True Orthodox Church

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  • Resistance by Image: Arrest Photographs of True Orthodox believers, Ukraine 1952

    These arrest photographs come from a 1952 secret police penal file on a group of 23 believers who were arrested in the Kiev region of Ukraine. The file contains two versions of their arrest photographs taken by the MGB officers. As the photos were being taken, the believers intentionally closed their eyes, turned their heads away, or sang while the officers tried to restrain them. Their gloved hands are clearly visible in the images. Police officers later tried to correct these “tainted” photographs by removing the evidence of their violent intervention from the prints, which one can see in th
  • Secret police photographs of Ioannite community Ukraine

    The photographs come from a 1959 KGB criminal case against three members of an Ioannite community in Cherkasy region, Ukraine. The images were designed as a photo album pasted into the secret police file. They portray father Mitrofan, the priest of the community in his house, which had been turned into a clandestine chapel. The first photo collage shows father Mitrofan dressed in Orthodox vestments against a background of icons, performing a religious service and talking to women, seemingly his followers. The second photo collage records the ritual washing of feet, also performed in father Mit
  • True Orthodox secret monasticism Ukraine

    These photographs were taken during a raid on an underground monastery by the Soviet secret police, the NKGB in 1945. The images provide visual representations of a vernacular subterranean architecture developed by True Orthodox Christian communities in Soviet-era Ukraine. The monastery was located in the underground vault dug out under a private house (see the first image) in the small town of Chuguev, near Kharkov, northeast Ukraine. The twenty two photographs enclosed in the secret police file give a detailed description of the underground construction. Images 2 and 3 depicts two entries to
  • Crime scene photographs True Orthodox Church Ukraine

    In 1945, the police raided an underground monastery of True Orthodox Christians (TOC). It was located in a vault under a private house in the town of Chuguev, near Kharkov, Ukraine. As a result, nine believers (most of them nuns and monks) were arrested with hieromonk Seraphim (Shevtsov) amongst them. All religious artefacts belonging to the community were confiscated and most of them were later destroyed. The photographs presented in this entry were taken during the raid and were later attached to a NKGB criminal file as incriminating evidence. The images portray confiscated church property
  • Model religious network schemes Soviet Union

    These two images come from two exemplary closing indictments against the so-called "ecclesiastic-monarchist, counter-revolutionary organisation", the True Orthodox Church. They were published as top secret brochures by the Soviet secret police (OGPU) in 1931. Network schemes were carefully and precisely designed and printed using very advanced photo-printing technology for the time. Through complex sets of social links, the schemes represent religious communities as centralised insurgent political organisations. At the very bottom are “local (rural) cells” (sel’skie iacheiki) – basic relig
  • True Orthodox Church secret police network scheme Ukraine

    This scheme of a religious network was produced as part of a review of criminal cases against believers of the True Orthodox Church. It was published in 1931 as a top-secret document by the Soviet secret police (OGPU) in Moscow. This image has been given the title "Scheme of the All-Union Counter-Revolutionary Monarchist Organisation of Churchmen (the 'True Orthodox Church'), liquidated by the Secret Political Department OGPU". Schemes such as this one were designed to represent the religious movement as an organised hierarchical structure, where the "ecclesiastical political centre" in Mosco
  • Photo-collage and network scheme True Orthodox believers Russia

    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 repre
  • Secret police instructional publication on Russian Orthodox clandestine groups

    The images are a photo-collage and scheme of a “liquidated” religious network produced as part of a closing indictment in a collective penal case against one hundred believers, followers of underground popular Orthodox movements, referred to as the Samosviatsy and the Ioannits. The group on trial were monks and nuns from closed Orthodox monasteries and ordinary believers from the Ukrainian and Russian countryside. They rejected both Soviet power and the Russian Orthodox Church authority as they believed the Orthodox Church was compromised by collaboration with the Bolsheviks. The network, whic