What Orthodox priests have become informants for the KGB

Another 03/02/20 What Orthodox priests have become informants for the KGB

In Soviet times, an obstacle to the Church for very many people it was the popular belief that Church leaders – almost without exception the agents of the KGB. Of course, such radical opinion is not consistent with the truth, however, there is evidence that some priests of the Russian Orthodox Church actually worked for the state security organs of the totalitarian regime. In what status they carried out their activities?

Informants in robes?

In his autobiography “the heavenly fire” novelist Olesya Nikolaeva, wife of the former press Secretary of Patriarch Volodymyr Vigilance, cites the example of human rights activist Zoe Krakhmalnikova that illegally preaching Christianity, the real priests of the Moscow Patriarchate saw nothing but “spies” and “KGB officers”. It is the opinion in the Soviet period was shared by many faithful of the Russian Church abroad.
“I had friends in the Soviet Union, in Moscow, who had not been to confession to priests of the Moscow Patriarchate was afraid of those “rat” on them to the KGB. Many people in my surroundings believed that among the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate, only mean people. Now I understand that it is not so,” admitted, for example, the French publisher Victor Lupan.
However, some reason to beware of people in robes dissidents, apparently, was still.


recently, many news about the priests who collaborated with the secret service, associated with the Baltic republics, where the archives of the local KGB Department is open to researchers and even posted on the Internet. For example, in December 2018, national archives of Latvia has published information on working for the KGB of the current Metropolitan of Riga and all Latvia Alexander (Kudryashov). It, according to them, allegedly recruited in 1982, immediately after the adoption Sana’a. In the column “place of work and position” on a yellowed card with the surname “Putin” hand inscribed “priest of the Orthodox Church”. In a press-service of the Synodal Department of the Russian Orthodox Church this message in any way did not comment.

However, “vnedrenii” KGB write and Orthodox publicists in Russia. For example, about a former clergyman of the Russian Orthodox Church Valentina Rozantseva who became head of the non-canonical Autonomous Russian Orthodox Church, argue that the curators in the “authorities” tried to get his appointment as Bishop, but this they failed to do so.

In cooperation with the KGB admitted and breakaway from the canonical Church, the former Primate of the UOC Filaret (Denysenko), noting that the secrecy of confession was never issued. The current “honorary Patriarch” non-canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine was justified by the fact that the security services were “forced” hierarchy to it.

But the priests were informants of the laity, are actively involved in parish life with the aim of obtaining information about the mood among the faithful. For example, Archpriest Alexander Men, as claimed by human rights activist Alexander Ogorodnikov, advised his flock to beware of “Snitch” special services Sergei Bychkov, who later became a famous historian of the Church. Informant for the KGB called and the former acting rector of the Leningrad Theological Academy Alexander Osipov, who in 1959 had publicly left the Orthodox Church and engaged in the propaganda of atheism.

Which meant the title of “agent” in KGB?

the Category of “agent” in KGB did not mean that the person was a staff member of the KGB. It meant a tacit cooperation and transfer of special service information on persons who have committed or could commit crimes. Soviet citizen, including the priest, could agree to be an agent not only for financial reward, but under the pressure of threats or blackmail. The loyalty of such agents-spies was a big question, so they needed enhanced control.
Recruitment often occurred through framess KGB officers, were part of the system of the Council for religious Affairs under the USSR Council of Ministers, who had their own representatives in each region. It is noteworthy that do “shop” refers to such a “religious” work as a kind of “link”.

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