adherents of a movement for religious renovation within the Russian Orthodox Church from the 1920’s through the 1940’s. The renovationist movement, often called the church schism, began with the religious reform movement at the turn of the 20th century. The task that the renovationists set themselves was to help the church adapt to the changed circumstances that followed the October Revolution. Their main groups—the Living Church, Church Regeneration, and Union of Parishes of the Ancient Apostolic Church—arose in 1922.

The renovationists criticized the counterrevolutionary activity of the church leadership headed by Patriarch Tikhon and announced that their principle was loyalty to the Soviet state. The ideologists of the renovationists, such as Metropolitan A. I. Vve-denskii, preached “communist Christianity.” They advocated a return to the so-called democratic order of early Christianity and strove to equate communism with Christianity.

The renovationists introduced a number of changes into church organization, worship, and the life of the clergy, including changes in the higher church leadership, democratization of the parish, a married bishop, remarriage for the lower clergy, and church services in Russian. The essence of the political and social reorientation of the renovationists amounted to a break with the old traditions of the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry) bureaucracy. The program of the renovationists was worked out at their local sobors in 1923 and 1925. To some degree, their activity aided the evolution of the Russian Orthodox Church on its path of loyalty to Soviet power. The movement ended soon after the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, when the renovationist clergy, together with their parishes, returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.


Gordienko, N. S. Sovremennoe pravoslavie. Moscow, 1968.
Shishkin, A. A. Sushchnost’ i kriticheskaia otsenka “obnovlencheskogo” raskola Russkoi pravoslavnoi tserkvi. Kazan, 1970.
Kurochkin, P. K. Evoliutsiia sovremennogo russkogo pravoslaviia. Moscow, 1971.
Trifonov, I. Ia. “Raskol v russkoi pravoslavnoi tserkvi.” Voprosy istorii, 1972, no. 5.


References in periodicals archive ?
The clergy was split between those who had been repressed in the 1930s and renovationists, who had gone much further to forge common cause with the regime.
He then follows its decline and eventual demise, from the infighting that characterized the years of Renovationist power to the eventual liquidation of the Renovationists by the Soviet government.
Many laity and clergy view the activities of the renovationists as heretical and traitorous due to their cooperation with the Bolshevik government.
This is a well-researched, well-written account of the Renovationists that will add to the growing literature on Russian Orthodox church history.
Although renovationists disagreed among themselves about aims and organization, at the time of the Russian Revolution they generally sought separation of church and state, democratic conciliarism as the principle governing church administration, the Gregorian calendar in place of the Julian, and Russian rather than Church Slavonic as the language of the liturgy.
They announced to the astonished renovationists a "religious NEP," meaning a halt in the campaign against the traditional church.
The archival record makes clear that the Soviet regime never intended for the renovationists to succeed.
Self-styled patriotic renovationists not only seized the initiative in calling for a "new order" abroad and "new structure" at home but also made it clear that these goals were inseparable.
That purpose would be served by the Renovationists, at first a genuine reform movement within the Orthodox Church, but later a Soviet Secret Police (GPU) directed front organization under the Bolsheviks.
The most revolutionary point that linked the pre- and post-revolutionary renovationists and formed the central and most emphasized policy of the latter, was the rebellion against the monastic monopoly of the church leadership.
schisms" (the Renovationists and the Grigorians), the cause of conflict with the "Tikhonovites" (including the "Sergiites") involved a similar disagreement over principle: namely, the official church's pro-monastic, socially conservative policy.
24) The prevailing view holds that the Renovationists were liberal troublemakers who had entered the service of the OGPU-NKVD and acquired temporary power in most dioceses in the 1920s only because of direct pressure from party-state authorities.