The Soviet parliament's decision to end seven decades of religious repression is another harbinger of the eventual collapse of communism. It also is an example of how power in the Soviet Union is gradually shifting. For if Soviet people are granted true freedom to confess, practice and teach the faith of their choosing, such a right will inevitably lead to further erosion of the power of the Russian Orthodox Church, which calls itself "the right-believing church" but became a willing tool for its atheistic usurpers.
The church's hierarchy knows this.
In a desperate power grab attempt, it tried to win the parliament's authorization for the after-hours use of state school buildings for religious classes. The parliament, wisely, denied this request which could have triggered violent fights over school buildings in areas where the Russian Orthodox hierarchy's supremacy is challenged by other denominations.
Such fights are already brewing. In recent weeks, several parishes have decided to leave the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and join the New York-based Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. These kinds of splits are certain to occur in all denominations, when individual congregations no longer have to belong to the discredited, communist-controlled official religious bodies.