ADVENTIST COMMUNITIES OF TRANSCARPATHIA MID-1950S – MID-1960S
Keywords:Seventh-day Adventists, Transcarpathia, Soviet period, religious communities, Commissioner for Councils for Religious Cults, All-Union Seventh-day Adventist Council, «thaw»
The article analyzes the operation of one of the movements of the late Protestantism, Seventh-day Adventist community in Transcarpathia, in terms of anti-religious policies of Nikita Khrushchev (1953–1964). Additionally, it clarifies the main aspects of the relationship between Adventist communities and the Soviet authorities. It shows that there were 10 registered communities and 8 unregistered groups in the study period in Transcarpathia.
This research includes a wide range of sources from the state and church archives. Moreover, it contains a survey of believers of this denomination. Critical analysis of these sources in combination with modern research on the topic made it possible to reveal new aspects of the past of the Adventist community in Transcarpathia, to clarify statistics, to personalize the composition of church ministers as well as some of its members.
With Khrushchev’s coming to power, the Adventist community in the region, like all denominations in the USSR, felt a significant deterioration in the religious situation. The negative attitude of some part of society and the authorities to such a policy influenced the suspension of its active phase and contributed to a certain facilitation and normalization of religious life, which was observed in the mid-1950s. Later Adventist communities experienced crises related to the liquidation of the All-Union Seventh-day Adventist Spiritual Center and the internal division of the community due to government interference in its activity.
In the development of the Adventist community in Transcarpathia, it was possible to highlight some of its features, which allowed to save the community from significant power influences and destruction. These include the deep historical religiosity of the local population, their cultural and historical tradition as well as mentality. The combination of the above-mentioned factors forced the authorities to act quite cautiously in the area of religious restrictions. During that period the Transcarpathian Adventist community managed to overcome the negative occurrences and slowly develop, maintaining internal and doctrinal unity in balancing relations with the state.