was no widespread open support for the two priests. However, one senior figure, Archbishop Ermogen of Kaluga, did take up the issues, for which intervention he was forced to retire to the Zhirovitsy monastery. He claimed in particular that the only way to solve these questions was to convene a sobor, which had not happened since the election of Patriarch Aleksii in 1945. The government's control of church affairs had produced an intolerable situation, or as the archbishop put it:
Here lies the basic disaster. The discretion of the government officials completely controls all questions concerned with granting priests their requests for registration legally to conduct services . . . This paralyses the internal church activity of the diocesan bishop and makes him completely dependent on the government official.21
There was not a single bishop at that time whose pastoral administration could proceed unaffected by secular interference. Yet collectively they averted their gaze. There was no tradition of protest and they hoped that, by not becoming involved in the dispute, they would be able to carry on their work, using the limited freedom available to them. This varied considerably from area to area, depending on the antireligious motivation of the local representative of the Council for Religious Affairs.
Yet without question there were from the second half of the 1960s growing numbers of protest documents, but also a more profound expression of spiritual concerns. One such topic was the revival of monasticism. At this time there were still monasteries in existence, which had reopened during or after World War II. Nikita Khrushchev decided, as part of his antireligious campaign (1959-64), to close these down, possibly intending to leave one or two behind as showplaces for the benefit of foreign visitors. One of the key targets was the flourishing monastery at Pochaev in western Ukraine. The monks themselves, continually harassed by the local atheist authorities, found support in the persons of local village women, relatives and friends of the victims. Between them, over a period of several months, they amassed the facts, wrote them up in simple but accurate form, and smuggled the resulting documents to the west. The texts focused world attention on a specific issue, a community and a building, which had never happened before.22
It is almost certain that the resulting publicity in the world press saved the monastery. The Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii itself began to report on activities at Pochaev: for example, the celebration of the anniversary of the
21 Bourdeaux, Patriarch and prophets, 251-2.
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