The participation of the Orthodox clergy in the movement of Soviet resistance in the occupied territory of the North-West of Russia in 1941-1944

Historical Science and Archeology

The article considers the participation of Orthodox priests in the Soviet resistance movemente in occupied territories of the Northwest of Russia during the Great Patriotic War. On the basis of the analysis of the insufficiently studied archival sources and Russian historiography the position of Orthodox clergy during the Nazi occupation were examined. The authors pay attention to the fact that priests found themselves at the center of ideological confrontation of the Nazi and Soviet propaganda. Nazi occupants laid their hopes on the religious factor in their propagandistic policy, therefore they have revived religious cult. In turn, only the beginning of 1942 members of an underground and partisans realized the importance of involvement of clergy to fight against the invaders. Since 1942 the priests actively helped partisans, carrying out reconnaissance and sometimes acts of terrorism. Also they carried out The anti-nazi agitation and propaganda among the population and provided the means to the defense fund. As a result the authors has come to the conclusion that, despite the previous repression against the Russian Orthodox Church, many priests supported the Soviet resistance movement. Contrary to the expectations of the Nazis that the churches became the center of anti-Soviet propaganda, they became centers of Russian national identity.