861.48/10–2444: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State

4059. Pravda for October 23, publishes prominently on page 2 message to Stalin from Alexis, Metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod and Patriarch Locum Tenens, referring to collections of funds in support of war effort by orthodox clergy and faithful and stating that with end of war in sight he had considered it appropriate to inaugurate collection of funds for children and families of Red Army fighters by all orthodox clergy and believers. One million rubles has been given by patriarchate to begin drive.

Alexis refers to efforts of church which have already netted 150 millions in contributions and states that these efforts were stimulated by Stalin’s cordial replies to previous reports of collections. In conclusion Alexis refers to Stalin as “Our beloved God-given supreme leader” and expresses confidence that his appeal for funds to church will meet with Stalin’s approval.

Stalin’s reply reads as follows: “I thank you for your concern for the children and families of Red Army warriors. Accept my greetings and the gratitude of the Red Army.”