Christian Religion in the Soviet Union

A Sociological Study

By Christel Lane

Subjects: Russian Studies
Paperback : 9781438451107, 256 pages, June 1978
Hardcover : 9780873953276, 256 pages, June 1978

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Table of contents


1 Introduction
Methodological considerations - theoretical perspectives - historical antecedents

2 The Russian Orthodox Church I
The Church in the sixties and seventies - socio-demographic distribution and social composition of membership - organisational structure and religious functionaries

3 The Russian Orthodox Church II
Dimensions of religious commitment among contemporary Russian Orthodox - some explanations for the persistence of Orthodox religion

4 Orthodox Sects of the Soviet Period
True Orthodox Christians

5 The Old Russian Sects
The Khlysts - the Skoptsy - the Dukhobors - the Molokans

6 Old Believers
Historical development and present trends - sociopolitical responses of Old Believers - the social composition of Old Believers - the nature of religious commitment among Old Believers

7 Baptists
Sect membership - 'sect'-like and 'denominational' tendencies - the schism in 1961 and the emergence of the Initsiativniks - the socio-demographic distribution and social composition of Baptists - the socio-demographic distribution and social composition of the Initsiativnik sect - explanations of the schism - the moral community

8 The Smaller Sects of Western Origin
Seventh Day Adventists - Pentecostalists - Jehovah's Witnesses

9 Religion and Nationality I
Lutherans and Mennonites

10 Religion and Nationality II
The Roman Catholic Church - the Lithuanian Catholic Church

11 Conclusion
Types of religious collectivities and their development - the incidence and social distribution of religiosity in Soviet society - qualitative changes in religious ideology, organisation and individual religiosity

Appendix A
List 1: Registered urban congregations of the AUCECB
List 2: Geographical distribution of Initsiativniks

Appendix B
The organisational strength of the Roman Catholic Church in the Soviet Union (except Lithuania)




Christel Lane has written the first sociological study of religion in a communist and militantly atheist society. Christian Religion in the Soviet Union is the result of a detailed examination of Soviet sociological sources and the legally and illegally published reports of religious bodies or individuals, backed up by the observations of the author and of other Western visitors to the USSR.

Dr. Lane attempts to assess the impact of the intellectual and material culture of Soviet society on Christian religion. She analyses the religious life in the contemporary Christian churches and sects, describing the scope of their membership and its social composition, the religious commitment of believers and their social and political orientations.

Christian Religion in the Soviet Union will be central reading for students of religion in modern industrial society who are working within the disciplines of sociology, comparative religion or theology. It will also appeal to those studying Soviet society from a more general sociological perspective and to a wide readership interested in the contest between Christian religion and Marxist-Leninist ideology.

Dr. Lane is a post-doctoral Research Fellow in Sociology, Social and Political Sciences Committee, at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of a number of important articles on the sociology of religion. An important characteristic of her writing is her ability to approach her subject without either religious or political partisan involvement.