, and active involvement and concrete proposals in the long interaction between church and state, were as important as those of Sergei. The article begins with a reconsideration of Stalin’s period of theological study, which influenced him deeply and provided with him unique insights into the nature of the church. After this period, an intriguing path unfolds, through key categories of Stalin’s thought thought and his effort—which was strongly opposed – to include the article on religious freedom in the 1936 constitution, let alone the definition of socialism (in contrast to communism) in terms of two biblical verses in the very same constitution. At the same time, the statements and actions of Sergei, already from 1927, were also part of the narrative, so the analysis moves between church and state until the meeting in 1943. All of this is crucial material for understanding developments in the period officially known as the Cold War. View Full-Text
Keywords: Stalin; Sergei; theology; ecclesiology; church-state relations; rapprochement; concordat Stalin; Sergei; theology; ecclesiology; church-state relations; rapprochement; concordat
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Boer, R. Sergei and the “Divinely Appointed” Stalin: Theology and Ecclesiology in Church-State Relations in the Soviet Union in the Lead-up to the Cold War. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 67.

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