The Church in Soviet Lithuania Arūnas Streikus

The Church  in Soviet Lithuania

Published: 2012

ISBN: 9786098037197

Number of pages: 48

Dimensions: 115 mm x 200 mm

Cover: Paperback/softback

Publisher: Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras

This book is about the state of religious affairs on the eve of the foreign military occupations, changes in religious life during the first Soviet and Nazi occupations, the second Soviet occupation and the Soviet control imposed on religious life. This period is associated with closing down of churches and monasteries, the Soviet control over the network of parishes, repressing priests and restricting their religion-related studies, restricting the rights to manifest the faith, the Soviet anti-religious propaganda, the de-Christianisation of social life, the Soviet interfering into management affairs of the Church, the resonance of the Second Vatican Council in Lithuania. The movement for the rights of believers appeared due to the Soviet oppression. The persecution of believers ended with the erosion of the Soviet regime.


Re-occupation and introducing new ways to control religious life

During the war with Germany, the approach and anti-religion strategy of the Soviet regime changed. Under extreme conditions it became apparent that in spite of persecution for over two decades in the Soviet Union, religion still possessed great potential to mobilise society. This convinced the Soviet authorities to temporarily abandon their plans to destroy religion in the near future. The policy of straightforward assault, rarely very effective, was replaced with subtler methods aimed at re-creating organisations to make them pillars of the regime’s stability.
The main guidelines of the new anti-religious policy became:
1. Perfecting means of control over religious life;
2. Secret disruptive activity from within;
3. Using religious organisations for the political goals of the regime.
This policy had to be pursued through new institutions of religious control which were established by the end of the Soviet-German war. The

Arūnas Streikus

Arūnas Streikus obtained his doctorate from the Vilnius University in 2001. He is associate professor at Vilnius University Faculty of History since 2006, scholarly secretary of Lithuanian Catholic Academy of Science (2009-2015). His research interests include Church history in Lithuania in 20th century, cultural and political history of Lithuania under the Soviet rule. He is the author of numerous articles and some books on these topics; he has also edited collections of archival documents.


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