Polit Buro and the Church

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N. Petrovsky, S.G. Petrov

The petition of Archpriest A. I. Vvedensky for pardoning those sentenced to death in the case of the Petrograd clergy and believers. July 5, 1922

No. 24 - 29 25

July 5, 1922

To the Chairman of the Petrogubispolkom t. Zinoviev

The Revolutionary Tribunal today sentenced several churchmen to death for counter-revolutionary activities 26 .

The moral significance of this judgment is undoubtedly enormous. Counter-revolution is unacceptable in the church, even if it is covered with the most lofty slogans.

The ruthlessness in the assessment of counter-revolution in the church from the side of justice of the workers 'and peasants' government is an act that should heal those presumptuous church circles that wanted to turn the church into a counter-revolutionary organization.

I am the initiator of the renewal of the church, which wants to make the church not a kept woman of capital, but a fighter for the working people against the violence of the exploiters, who, with their wealth, make the position of the proletariat intolerable.

On February 18, I made a challenge to bourgeois Christianity in the pages of Petrograd [] Pravda. I am waging this struggle with him now and will continue to the end of my life. Since February 18th, my life has turned into a continuous torture, increasing every day. I was persecuted by the clergy, starting with the patriarch, the mob insulted me, there were several attempts on my life. At the beginning of the trial, I was gravely wounded in the head by this ecclesiastical counter-revolution, which hated me for openly pointing out its untruth and the truth of those ideals for which the Soviet government is fighting.

Threats to wipe me off the face of the earth from the Black Hundreds are increasing every day.

And yet, I think that you will not find it strange my request not to carry out the actual execution of this sentence. It is not only the fact that I am a Christian who is obliged to forgive and ask for my enemies to do this.

No, I think that, from a public point of view, it is enough: 1) to qualify the crime of churchmen as deserving capital punishment, 2) the Soviet government is now so strong that it can pardon its enemies, who, of course, are not dangerous to it. After all, these churchmen, as individuals, are so insignificant from the political point of view!

Wouldn't their complete isolation be enough, which would make them absolutely harmless to the state?

The sentence to execution, suspended by the mercy (and only by it) of the victorious proletariat, of course, will bring to the senses the fervent heads of the church counter-revolutionaries. The actual execution will create martyrs out of these churchmen for the crowd (which is why many of them want these shootings so much), which, of course, they do not deserve. I would like to speak with you personally about all this. But the stone wound prevents me from leaving the apartment: I am out of action for a long time.

Archpriest Alexander Vvedensky

Shpalernaya 34 sq. 17.

P. S. Our whole group will intercede with you.

- L. 45-46. Handwritten original, autograph. Top on l. 45 stamp on the document's belonging to the office work of the Politburo meeting, minutes No. 17, item 16 of July 13, 1922 (No. 24-33).

Notes and Comments:

25 July 9, 1922 A. I. Vvedensky sent to M. I. Kalinin a shorter petition for pardoning those sentenced to execution in the St. Petersburg process, close to those published in case 24 (No. 24-29 and 2434). Approving the “harsh but just sentence,” AI Vvedensky writes further, asking for its mitigation: “Even if they did not deserve this mercy, the circumstances of the church renewal compel me to ask for this mercy in every possible way. We are accused that it is we, the Renovationists, who are shooting Metropolitan Benjamin, whom the masses love, are accustomed to him and who (apart from the history of values) adhered to being apolitical in his speeches. From him the enemies of our movement want to make a martyr, killed by the “red priests.” This will terribly damage our cause, and we want, after all, a great deal of work - to make the church not an instrument of the bourgeoisie, but, on the contrary,

- GARF, f. A-353, op. 6, d.11, l. 64-65ob.

26 For this verdict, see No. P-148. In addition, on the Petrograd process, the following are published: a statement by Metropolitan Benjamin dated March 05, 1922 (No. P-21), minutes of a meeting of the Petrograd commission Pomgol with representatives of Metropolitan Benjamin dated April 06, 1922 (No. P-88), an appeal by Metropolitan Benjamin dated April 10, 1922 (No. P-96), P. A. Krasikov's indictment at the trial dated June 29, 1922 (No. P-145), the cassation appeal and the request of the defenders Ya.S. Gurovich and others about pardoning the convicts dated July 07, 1922 . (No. P-149).

In addition, the following documents on the Petrograd process were identified in the GARF:

1.                   "Agreement on the withdrawal of valuables from churches" between the Petrograd commission of Pomgol and representatives of Metropolitan Benjamin dated 06.04 1922 - GARF, f. A-353, op. 6, d.11, l. 56-rev. (published in Pravda on April 14, 1922).

2.                   A petition to pardon the rector of St. Isaac's Cathedral, Archpriest Leonid Konstantinovich Bogoyavlensky, sent to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee by his wife Zinaida Vasilievna and his children, dated 06.07 1922 - ibid., Fol. 79-80ob.

3.                   A petition for pardoning Metropolitan Benjamin, sent to the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee by the defender Yakov Samuilovich Gurovich, dated 09.07 1922 - ibid., P. 12-13ob.

4.                   The petition of a group of clergy "Living Church" for pardoning those sentenced to death, sent to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on July 8, 1922. The signatures are the same as in No. 2430, and 5 more signatures. Attached are positive reviews of the authorized VTsU Archpriest Mikhail Gremyachevsky about seven convicts - ibid., Fol. 140-141, 130-rev.

5.                   The statement of the VTsU to the VTsIK about the same from 09.07 1922 - in the same place, l. 52.

6.                   A petition for pardon for Yuri Petrovich Novitsky, sent by his defender M. S. Ravich to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on September 12, 1922 - ibid., P. 75-76ob.

7.                   Letters from Yu. P. Novitsky with a petition to abolish the death penalty of those sentenced in the Petrograd process, sent to the Central Executive Committee of A. S. Yenukidze, as well as V. A. Steklov to the newspaper Izvestia and to Professor Yu. Goibarkh 03-

14.07 1922 - in the same place, 60-63ob., L. 34-35ob., 36-38ob.

8.                   The petition of the lawyer L. I. Girinsky for pardoning the convicted, sent to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on July 18, 1922 - ibid., P. 123-rev.

9.                   "A note on the case of Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd, Professor Yu. P. Novitsky and others", compiled by "23 / ѴІІ 1922 professor of Petrograd University [illegible signature]" - ibid, fol. 43-


10.                A petition for clemency of convicts, sent by the Moscow Committee of the Political Red Cross to the Chairman of the

Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee MI Kalinin in July 1922 - ibid., P. 77-78ob.

11.                "Characteristics of ten sentenced to capital punishment by the resolution of the Petrograd Revolutionary Tribunal", signed "on the authority of the Living Church group" by Archpriest Alexander Boyarsky, listing mitigating circumstances, July 1922 - ibid., Pp. 137139ob.

12.                "Conclusion No. 410 / B" of the "member-rapporteur on cassation complaints" on the rejection of all cassation complaints in the Petrograd process, July 1922 - ibid., P. 131-13bob., 183-184.

A set of valuable documents about the Petrograd process with an interesting preface was published by M.V.Shkarovsky: Two episodes of the struggle against the church in Petrograd // Links. Issue 2. M .; SPb., 1992.S. 555-560, 569-579.

The petition of a group of clergy - "Living Church" for pardoning those sentenced to death in the case of the Petrograd clergy and believers. July 6, 1922 No. 24-30

In Petrogubispolkom

We, the undersigned, members of the Living Church, who stand on a diametrically opposite church position than the clergymen convicted yesterday by the Revolutionary Tribunal, bowing before the court of the workers 'and peasants' power, real, like Christian shepherds, petition the Petrogub Executive Committee to mitigate the fate of all clergymen condemned by capital punishment , in particular: Cheltsov, Kazansky, Yelachich, Plotnikov, Chukov, Bogoyavlensky, Bychkov and Shein.

Members of the Higher Church Administration:

Bishop John (Albinsky).

Archpriest Alexander Vvedensky.

Archpriest Mikhail Gremyachevsky, Commissioner of the Supreme Church Administration.

Members of the Petrograd Diocesan Administration:

Archpriest Vladimir Voskresensky

Archpriest Alexander Boyarsky.

Priest [ik] Vasily Telegin.

Living Church representatives:

Prot [priest] Evgeny Zapolsky

Archpriest Alexander Zarnitsky

Archpriest Jacob Zhuravsky

Archpriest Pavel Raevsky

Archpriest Mikhail Popov

22 July 6

- L. 44. Handwritten original; autograph of Archpriest A. I. Vvedensky, signature formulas - autographs. Above is the stamp of the document belonging to the office work of the Politburo meeting, minutes No. 17, item 16 of July 13, 1922 (No. 24-33). Here is also the handwritten incoming number of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) with the date "15 / VII22". In the center of the document there is a stamp of the Secret Archives of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) with an inventory number.


[1] * Corrected, in the MELHESEDEK document .

[2] * Corrected, in a docile kind.