Fedchuk Alexander, archpriest

Volyn theological seminary in Soviet times: Khrushchev's persecution and closure of the seminary

Fedchuk Alexander (2020) "Volyn theological seminary in Soviet times: Khrushchev's persecution and closure of the seminary ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2020, vol. 94, pp. 74-94 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII202094.74-94


This article examines the circumstances of the closure in 1964 of Volyn Theological Seminary which was one of the eight educational institutions of such type in the USSR. The analysis of archival sources, kept primarily at the State Archives of Volyn region, allows one to establish when Soviet authorities fi nally decided to liquidate the seminary in Lutsk, what steps were taken in this direction and how Moscow Patriarchate and Volyn-Rivne diocesan administration resisted to these actions. During N. Khrushchev’s governance, fi ve theological seminaries of the Russian Orthodox Church were closed in the Soviet Union, this being an important part in the general anti-religious policy of the state. Although the main reasons for the closure of seminaries are well studied in the relevant historiography, there are almost no studies where the entire process of closing theological institutions would be described in detail. This article is a new contribution to the study of complicated relations of the Russian Orthodox Church and Soviet authorities in the 1950s and 60s. However, it is undeniable that in the process of closing higher theological institutions, the system not only made use of those propaganda tricks which were used in all such cases in various republics of the USSR, but gambled on the nationalist card as well, which came to be a characteristic feature of anti-religious policies in the Western Ukraine. This being said, the study of relevant documents does not allow one to conclude that teachers and students of Volyn Theological Seminary, especially at the fi nal stage of its operation, were involved in any real nationalist activities. Therefore, along with such accusations of the staff of the Seminary, authorities used other accusations as well; these are examined in this article.


Volyn Theological Seminary, Council for Aff airs of Russian Orthodox Church, Volyn Regional Committee of Communist Party of Ukraine, Committee for Education, archimandrite Mefodiy (Menzak), archpriest Petro Vlodek, A. Fedulov, Vladimir Kuroyedov


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Information about the author

Fedchuk Alexander, archpriest

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: Volyn Th eological Seminary; 26 Drahomanova, Lutsk 43016, Ukraine;
Post: Vice-Rector;
ORCID: 0000-0002-8494-9066t;
Email: ol_fedchuk@ukr.net.

*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.