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Russian Orthodox Congregations in Estonia in the New Political Situation during the Post-War Period

This article deals with the problem of Orthodox parishes in Estonia in 1944–1946 after the Nazi occupation. Its focus is on the reasons, process and results of the reunification of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church with the Moscow Patriarchate during that period. Special attention is paid to relations between Soviet officials and Orthodox clerics, especially regarding ideology and loyalty to the new political system. In this article, the author analyses how the Orthodox clergy took part in Soviet propaganda.

This article portrays the biographies of the main clerics in Estonia in 1944–1946: the future renegade and atheist Aleksandr Osipov, Joann Bogoyavlensky (the future bishop Issidor), Mikhail Ridiger (the father of the future Patriarch Alexei II) and others. The author has consulted material from the Estonian National Archives (Tallinn) and has also conducted personal interviews with Estonian Orthodox archbishops and clerics. The author wishes to thank Professor Valge and the Estophilus scholarship programme for help in preparing this article.