- Santa Sede e Russia da Leone XIII a Pio XI: Atti del secondo Simposio organizzato dal Pontificio Comitato di Scienze Storiche e dall'Istituto di Storia Universale dell'Accademia Russa delle Scienze, Vienna, 25–30 aprile 2001
Using research based on documents from the Vatican, Russian, German, and Austrian archives, this book includes nine essays that analyze various aspects of the relationship between the Holy See and Russia in the first twenty years of the 1900s. The focus of this analysis is World War I and the October Revolution. The most interesting parts of the book are those dedicated to the efforts that the Bolshevik regime made at the beginning of the 1920s to contact the Vatican so as to be recognized by the Western nations and thus break out of the political and diplomatic isolation the Soviet Union experienced at that time. [End Page 393]
As Alexandr C.ubarian ("Presentazione," pp. 7–13) and Alexey Komarov ("Il Concordato del Vaticano con la Lettonia nel 1922 e gli interessi della politica sovietica," pp. 252–61) demonstrate, the Soviet leadership—overestimating the role of the Holy See—held that the Catholic Church had a great influence on the orientation of the Western European nations as well as on the international capitalistic society as a whole. The attention that the Soviet Union gave to the Holy See did not reflect a desire for dialogue; rather, it was dictated simply and strictly by Realpolitik. In fact, in 1924, when official diplomatic ties were established between the Soviet Union and the majority of the Western Nations, its interest in relationships with the Vatican diminished. Attention should be given to the fact that before he openly went against the Bolshevik regime, Pope Benedict XV opportunely explored all the means of negotiations, including addressing himself directly to Lenin (see Laurent Koelliker, "La perception de la Russie par le Pape Benoît XV: aspects politiques, diplomatiques et religieux," pp. 17–49); it was during the civil war between the Red Army and the White Army that the Holy See upheld the position of the White Army against the Bolsheviks, since the members of the White Army were favorable to the creation of conditions in Russia that would favor the mission of the Catholic Church there.
The material from the archives that is published in this volume is of notable importance as well as of great interest for historians, since it not only makes available documents from the Secret Vatican Archives, the Archives of the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, the State Archives of the Russian Federation, and the Russian State Archives for Political Social History, but it also throws an extremely interesting light on many vicissitudes of the Bolshevik Revolution as well as the situation of the Catholic Church in Russia during those years (see Piero Doria, "La documentazione vaticana sui rapporti Santa Sede-Russia 1917–1919," pp. 50–90—regarding the events of the Archbishop of Mahiljou, Monsignor Eduard von der Ropp—and Michail Odincov, "I cattolici e la Chiesa Cattolica in Russia nel 1914–1920," pp. 121– 49). The Bolshevik power originally equalized the rights of all the churches and religious confessions existing in Russia, but then soon began political discrimination and persecution of all churches, especially the Catholic Church beginning in 1925, a situation that is illustrated by Evghenia Tokareva ("Problemi dello status della gerarchia cattolica nelle trattative tra l'URSS e la Santa Sede negli anni Venti," pp. 150–83), highlighting in a particular way the important role that the papal nuncio in Berlin, Eugenio Pacelli, had during this period. [End Page 394]