October 1, 2023

True Orthodox Diocese of Western Europe

Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC)

Two Photos Teach us about the Dossier on the True Orthodox of Russia

2 min read

Source: Галузевий державний архів Служби безпеки України Creator: Tatiana Vagramenko ГДА СБУ ф. 13, спр.390 https://ssu.gov.ua/ 1931 Copyright for these images belongs to the State Archive Branch of the Security Services of Ukraine
https://ssu.gov.ua/ Tatiana Vagramenko, “Photo-collage and network scheme True Orthodox believers Russia” http://hiddengalleries.eu/digitalarchive/s/en/item/9

According to the source: This photo-collage and scheme of a religious network were produced as part of an exemplary collective penal case against members of the catacomb True-Orthodox Church. The photo-collage shows a group of believers put on trial – thirty eight True Orthodox believers headed by Alexii Bui, bishop of the Voronezh diocese (top row, fourth from the left). The network scheme represents the movement as a centralised organisation, uniting religious centres in Leningrad and Moscow with numerous “cells” (as the OGPU called them) in southern regions of Russia (Voronezh, Belgorod, Kursk, etc). It shows repressed communities and those under surveillance, the number of arrested individuals and the names of local leaders.

The indictment was published in 1931 as a top-secret document by the Soviet secret police (OGPU) in Voronezh, Russia. The document was then sent to the Ukrainian OGPU, because numerous communities belonging to the religious network were located in Ukraine. This secret publication was supposed to be a sort of textbook in the OGPU’s campaign against the Buevtsy (as the secret police referred to the followers of Alexii Bui). The exemplary indictment provided a structure, linguistic formulas and incriminating political crimes used against believers that could utilised for further repression of the True Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Bishop Alexii (whose birth name was Semion Bui) was one of the leaders of the Russian True Orthodox Church. He united under his leadership communities of True Orthodox Christians in about forty districts in southern provinces of Russia and in Ukraine. Alexii Bui was arrested in 1929 as the leader of the “counter-revolutionary ecclesiastical-monarchist organisation” (as the Soviet secret police referred to dissenting Orthodox communities). After several trials he was sentenced to ten years in labour camps and eventually was shot dead by the NKVD in Sandarmokh, Karelia on 3rd November, 1937.

The documents come from the State Archive Branch of the Security Services of Ukraine, fond 13, spr. 390. The file also contains a full list of the convicted persons, the historical outline and the social structure of the True Orthodox Church as perceived by the secret police, and evidence of its politically subversive, counter-revolutionary activities, based on majorly distorted and formulaic statements of arrested individuals and witnesses.

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