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Russia Manipulates the Church 
Then ... and NOW!

by I.F. Colquhoun

New evidence has emerged to reveal the precise circumstances which led to Stalin's "concordat" with the Orthodox Church in 1943, an act of propaganda which had a direct effect on the outcome of the war. The account begins in June 1941, when, with the Germans sweeping across his borders, Stalin appealed to Roosevelt for urgently-needed munitions.

There were two schools of thought in the U.S.A. at the time. There were those — like Roosevelt himself — who thought that the best way of preventing Hitler from breaking out any further was to supply the Russians with military help.

Opposing that school were the "isolationists", for the most part Catholics who had left Europe in search of political and religious freedom. Having found it in America, they were now reluctant to be drawn into a European war on the side of Stalin, who for years had been conducting a bloody persecution of the Church. Had not Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Divini Redemptoris, condemned Communism as "intrinsically evil" and warned that those nations which helped the Communists would be the first to fall beneath their oppression? So their attitude was "let the dogs fight it out".

These isolationists were well-represented in Congress, and their leaders began to clamor loudly against giving aid to Russia. This posed a threat to the "lend-lease bill" which Roosevelt was presenting to congress in October. So when he met the Soviet Ambassador on September 11th, "he explained in some detail the difficulty of getting the necessary authority from Congress on account of the prejudice or hostility to Russia and the unpopularity of Russia among large groups in the country who exercise great political power in Congress, and suggested that ... if Moscow could get some publicity back to America regarding freedom of religion within the next few days, it might have a very fine educational effect before the next lend-lease bill comes up in Congress." (Foreign Relations of the U.S., 1941, Vol. 1, State Dept.)

So at a turning-point of the war, Roosevelt urged Stalin to do something that would signal to the West that he had freed the Church. However, before Stalin had time to act, Roosevelt had found another way round his predicament. He sent an envoy to Pope Pius XII urging him to issue a statement virtually reversing his predecessor's prohibition against helping the Communists.

Winning the Church's Support

Roosevelt's argument was that Hitler posed an even greater threat to religion than Stalin, and that as Russia was now being attacked by Germany, it had a right to military aid. This appeal put the Pope in a dilemma. If he took sides in this war, he would be compromising his role as a Christian pastor. But in private, his Secretary of State, Cardinal Maglione, authorized the U.S. hierarchy to issue a statement of their own in America to the effect that Pius XI had been attacking Communism, not Russia, and that he had not intended his encyclical to be a blueprint to politicians in the event of a war.

Immediately the American Bishops began work on their statement. The news of this development reached the isolationists in Congress, and naturally presented them with a dilemma. If they continued obstructing the lend-lease bill, they would be opposing not only their President, but their bishops as well. They were "out on a limb". By October, their opposition had waned, and the bill was passed by a large majority.1

Throughout the war, Roosevelt needed to win Congress over to his policies, and he had succeeded this time. But giving supplies to Russia did not commit the Americans themselves: they weren't going to lose their lives. But when it came to Stalin's demands for the Allies to invade France, it was a different question. For the invasion force was to be composed mostly of Americans and so from now on their lives were at risk. So now Roosevelt faced another problem. Here he was poised to take charge of the greatest invasion in history, and unless he had the backing of the people who were to lose sons in this invasion, they could dismiss him at the next election — which as fate would have it was to be held in the very aftermath of the invasion, in November 1944.

During 1943, Stalin kept on demanding a "second front". It was clear that the Russians were forcing the Germans into retreat ... but Stalin wanted more than that: he wanted the Allies to invade France so as to pull the Germans from his own borders, and thus enable the Red Army to sweep into the nations of Eastern Europe. Churchill, for one, foresaw the danger. But Roosevelt had been influenced by his "personal advisor" Harry Hopkins, into believing that Stalin had no ambitions in Eastern Europe ... However, recent findings reveal that Hopkins was a fully-paid Soviet agent who had been recruited into the NKVD for this very purpose.*

So the situation was that from 1943 onwards Stalin had set his sights on territories that would form an expanded empire and so make Russia a dominant power. Because Churchill recognized the danger, he devised a plan to prevent the Russians from occupying Eastern Europe. That plan would have succeeded but for one thing: it depended on American support, and at a crucial moment — Roosevelt withdrew that support.

*Free Agent by Brian Crozier, Harper/Collins, 1993, pages 1,2.

On September 4, 1943

Churchill saw his opportunity in July 1943, just after the Allies had invaded Sicily. The Italians suddenly dismissed Mussolini and surrendered to the Allies, thus removing the one political obstacle to their occupation of the peninsula. Churchill then won Roosevelt's approval for an attack of the mainland. He hoped to press this attack through to the Balkans and eventually Vienna, thus cutting off the Red Army's advance before they could occupy Eastern Europe.2

So when the Allied force landed in Italy on September 3, 1943 — history hung in the balance. The strategic implications would have been evident to Stalin. Instead of invading France as he wanted, the Allies were setting foot on Italy in an attack that threatened his advance. He knew what lay behind Roosevelt's unwillingness to set the date for "D Day". So after speedily arranging a summit meeting at Teheran with its Allies for late November, he set an operation in motion to provide what Roosevelt had asked for, some "publicity regarding freedom of religion". The very day he heard that the Allies had invaded Italy ... September 4th, he summoned the leader of the Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Sergei, and offered the Church new concessions in return for its support. When Sergei agreed, Stalin gave him permission to hold a Synod for the purpose of electing a Patriarch, an office which he himself had formerly suppressed. The Synod met on September 8th and duly elected Sergei, who was enthroned on the 12th (note the extreme haste).3 In the meantime, Sergei cabled the Archbishop of Canterbury and invited him to send a delegation of Anglican clergymen to mark the event. So on September 15th, the Archbishop of York and two clergymen left by air for Moscow with a message of support from the Anglican Church. On arrival they were feted as dignitaries. The visit culminated in a "showpiece" celebration of the Liturgy (the Mass) in Moscow Cathedral, in which Sergei officiated and was accompanied at the altar by Dr. Garbett vested in his Cope and Mitre, as a gesture of ecumenical solidarity.4 During the visit, the Orthodox Bishops issued a rather revealing "message" in which they "appealed to Christians throughout the world to do everything in their power to hasten victory over Germany, hoping that by the efforts of Christians in all Allied countries the long-expected second front will at last be established and will bring nearer victory and peace at this favorable time when our own Red Army is victoriously pushing the enemy from our land".(Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1943).

In the West, the press reported favorably on these events. Thus on September 5th, the New York Times proclaimed boldly: "Step to Restore Church in Russia is Announced".

Then came the news of Sergei's enthronement as Patriarch. On September 14th, the New York Times commented: "The Moscow Ceremony ... encourages the hope of a common meeting ground between Russia and the democratic world not on the basis of any one religion but on that of religious liberty".

In Britain, The Times of September 17th commented: "The appointment of the Patriarch and the official welcome given to the Archbishop of York as the representative of another national church may be held to signify the acceptance by Russia of another of the ‘four freedoms' — freedom of every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world."

Then on the 24th, the New York Times quoted Archbishop Garbett as stating that "he was convinced that there was the fullest freedom of worship in the Soviet Union". He was driving home the message that things in Russia had changed. But as Cardinal Mindszenty later revealed — it was all a deception:"The news of this reconciliation between the regime and the Church was spread throughout the world ... Abroad this concordat aroused hopes that the Communists were beginning to accept democratic principles and were on the road to “bourgeois” respectability. In reality, nothing of the sort was taking place. The Church did not have its internal freedom restored but was subordinated to a government bureau. In other words, it was strait-jacketed into the system of the atheistic state." (Memoirs published by Macmillan, New York, 1974, page 315)

And who was the deception aimed at? In his recent biography of Stalin based on Soviet State archives, General Dmitri Volkogonov — until recently Boris Yeltsin's Defense Advisor, tells us:

"Suddenly, on September 4, 1943 ... Stalin decided to receive the church leaders ... The next day, Pravda reported the meeting and announced that Metropolitan Sergei would convene the Council of Bishops to elect a new Patriarch ... Stalin took this step (because) he was preparing for the summit conference at Teheran at the end of the year and it was his intention to press again for the opening of a second front and also to seek an increase in aid ... Having received a number of messages from the Dean (of Canterbury, Hewlet Johnson), Stalin decided it was time to make a public gesture to demonstrate his loyalty to the church ... He believed the West would acknowledge that signal and that it would evoke the desired response ..." (Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy, Wiedenfield and Nicolson, 1991)

— which of course it did a few weeks later at Teheran when assured of the support of his Christian voters, Roosevelt committed his troops to the invasion of France and announced to Stalin the date of D Day. Since American troops were in the majority, he was now in effect the "war-leader" and Churchill was forced to take a more subsidiary role. So Stalin now "took Roosevelt in hand" and urged him to withdraw his troops from Italy and to deploy them in an invasion of Southern France. And because Harry Hopkins had persuaded him that Stalin had no ambitions in Eastern Europe — he agreed. The troops were speedily withdrawn, thus sabotaging Churchill's strategy for the Balkans. The stage was now set for the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe. Stalin had provided what was asked of him: some publicity indicating that the church in Russia was free. By doing so he had "squared the conscience" of the American people, and removed any opposition to proceeding with D Day.

Soviet Agent of Influence

What the events had proved to Stalin was that the best way to effect political change in the West was to manipulate "the churches". Note the key role in this deception was played by the Archbishop of York, who by going to Moscow and sounding off about "freedom of worship" on his return, gave credibility to Stalin's propaganda and so was in effect a Soviet "agent of influence". The whole episode would have impressed on the Russian leaders how to influence the West if they were ever faced with a similar impasse. And of course, the development of the Bomb was to do just that: it prevented Russia from achieving its long-term aims. The only way out was to convince the Christians of the West that Russia was a wholly Christian and peace-loving nation, with no ambitions.

Why Our Lady Commanded that the Secret
be Revealed in 1960

In the era of the Cold War the Soviet leaders extended the role of their church. In 1958, the Russian Orthodox Church became the king-pin of a ‘front' Christian Peace Conference designed to infiltrate the churches of the West with Soviet propaganda.

Leading it were the modern day "Sergeis": the leaders of the Orthodox Church; and taking part with them were selected clergy in the West, who like the "Red Dean" promote Soviet propaganda back home. Since nobody likes to challenge a "man of the cloth", their status gives them an almost unassailable credibility. They are active principally in the ecumenical field, since organizations like the World Council of Churches and its subsidiaries offer immeasurable scope for political activity.

Naturally the deceptions planned by "Christian Peace Conference" were limited by the fact that it was clearly an offshoot of Moscow. So the whole organization took refuge in the World Council of Churches. In 1960 Metropolitan Nikodim — the same man who arranged the infamous ‘Vatican-Moscow Agreement' preventing the Council fathers from criticizing Russia — negotiated the entry of the Russian Orthodox Church into the World Council of Churches. Within a short time the other Eastern bloc churches involved in the Christian Peace Conference had also joined. Soon the World Council of Churches had the same leaders as the Christian Peace Conference.5 So the Christian Peace Conference forms an effective link between Moscow and the ecumenical movement. As the objective of the World Council of Churches is ‘uniting the churches', Russia was now in effective control of a movement to unite the churches. The danger to the Catholic Church was clear: the World Council of Churches might involve it in its own schemes for unity — and so undermine it. Was this why Our Lady once told Lucia that She wanted the Secret to be disclosed by 1960 at the latest, as then it would be ‘clearer'?

Another Agent of Influence

As in 1943, another churchman has now emerged to spearhead an action that could give Russia a commanding position in Europe. Since '85, the Anglican Canon Kenyon Edward Wright, who apart from being General Secretary of Scottish Churches Council, was secretary of Christian Peace Conference itself, has been setting up a plan which poses a threat to NATO and its defense strategy.

One legacy of the Cold War is that we are obsessed with the Bomb to the exclusion of conventional arms. Russia has a massive preponderance of conventional arms hidden from sight. But while the Russians have been accumulating their arms, we have been reducing our defenses ...

Europe Vulnerable to Attack

The greatest danger would come if Britain were induced to leave NATO. For it provides crucial bases for American bombers to land, refuel and take off in the event of an attack on the mainland of Europe. So if Britain renounced its obligations to NATO, Europe would be vulnerable to attack. But there is a strategy taking shape today which threatens Britain's continued membership of NATO. The policy is — divide and rule. Divide the United Kingdom, rule its separate regions. Leading that strategy is Canon Kenyon Wright, member of CPC. In 1985, he set up a "church unity plan" in Scotland with manifestly political goals.6

Then ... in 1989, as a result of forming links with left-wing politicians he was able to found the "Scottish Constitutional Convention" a lobby which spearheads the setting up of a separate Scottish Parliament. He is now "Chair of the Executive". Later the Campaign for a Welsh Parliament was started, and he spoke at its first conference. He has even admitted that the two "assemblies" should be linked.7 He has expressed an interest in sitting in a Scottish Parliament.8 But with "peace activists" like this in charge, surely a Scottish Parliament would reject NATO, and with a Welsh Assembly in support, would precipitate the total collapse of NATO in these island?

Significantly, "devolution" is being sold along the same lines that Lenin and the Bolsheviks sold Communism. We are urged to throw off the rule of the State and to become self-determining. After this revolution, Canon Wright and his followers promise that Scotland and Wales can enter "Europe" as separate regions and can, therefore, inherit a better share of European funding. All this will be ours, evidently, when Scotland and Wales become separate nations.

Meanwhile, has anyone else noticed that other nations are getting ready to enter the European Union? It is the former satellites of Soviet Russia: Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the rest. But — here's a thought: once they are in, what's to stop Russia itself applying to join? Such a move would do wonders for its long-standing economic problems. It could be subsidized by Europe, that is — by the wealthier members of the "Union". So it's a safe bet that Russia is standing in the wings, waiting the right moment to apply for entry. Of course, once it did join, some of those wealthy nations might put up a protest at having to subsidize a Russian economic recovery. This in turn could provoke Russia to dominate the European Union, possibly by a show of military strength. That could not happen at present, because NATO protects Europe. But once NATO was effectively abolished, there would be nothing to stop Russia taking control of Europe.

The link with what happened in 1943 is self-evident: once again Russia is using Western clergymen to advance its own ends. Thanks to their efforts, we are abandoning all our military deterrents. For the first time ever, we are challenging the very need for defense. Some Catholics even interpret recent events in Russia as the "miracle of peace" that the Virgin Mary promised at Fatima — despite the fact that we have seen Yeltsin bombing his political opponents out of Russia's Parliament — and shelling the Chechnyans — and arming the Bosnian Serbs. People have been hoodwinked — Russia is as despotic as ever. We though it had changed in 1943, but we were duped so convincingly that it has taken fifty years for the truth to emerge. Is it too late to learn the lesson?


1. Roosevelt and Romanism by George Flynn, Greenwood Press, Conn. USA, 1970.

2. The Struggle for Europe by Chester Wilmot; Memoirs by Lord Moran, pages 161-174.

3. Memoirs by Cardinal Mindszenty, page 315; Discretion and Valor by Trevor Beeson, Fontana, 1974, page 62.

4. Cyril Forster Garbett, Charles Smythe; Hodder & Stoughton, 1959.

5. Christian Peace Conference (Conflict Studies No. 91) by Lazlo Revesz: Institute for the Study of Conflict, London; pages 65 and 68.

6. Subversive Theology by R. Watson in The Salisbury Review 9/87.

7. Speech to Campaign for Welsh Parliament 5/3/94; Radio Broadcast 1991.

8. Article on Kenyon Wright in The Universe (Catholic paper) 12/5/91.