The World: Lenten Letters

"A church dictatorially directed by atheists is a spectacle that has not been seen for 2,000 years," lamented Alexander Solzhenitsyn last week. In an unpublished "Lenten Letter" that is widely circulating in Moscow, the famed novelist accused Patriarch Pimen, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, of abject submission to the Kremlin's antireligious policies.

Solzhenitsyn reproached the church hierarchy for compliance with such measures as the closing of churches, the repression of dissident priests and the ban on religious education for children. Even the ringing of church bells is forbidden: "Why should Russia...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!