This article deals with the personality of archpriest Alexander Osipov, the prominent Orthodox priest, who in the middle of the 20th century renounced his faith in God and became an active fi ghter against the Russian Orthodox Church. The main purpose of the article is to comprehend main reasons for Osipov’s abandoning religion, his psychology and main lines of behaviour. Contrary to the lay opinion, this priest, still serving in non-Soviet Estonia, was extremely ambitious and wished rapid promotion. The article specifi cally demonstrates how the renegade could fi nd his key to hearts of various representatives of church and state authorities, how he altered his own political views and denominational preferences. The article shows how he managed to ingratiate himself with representatives of the Orthodox Church, then literally betrayed them and passed compromising judgments to Soviet security offi cers. The article does not raise the issue of where and when Osipov lost his way to God because excessive ambition and envy were always typical of the renegade, and his conversion to atheism was nothing but a tactical step determined by the inception of the new phase of religious persecutions. The article draws on archival materials, both church and secular: Archive of St Petersburg diocese, Central State Historical Archive of St Petersburg, Estonian Historical Archive in Tartu. Besides, the study made use of the historiography of life and work of archpriest Alexander Osipov.
Alexander Osipov, Estonia, Orthodox Church, atheism, Offi cial Expert on the Russian Orthodox Church, Isidor Bogoyavlensky, Sergy Voskresensky
*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.