Alive after the Fall Review

Surviving World War III

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diocesan structure, the opening of monasteries and seminaries, and even the right to a publication, Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate). The next ten years to Stalin's death in 1953 and the five years thereafter were, by comparison with the immediate past, almost a golden age, during which the church re-established some semblance of normality.

In addition, there was a significant revival of church life in those territories conquered by the Germans thanks to the activities of Dmitrii Voskresenkii, better known as Metropolitan Sergii. He was originally installed as metropolitan of Vilnius and All Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by the Soviets, when they occupied Riga in 1940. He subsequently threw in his lot with the Nazis. As the latter pushed eastwards, so, in his capacity as exarch of'Ostland', Metropolitan Sergii claimed jurisdiction over the conquered territories. He had no canonical authority for his action, nor, in the circumstances, was it possible for him to achieve it. The church in these ex-Soviet territories was in a deplorable state and Sergii set about putting this right. He called this enterprise the Pskov Spiritual Mission, and it was the ancient city of Pskov, where scarcely a single church had been left active and intact, that witnessed the greatest revival. By 1943 some eighty-five priests were celebrating the liturgy in over 220 parishes.7 Sergii's murder, after the repossession of Pskov by the Red Army, remains a crime for which the Germans blamed the Soviets and vice versa.

The rest of the Orthodox world

Greece was caught up in a conflict with communist guerrillas and the late 1940s saw the murder of some sixty Orthodox priests, some following torture and even crucifixion, but the attempt to turn the country into yet another client state of Moscow in the Balkans, alongside contiguous Bulgaria and Albania, failed. After the shaking of the foundations of European civilisation, the Orthodox churches in Bulgaria and Romania found themselves in states now subservient to the Kremlin.

Bulgaria achieved independence in 1908.8 But the first Balkan war (1912), followed soon afterwards by the First World War, saw the country entangled in a succession of disadvantageous alliances, which entailed the loss ofterritory and led in 1935 to King Boris's authoritarian regime. Bulgaria then entered World War II on the side of the Nazis. Inevitably, this led to subjugation by the Red Army and the conversion of the country into the Soviet Union's closest political

8 For a succinct account of Bulgaria's convoluted church history, see T. Beeson, Discretion and valour, revised edition (London: Collins Fount Paperbacks, 1982), 329-31.

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