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Статья опубликована в рамках: Научного журнала «Студенческий» № 9(137)

Рубрика журнала: История

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Библиографическое описание:
Rud I. RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ON THE BELGOROD LAND DURING THE GERMAN OCCUPATION AND AFTER THE LIBERATION IN 1943 // Студенческий: электрон. научн. журн. 2021. № 9(137). URL: https://sibac.info/journal/student/137/204785 (дата обращения: 05.03.2024).


Rud Iiya

master's degree student, Department of Philosophy and Theology, Belgorod State National Research University,

Russia, Belgorod


This article describes the difficult situation of the Belgorod diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church during the German occupation during the great Patriotic war of 1941-1945, as well as the time of the revival of Orthodoxy after the liberation of the city of Belgorod in 1943.


Keyword: The Russian Orthodox Church, Soviet Union, Great Patriotic war, the Belgorod region, occupation.


On June 22 1941, when the Russian Orthodox Church was celebrating the feast of all saints in the land of Russia who shone forth, at 4 o'clock in the morning, Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, unleashing a great bloody war. This terrible war was able to unite the Soviet leadership and the Church to fight against a common enemy, despite all the contradictions that have developed since 1917. The war has not spared the Belgorod land.

Already 4 months after the beginning of the war, on October 24 1941, the city of Belgorod was occupied during a successful offensive by the German-fascist troops. The occupation authorities decided from the first day to approve their «new order» with brutal massacres of local residents. In the work of Archpriest Oleg (Kobets), it is said about «2.5 thousand Belgorod residents who were shot in a distant Park, now it is a Memorial square on Gagarin street, about 2 thousand victims of innocent people burned alive in the sheds of the village of Peski, not far from Belgorod. On the Market square next to the Church in honor of the Transfiguration of the Lord, where today the cinema «victory» is located, the Germans installed a gallows, where many residents of Belgorod were hanged who violated their «ordnung» [2, p. 261].

After the capture of the territories Belgorod region, the fascist occupation authorities decided to take advantage of the confrontation between the Soviet leadership and the religious population in the pre-war period to rally all believers in the circle of German «liberators» against the Bolsheviks. In the occupied Belgorod land, where churches and monastery buildings were, in the best case, converted into clubs and warehouses or were in a dilapidated state, it was suggested that believers restore them and open them for worship about the victory of the «liberators» from the godless government. Therefore, it happened in all the occupied territories of our country [2, p. 260].

At this time, the territories of the Ivnyansky and Tomarovsky districts, the future Belgorod region, were occupied by the German-fascist army from October 1941 to February 1943 and from March 1943 (from July 1943 — the second occupation of the Ivnyansky district) to August 1943. For reference, on the territory Ivnyansky and Tomarovsky districts, according to archival documents, at the beginning of the great Patriotic war, not a single Church worked.

But when the districts were administered by the new occupation administration, the churches that were closed in the 30s were able to start working. For example, according to the statement, when registering the Voznesenskaya community of the village Kochetovka in the Ivnyansky district, the year of its beginning was 1941, before that the community did not function for nine months. St. George's Church of the village of Seretino in the Tomarovsky district opened on December 6 1941, and the Kazan Church in the Tomarovka settlement opened on December 15 1941. In the same year is the renewal worship in Mitrofanovskoe Church of the village Cobbled Komarovskogo district and the Church the intercession in the village Cluster of the same area. On February 4 1942, the assumption Church was reopened in the village Pushkarny in the Tomarovsky district. In the same year 1942, according to archival data, services were resumed «in the temples of the villages Khomuttsy, Kurasovka, sandy and Rich Ivnyansky district. In January 1943, parishes were reopened in the villages Novenkoe and Cherenovo in the Ivnyansky district» [3, p. 71].

On November 9 1941, after the closure of the newspaper «Belgorodskaya Pravda», the occupation newspaper «Voskhod» appeared. In this paper, it is possible to trace the life the Church in the occupation of Belgorod. Along with local collaborationist orders and German propaganda about the «new order» and the life of the «Aryan» nation in the great German Empire, Voskhod published various announcements and orders regarding religion in the city. For example, this newspaper published the following announcement: «on October 24 1942, the city Belgorod will celebrate the anniversary of the liberation of the city and the Orthodox Church from the Bolsheviks. At 11 o'clock in the morning, a solemn prayer service will be held in the Transfiguration Cathedral on this occasion. The Church warden» [2, p. 261].

In the newspaper «Voskhod» of February 8 1942, B. Voskresensky's note was published about the termination of looting: «the Local cemetery Church, which still remains homeless, despite the order published by the German Command prohibiting looting of the public domain, is being looted, apparently with the benevolent supervision of the cemetery watchman V. Morozov… There is still only a half-looted house in the cemetery, but even that, obviously, is living out its last days, which we have to sincerely regret, because both in the Church building and in the cemetery house there is still a lot of building material that can be used for the military needs of the German army, and for the needs of the city» [2, p.262].

Also at that time, the German occupation administration was trying to change the calendar of Church holidays, bringing it closer to the Catholic model. As an example, this would be the order of the chief Valuyskiy district, the mayor's Christmas village Council on the celebration of Christmas, New year, Epiphany and Candlemas in the new style of December 18 1942: «According to the order of the military command, and Dr. Rupa major holidays Christmas, New year, Epiphany and Candlemas should be celebrated in the new style: 25 December, 1 January, 6 January and 2 February. What to announce to the population and priests. Chief of the Valuysky district».

The order the Belgorod city Council of December 25 1942 on changing the date of Church holidays stated: «it is Hereby brought to the attention of the population of the city Belgorod that Christmas will be celebrated in a new style. Based on this order of the German military command, the Church should also hold a new style of celebration. The clergy of the city Belgorod should inform all parishioners about this. Mayor». But all this was never to come true, thanks to the invaluable feat of many believers and clergy the Belgorod region, who were able to defend our Orthodox canons. The fascists did not manage to drive a wedge between the believers and the authorities of our state [1, p. 262].

During the occupation, the fascists and collaborationist authorities decided to subjugate the leadership of the diocese. Bishop Efrem (Efremov), who was dismissed from the Kursk-Belgorod Department on October 26 1937, could not be replaced for a long time, so the diocese practically did not exist. From the first days of the German occupation of the territories of the diocese, they created the Belgorod and Grayvoron diocese under the subordination the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church, which was not recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church. On June 9 1942, the vicar of the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra, Pankratiy (Gladkov), was consecrated Bishop of Belgorod and Grayvoronsky in the city Pochaev, which was performed by Bishop Veniamin (Novitsky) of Poltava and Lubna. However, due to the fact that Belgorod was located outside the Reichskommissariat «Ukraine» in the frontline zone, the occupation authorities did not allow him to leave for Belgorod. He remained in the German-occupied Ukraine, in the city of Kiev. In 1943, Pankraty was already appointed Bishop of Nizhyn, vicar the Chernihiv diocese, neighboring to the Belgorod and Grayvoron diocese. After the liberation the Ukrainian SSR by the Soviet army, bishops Veniamin (Novitsky) and Pankraty (Gladkov) were arrested by order of the peoples Commissariat of Internal Affairs as traitors to the Motherland and accomplices the German occupiers, and were melted down in Siberian concentration camps, where Vladyka Pankraty soon died in 1944 [2, p.265].

On August 5 1943, on a holiday in honor the Pochaev icon of the mother of God, during the Belgorod-Kharkiv strategic offensive operation codenamed «Rumyantsev», the city Belgorod was liberated from the German occupiers and collaborationist administration. The Orthodox communities the Kursk-Belgorod diocese, after their liberation from the Nazi invaders, began to carry out their liturgical and educational activities much more freely. Parishes were freed from innovations and orders the occupiers that contradict the Orthodox canons [2, p. 262].

Since 1943, according to the research of Archpriest Oleg (Kobets), the process of revival the Kursk-Belgorod diocese began. «In the Belgorod region, for the first time since 1929, the bell ringing was approved, churches were restored and prayer houses were opened, and processions were allowed to be held throughout the city. There were requests from rural residents to open churches that were not used for their primary purpose. For example, residents of the village Novo-Alexandrovka in the Rovensky district who were unable to obtain permission from the local authorities to register their religious community applied to the Commissioner for the Russian Orthodox Church under the SNK the USSR and received a positive response. And the registration of the community of the village of Samoylovka in the Korochansky district was not much faster than in the Rovensky district. The local wooden Church, built in the XIX century, was converted into a club in 1930. The parish was able to resume its activities during the German occupation, and after the expulsion of the Nazis, the community was officially registered by the Soviet authorities» [2, p. 264].

According to the Commissioner the Commission for the consideration of religious issues, renamed the Council for the Russian Orthodox Church in the Kursk region in 1943, V. L. Yurkovetsky, the religious situation in the territory the Kursk-Belgorod diocese in the last years of the war was characterized as follows: «from 1941 to 1946, there was an intensive opening of new Orthodox parishes. During this time, 292 religious societies belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church were registered. If in 1941 20 new active parishes appeared on the territory the Belgorod and Kursk regions, by 1942 there were 128 of them, and in 1943 117 more Orthodox churches were opened...» [2, p.265]. «As July 1, 1945, there were 249 churches and 69 houses of worship in the diocese, where 313 priests and 21 deacons served. On August 10, 1945, the Church community the Transfiguration Cathedral of the city Belgorod signed a contract with the city Executive Committee, represented by its authorized representative-the head of the gorkommunkhoz V.I. Vershinina, agreement on unlimited and free use of the building of the main temple the city» [1, p. 264].

Since 1944, seven new religious communities have been registered on the territory the Ivnyansky district, but if in the villages Novenkoe, Peschanoe and Kochetovka services were held in churches, in the village Bogatoye services were held in the premises of the former Church gatehouse. And the rest the religious communities were located in premises adapted for religious needs – houses of worship. For example, in the village Kurasovka, the Orthodox community the Kosmodemyanskaya Church, which has been functioning since 1942, but was only registered in 1944, was located in the ordinary wooden hut of one the members this community, A.E. Medvedeva. which she rented out to the community, but in 1955 the Orthodox community was able to buy the house for 17,000 rubles. The Orthodox community was disbanded in 1969 due to the demolition of this house. An example of de-registration of a community is the Pokrovskaya Church in the village Kustovoye, Tomarovsky district, which was closed in 1949. After 1946, there was not a single clergyman in the case of this religious parish. On July 29 1949, by order of Zolotukhin, the Authorized representative of the Russian Orthodox Church for the Kursk region, all the property of the intercession Church was transferred to the Kazan Church the Tomarovka settlement.

In conclusion we would like to state, that Russian Orthodox Church in the Belgorod region has come a long way from the actual abolition of the local diocese to the mass opening of churches and prayer houses. Even the German occupiers, who tried to subdue the Church and pit them against the Soviet state, could not put the spirit the Belgorod clergy and believers to shame. They only rallied more for the sake of defeating a common enemy.



  1. Kremenev D. M. Renewal of parish life on the territory of the Ivnyansky and Tomarovsky districts of the Kursk region in 1943-1953 / / Belgorod Dialogue-2010. Problems of Russian and universal history: Sat. nauch. tr. Mezhdunar. nauch. konf. stud., mag. and aspir. / Ed. by E. N. Menshikov, S. N. Prokopenko (Belgorod, April 15-16, 2010). - Belgorod, 2010. — P.261-265.
  2. Oleg Kobets (Archpriest). History of the Belgorod Diocese: with the Blessing of His Eminence John, Archbishop of Belgorod and Starooskolsky / O. Kobets, A. N. Krupenkov, N. F. Krupenkov. 2-nd edition-Belgorod: Belg. obl. typogr. 2006 — 400 p.
  3. Occupation (Belgorod region in October 1941-August 1943) / Documents and materials. Authors-comp. A. N. Krupenkov, T. I. Utenina, L. B. Khromykh). - Belgorod: Publishing house. CONSTANT, 2010. — 376p.

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