acquisition of the relics of St Iov on 28 August 1966.23 Before long there was a report on a visit by a group of Americans - a sure sign that the Soviets had relented.24 The west acquired documents, such as those defendingthe Pochaev monastery in various ways, but by the end of the 1960s the reading of samizdat became an essential feature for the study of the USSR.25
Monasticism was beginning to emerge as an enduring feature of Orthodox spiritual life. This cause was taken up by a remarkable publicist for the Russian Orthodox Church, Anatolii Levitin, a layman who had formerly been a deacon in the Living Church. Among many themes in his work, the defence of monasticism as a spiritual reality in the developing life of the Orthodox Church stands out. His essay, Monasticism in the Modern World, is a prelude to the revival during the last decade of the twentieth century, when hundreds of new monasteries and convents opened in all parts of Russia and Ukraine. Levitin wrote:
Monasticism is not an institution, foundation or a historical phenomenon, but an element, just as love, art and religion are elements ...Itisa miracle, a direct act of God's grace, which changes human nature itself... We firmly believe in the coming of a new wave of monasticism in the Russian Church. The future of Russia is with the ardent and zealous young people of our country who, despite opposition, are every day attaining to the faith. New monks will come from among them - zealous warriors for Christ's cause. They will renew and transform the Church of Christ and the Russian land with their purity, self-sacrifice and spiritual ardour.26
Despite scattered (though convincing) evidence that the spiritual life of the Russian Orthodox Church had survived during the 1960s and 1970s and may even have begun to revive, there was a grey and static quality about the Soviet Union during the years in office of Leonid Brezhnev as general secretary of the Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev was elected on 11 March 1985, following a period of over two years of gerontocracy, when two consecutive leaders, Iuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko, had proved themselves barely able to
23 Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii 12 (December 1966), 38.
25 See, for example, Michael Bourdeaux, Risen indeed: lessons infaithfrom the USSR (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1983), 5-9. See especially in the religious field the work of Keston College, a research institute from 1969 located near Bromley in Kent, England (later in Oxford).
26 Bourdeaux, Patriarch andprophets, 87, 89-90.
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