The relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the State on the issue of the development of education in Irkutsk oblast (region) in the context of Soviet ideology.

  1. Lemma
  2. Взаимоотношения Русской Православной Церкви и государства по решению вопросов развития образования Иркутской области в контексте советской идеологии
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Ecumenism and dialogue > Education - Culture and national identities
  6. 2012
  7. Агеева, О. В. [Author]. Взаимоотношения Русской Православной Церкви и государства по решению вопросов развития образования Иркутской области в контексте советской идеологии
  8. Современные проблемы науки и образования
  9. Soviet education - Russian education system - Soviet Union - Religious education
  10. Click Here
    1. <div class="tab active"> <p>АГЕЕВА, О.В. (2012). Взаимоотношения русской Православной церкви и государства по решению вопросов развития образования Иркутской области в контексте советской идеологии. <em>Современные проблемы науки и образования.</em> Retrieved from: <a href=""></a></p> </div>
    1. The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) opened its first schools in Russia in the Middle Ages. At that time education meant the restoration of the divine nature of man before the Fall. In modern times, in Imperial Russia of the 18th century, the State took control over the Church by creating a new ideal of a man. The new ideal human being was to be “part of the state, servant to the tsar and the fatherland”. The book Duties for man and citizen was mandatory for study in all schools since 1783. This book contained moral and legal norms and ideals. Under Alexander I, Russia returned to the religious approach in education and restored the “God’s Law” (Catechesis) as the main subject for schools. Thus before the October Revolution of 1917 the State was influenced by the Church and shared the understanding of the divine nature of a human being and his or her right for spiritual perfection. It all changed afterwards when the Soviet state monopolized all control over citizens and their private lives. In this sense the State wanted to become the new “ecumenical church” itself.

      The new type of education forced parents to educate their children according to the moral code of builders of communism. As not all parents welcomed the new policy, the authorities would terminate parental rights of those parents who disobeyed and would send their children to orphanages where they would be taught antireligious dogmas. The decree of the Commissar (Minister) of Education dated by January 1917 prescribed: to ban teaching God’s Law (GL) at all levels in schools; dismiss all teachers of GL granting them one month salary; teach GL only in religious establishments; enforce administrative punishment to clericals who oppose this decision; apply disciplinary measures to teachers and professors who oppose the decree; provide access to teaching positions in schools only to secular persons. 

      On December 11, 1917 Lenin’s government decreed nationalization of all religious schools, their properties, real estate, funds, and establishment of control over them by the Commissariat of Education. For example, in 1912 Irkutsk eparchy had 283 priests, 77 deacons; and in 1939 only 19 priests. After the arrest of the archbishop Pavel (Pavlensky) in 1937, Irkutsk had no head of the eparchy for ten years. During this period not a single religious school functioned.

      Soviet grammar manuals and books (1917-1990) did not pay any attention to the full spiritual development of a child, only some of them included little hints on moral development for pupils. Soviet decrees of 1918-1919 made all schools public; banned all private schools; made education free of charge; established mixed boys and girls schools; separated schools from the Church and the Church from the State; banned teaching and practice of religious cults; banned physical punishment. Besides that the new policy granted all ethnic groups the right to be educated in their native languages, encouraged the creation of a system of pre-school education and established new admission norms and rules for higher education institutions which gave access to higher education to workers and peasants. 

      The new type of education was closely linked to labor and social activism of students. At the Third Congress of the Young Communist League (October 1920) Lenin mentioned one of the most important objectives for new educators: to teach children and young people new communist moral principles, based on materialist worldview and thus to arm them with truly scientific knowledge on nature and society and establish connection between education and the practical building of socialism.

      In the 1930s the so-called “harmonious development of the child’s personality” replaced the “education of the builders of communist society” as the main motivation for Soviet schools. In 1936 Irkutsk had 46 schools with 34800 students. Nine new schools with capacity of 880 students each were built between 1935 and 1941. One is to do justice to the success of Lenin’s educational policy as transition to universal school education was achieved. In 1975, 97 % of the eight graders finished high school afterwards. Many Soviet grammar manuals in fact excluded the spiritual aspect of education. The main purpose of these books was to create a citizen who would be obedient to the ideology of the Soviet state.

      Nowadays Russia has a new pedagogical ideal – bringing about a personality free in his or her development and self-identification. However, one must take into consideration past experience when elaborating new educational programs. The difficulty lies in the nature of Russian society, which is characterized by ethnic, religious, and social fragmentation. People belonging to different groups can have different values. Currently in Russia the main national objective concerns achievement of positive dynamics in demography, higher standards of life and better work conditions, strengthening of moral and spiritual aspects, as well as civil solidarity and statehood developing its culture and creative spheres. The new educational ideal can be built on that as well, notably educating a responsible, creative Russian citizen rooted in the spiritual and cultural traditions of Russian people, who proves to have high moral qualities, who perceives the destiny of Russia as his or her own and who realizes his/her responsibility for the future of the country. According to the author, Russian officials and politicians in the sphere of education must give top priority to the development of the system of “education and religion.”