Religion and the Russian Revolution

Since secularism is a key component of communist ideology, the revolutionaries directly conflicted with the Russian Orthodox Church, which had become a significant part of Russian society. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 changed Russia's economy and political structure and dramatically weakened the church's position. Churches were demolished, religion outlawed, and many practitioners were forced to take their faith underground.

Read this article, which explores Lenin's ideas about the Russian Orthodox Church.


[1] Vladimir Lenin, "Socialism and Religion," Marxists Internet Archive, December 3, 1905,

[2] Gregory Freeze, The Russian Levites (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1977), 218.

[3] Ibid., 222.

[4] Lenin, "Socialism and Religion".

[5] Jennifer Hedda, His Kingdom Come (Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2008), 62.

[6] Lenin, "Socialism and Religion".

[7] Edward E. Roslof, Red Priests: Renovation, Russian Orthodoxy, and Revolution, 1905-1946 (Indiana: Indiana University Press: 2002), 7.

[8] Roslof, Red Priests.

[9] Ibid.

[10] See Lynne Viola, Peasant Rebels Under Stalin: Collectivization and the Culture of Peasant Resistance (New York: Oxford University Press), 1996.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Indeed, a number of leading bishops fled Russia during the Civil War and established the monarchist Russian Orthodox Church in Exile which broke off communication and liturgical concelebration, on principle, with the Russian Church throughout the Soviet period.

[13] Vladimir Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," Marxists Internet Archive, May, 1909,

[14] Ibid.

[15] Karl Marx, "A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right," Marxists Internet Archive, January 1844,