Operation «Patriarch». How the CIA and KGB were fighting for influence in the Christian world

© AFP 2018 / Alberto PizzoliКрест on the robes of a cardinalOperation «Patriarch». How the CIA and KGB were fighting for influence in the Christian world© AFP 2018 / between pizzoli Alberto

Confession, prayer and… the wire. During the cold war, the Soviet Union and the United States especially subtly fought for influence on minds, including among the faithful. For this he introduced his people, even there, where mere mortals can not reach — in chambers Greek patriarchs and popes. About the most daring «religious operations» of the KGB and the CIA — in the material RIA Novosti.

«To eliminate the Patriarch»

Over Istanbul airport and roar of military aircraft. The prefect of the city, the consuls and numerous police meet the «Sacred cow» — the military Board to the presidents of the United States. But to the surprise of the guards, the ladder goes no Harry Truman, and the little broad-shouldered man in a black robe with a thick beard ashen. Just a scene from the film. And, as if to enhance the effect, the trace of the plane appears, the head of the film company 20th Century Fox Spyros Skouras.

«Welcome to Turkey, Mr. SPIRA! Now you citizen», — the prefect of the picture holds the person in a cassock document.

And the next day, January 27, 1949, the mayor of the Patriarchal residence in Istanbul’s Fanar district respectfully say: «Congratulations, Your Beatitude! It is a great honor for Istanbul to have such a Patriarch!»

«Of course, the US had some (reciprocal) movements through diplomatic channels. It’s a pretty difficult question considering that Pope John XXIII played a role in the resolution of the «Caribbean crisis,» says theologian Alex Yudin.

The reputation of the Pontiff as the «Pope of the Communist» even more intensified when he convened the Second Vatican Council. His contemporaries called him «revolutionary.» For example, it decided to hold mass in the national languages and not only in Latin, Catholics were allowed to participate in the sacraments with Christians of other denominations.

One of them — a humble monk of the Benedictine monastery in Trier Eugen Brammertz. In the mid-1970s, he joined the editorial staff of the Vatican newspaper L’osservatore Romano.

And in 1945, being in the Soviet camp for prisoners of war, Brammertz even could not imagine the consequences of his agreement to cooperate with SMERSH in exchange for the release. In the late 1970s, the monk was able to become a member of the Pontifical Commission for science, which included the Vatican’s Secretary of state Agostino Casaroli. To spy on the activities of the second person in «the city of St. Petersburg» Benedictine continued until his death in 1987.

© AP PhotoГоссекретарь Vatican Agostino Casaroli. 1985Operation «Patriarch». How the CIA and KGB were fighting for influence in the Christian world© AP PhotoГоссекретарь Vatican Agostino Casaroli. 1985

Another, and most successful agent in the Vatican became a monk Stanislaw Heimo. The Polish security service was interested in him because he was studying on the same course with the future Pope John Paul II in Cracow University, and was personally acquainted with him.

According to John Koehler, Heimo so close with my dad, I could easily pass to his quarters. After the death of the Pontiff in 2005, the media openly accused the monk’s work for the Soviet intelligence services. And that, surprisingly, did not refute.

«In any case, I told these people (from Polish intelligence. — Approx. ed.) about the Pope only what could be gleaned from open sources of information,» said Heimo reporters. As did the monk, as he admitted himself, only «good intentions».

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenkova in photobacteria of the Committee of State security of the USSROperation «Patriarch». How the CIA and KGB were fighting for influence in the Christian world© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenkova in photobacteria of the Committee of State security of the USSR

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