by Fr. John Whiteford
Having watched how parish churches have been shut down around the world on the basis of the Coronavirus, I had thought prior to reading the following that there must be a bunch of old Soviets kicking themselves that they hadn’t thought of it first. But the fact of the matter is, they not only thought of it… they did it. I recently read the book “Red Priests,” which is a book about the schismatic “Living Church,” and the use that the Soviets made of them to try to undermine the real Russian Church, and I found this quote, which was speaking about various strategies the Soviets were using during the 1930’s to try to eradicate the Church:
“Parish churches were often closed when they refused to register clergy or because of the threat of “epidemics,” that is, on the pretense of preventing the spread of disease by parishioners who gathered together for worship” (Edward Roslof, “Red Priests: Renovationism, Russian Orthodoxy, and Revolution, 1905-1946 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2002), p. 186 [Emphasis added].
History may not repeat exactly, but it certainly does rhyme.