100 years after the Russian Revolution – what has changed?

Ok, so that’s a big question which I’m not going to answer in full. There’s been some very
interesting media on the radio and television exploring the momentous events of the October
1917 Russian revolution and its legacy. Of course, one of the objectives of the revolution and
the Stalinist tyranny which ultimately followed it was to wipe away every trace of
Christianity. Marxist theory says that Christianity is an opiate, a sedative, dulling the desire
of the people to overthrow their feudal and bourgeois masters. Stalin destroyed church
building and purged the nation of its clergy and most vocal Christians. One soviet official
risked his life to save the stunning Cathedral of Basil the Blessed from destruction as Stalin
sought to redesign Red Square. Now, some 26 years after the demise of the iron curtain, what
is the state of Christianity in Russia? One would assume that decades of state-sponsored
atheism would have created an atheist nation. Not so. The Church is Russia is doing very
well. Indeed, since 2014, there has been a 50% drop in the number of atheists in Russia.
That’s not a story we’re used to hearing in the so-called ‘developed’ world. It’s a great
reminder that Jesus is still building his Church throughout the world, even if that’s not
something we’re generally seeing in our own nation. We should expect great things from him
as we approach Christmas – a time to invite friends and family to the many wonderful events
we have planned at St Michael’s.
The Revd Dr Ben Sargent
Vicar of Bransgore and Hinton Admiral

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