Lenin, Fatima and Holy Week

Author: James J. Foley

Lenin, Fatima and Holy Week

James J. Foley

The association of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (known to history as Lenin) with the most important week in the Christian calendar and the greatest Marian apparition of the twentieth century seems jarring and completely out of place. Instinctively we recoil at having the memory of religious events like Fatima and Holy Week tied in any way to the ruthless cunning of the arch-revolutionary who founded the world's first atheistic state. Yet by a series of strange coincidences these two religious events are closely connected with the coming of the Bolshevik Revolution.

The Historical Context

The apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 have been long associated with the traumatic upheavals occurring in Russia that same year. This association is supported by the focus on Russia in the messages entrusted to the children and even more by the precise timing of the revelations.

Fatima and the two Russian revolutions of March and November, 1917 are virtually contemporaneous events.1 Our Lady's appearances to the three young children at Fatima took place from May to October, 1917 _ a six month period almost perfectly bracketed by the two great Russian revolutions of that same year. In March the thousand-year old Russian monarchy was overthrown and replaced by a moderate, democratically-oriented regime. Optimism ran high among the Russian people, and many observers in the West welcomed the revolution as an opportunity for Russia to break loose from its backwardness and lethargy. In November, however, the Bolsheviks led by Lenin seized power and ushered in a new era in modern history. During the intervening seven month period, the fate of the Russian revolution and the freedom of millions of innocent people hung in the balance.

This critical timing seems too meaningful to be just an accident. Indeed, this highly symbolic timing is one of the strongest arguments for the supernatural character of Fatima. The likelihood that the three shepherd children, none older than ten and largely unlettered, could have discerned the historic significance of these months to an Orthodox land on the other side of the Continent is vanishingly slim.

When word of the apparitions first became public in the spring of 1917, the radical turn which the Russian revolution would take in the fall was still only a vaguely perceived possibility _ even among the most worldly wise practitioners of statecraft. Fewer still recognized the potential for evil of an obscure revolutionary named Lenin just returned to Russia from Swiss exile. The relationship that we now see between Lenin's return, the Virgin's messages in Portugal, and the assumption to power of the Bolsheviks only becomes apparent in hindsight.

While the six apparitions of Our Lady in 1917 fit almost perfectly within the critical period in Russian and world history between the fall of the Romanov's in March and the Bolshevik seizure of power in November, there is a minor flaw in the pattern. The neat symmetry is marred by a missing month _ April. Did something possibly related to Fatima and Russia take place in April, 1917? As it turns out, historical research provides a further unsuspected layer of meaning to Our Lady's message and additional proof that events related to Russia are integral to a thorough understanding of the Fatima apparitions.

Lenin's Return to Russia

In early 1917, Lenin seemed, both to himself and to many of his fellow Marxists, a failed man destined to end his days exiled in Switzerland. When he heard of the upheavals in Russia and the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, however, Lenin quickly grasped the radical shift in his fortunes. Understandably, he was anxious to take advantage of this great opportunity and return to his homeland.

Though known only to a few at the time, Lenin's trip back to Russia has subsequently come to be regarded as a key turning point in modern history. The trip would cross the heart of wartime Germany in the famous 'sealed train' _ a railroad car which the Germans carefully isolated from all contacts with the populace along the route to prevent the spread of any dangerous doctrines within their own borders. In Sir Winston Churchill's memorable phrase, the German government employed with the sealed train, "the most grisly of all weapons," transporting Lenin like "a plague bacillus" back to Russia.2

Travelling with the secret backing of the Imperial High Command, Lenin would soon spread his message throughout Russia and the world. As the leader of the Bolsheviks, he would bring his considerable revolutionary talents to bear against the more moderate socialist and liberal parties which were just then beginning to fashion a democratic Russian state. The extent of Lenin's success in this endeavor almost defies belief. The Bolsheviks were one of the smallest parties in Russia at the time of the March Revolution, numbering no more than twenty thousand out of a population of one hundred and forty million. They had taken an insignificant part in the revolutionary tumult which had just swept over the country and had made many enemies as the most radical wing of the socialists. Without Lenin's unique organizational skills and the financial backing the party was about to receive from the German government, history would likely have taken a very different course.

While the chronology of Lenin's trip is not in dispute, its religious symbolism seems to have escaped notice. By a strange coincidence, Lenin's trip took place in the week separating the Easter celebrations of the Eastern and Western Christian Churches and during the week-long solemnity of the Jewish Passover.3 In the midst of this most holy period, commemorating the mightiest acts of God in history, an of exceptional cunning and dedication was conveyed to Russia and provided with the funding to create the first modern totalitarian state.


The decision of the German government to send Lenin back to Russia is certainly fully explicable in terms of power politics and the desperate situation Germany found herself in at the beginning of 1917. After two and a half years of brutal combat on two fronts, the German High Command had long since given up hope of a quick, easy victory and was grimly struggling with the cruel reality of trench warfare. Both sides were stalemated and near exhaustion when Germany resorted to a dangerous escalation to tilt the balance in her favor.

On January 31, 1917, the German government announced a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. While sinking ships of non-combatants held the obvious danger of drawing powerful neutral countries like the United States into the conflict, the possibility of cutting off supplies to Great Britain and forcing her out of the war seemed worth the risk. The German Foreign Minister, Arthur Zimmermann, realized the strategic danger of American involvement and tried to counterbalance it with diplomatic overtures to Japan and Mexico.

On January 19th, he wrote a secret note to the German ambassador in Mexico City. If war with the United States became inevitable, the ambassador was to propose to the Mexican government an alliance "to reconquer the lost territory in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona." The British, however, intercepted his note and gave it to the United States government. President Wilson made public the "Zimmermann telegram" on February 28, 1917. This intercepted note and the steady reports of sunken American ships effectively moved American public opinion away from isolationism and toward war.

With the prospect of an imminent American declaration of war, Zimmermann turned eastward to redress the balance. More than ever, Germany had to extricate herself from a two front war. Initially the March Revolution in Russia seemed to offer the opportunity Zimmermann needed, but it soon became apparent that the new revolutionary government was relatively moderate and would continue the war with its allies.

Clearly the revolution had to be made more radical in order for Germany to profit from it. As the German ambassador in Copenhagen described the strategy:

It is now essential that we try to create the utmost chaos in Russia. To this end, we must avoid any appearance of interfering in the course of the Russian revolution. In my opinion, we must covertly do everything we can to deepen the differences between the moderate and the extreme parties, since it is definitely in our interest that the latter should win the upper hand; then another upheaval will be inevitable and will take forms which will shake the Russian state to its foundations.4

Zimmermann had recognized the logic of removing Russia from the war through political action almost from the start. As early as 1915, he had begun cultivating the talents of Alexander Helphand, a radical socialist who had excellent contacts with the far left in Russia. Helphand, or Parvus as he was also known, was not above mixing business with his socialism or accepting German money. In March 1915, the German Foreign Ministry gave Helphand one million gold marks to finance a nationwide strike in Russia. Two months later, Helphand had a meeting with Lenin in Bern, Switzerland.5 There is no indication that Helphand was successful with any overtures he may have made to Lenin at this meeting, but Lenin subsequently was careful to keep his distance from Helphand at least in public. Shortly after this meeting Lenin allowed one of his trusted associates, Jacob Fürstenberg, to join Helphand in a business venture in Stockholm.6 It was to be a connection which would later bear important fruit.

The Unholy Alliance

Lenin fitted perfectly into this grand strategy. Penned up in neutral Switzerland, he desperately wanted to return to his homeland and put into action the revolutionary strategies he had been honing for years. Lenin was not a German agent and detested everything the German High Command stood for. He was interested in using the Germans to forward his revolutionary program the same way they wanted to use him to achieve their war aims. He seems to have agonized over accepting German help, but the chance to return to his homeland in the midst of its revolutionary upheavals was simply too attractive an offer to turn down.

Russia just after the revolution was a hotbed of radical activity which logically might have given pause to the Kaiser and conservative officials in the German High Command about further destabilizing the country. Indeed, a few days after the abdication of the Tsar, Emperor Karl of Austria wrote his ally, the Kaiser, warning: "We are fighting against a new enemy which is more dangerous than the entente _ the international revolution. . . . I implore you not to disregard this fateful side of the question. . . ."7

Kaiser Wilhelm appears to have taken no notice of this warning. During the weekend of March 24-25, both the Kaiser and the High Command gave the go ahead for the plan to send Lenin and a band of radical revolutionaries into Russia. A week later on Palm Sunday, April 1, 1917, the German Foreign Office requested five million marks for political action in Russia. This was a large sum and the Treasury requested further confirmation before it actually approved the request on April 3rd.8 Helphand had left Copenhagen for Berlin on April 2nd, the same day on which the Foreign Office cabled the German minister in Bern that "it is desirable that transit of Russian emigres through Germany take place as soon as possible. . . ."9

The timing of these decisive moves during the holiest period in the Christian calendar was quite unusual. Presumably a Sunday would have been a day of rest even in wartime for the Foreign Office and Holy Week would be expected to be a period of diminished activity for an avowedly Christian state like Germany. Developments on the other side of the Atlantic seem to offer the best explanation for this sudden flurry of activity.

On April 2nd, President Wilson spoke to a joint session of Congress and requested a declaration of war against Germany. "The world," he said, "must be made safe for democracy." The Senate resolution was passed on April 4th and the House finally concurred on Good Friday, April 6th. The pressure was clearly on Zimmermann and the German High Command to win the war against Russia before United States forces could reach the battlefront in significant numbers.

The Germans acceded to Lenin's demands that the train provided for his transit through Germany be given extraterritorial status on Thursday, April 5th. With this concession Lenin agreed to the trip. Lenin was clever enough to recognize that appearing to accept assistance from Russia's enemy could play into the hand of his opponents. Accordingly, Lenin made every attempt to distance himself from the Germans and relied almost exclusively on intermediaries.

The Sealed Train

Lenin and his small entourage departed the Bern, Switzerland train station a little after 3 p.m. on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917. At the German border the group was placed in a specially guarded car separated from all the other passengers on the train. This famous "sealed train" traversed the length of wartime Germany for the next four days. It was accorded such high traffic priority that it delayed the train of the Imperial Crown Prince for two hours. The Kaiser himself followed the train's progress, and the High Command informed the agents arranging Lenin's transport that the army was prepared to get the party into Russia through German lines if Swedish opposition made that necessary.10 On Thursday, the train reached the Baltic port of Sassnitz, and Lenin wired his lieutenant, Jacob Fürstenberg, that the group would be arriving at Trelleborg, Sweden at 6 p.m. that evening. Fürstenberg was waiting at Trelleborg when the ferry docked. Lenin and his companions then went on to Malmö where they caught the night train to Stockholm.11

The next morning Lenin arrived in Stockholm. It was April 13, 1917 _ Holy (Good) Friday in the Orthodox religious calendar _ and something of a birthday for Lenin, since he had been born on Holy Friday in 1870.

Lenin was welcomed by the Mayor, Carl Lindhagen, and other prominent local socialists. He appealed to them for financial support and approval of his controversial trip through Germany. They took him to the Hotel Regina for a meal and there Lindhagen expounded on the theme ""12

Lenin spent the whole day in Stockholm meeting with leading socialists and doing some shopping before he crossed into Russia. This routine schedule is, however, deceptive because the activities of Lenin's entourage in Stockholm that Good Friday set the stage for the momentous changes which were soon to occur in Russia.

Helphand tried to arrange a meeting with Lenin that day in Stockholm, but he cautiously sent his deputy, Karl Radek. The meeting lasted almost all day, and important agreements seem to have been reached regarding future German funding of Bolshevik activities in Russia.13 After the meeting, Helphand immediately left Stockholm and went to Berlin for a confidential meeting with Zimmermann _ a conference so secret that no record of the conversation was kept. What is known is that Helphand returned to Stockholm and used several trading companies to funnel substantial amounts of money to the Bolsheviks in Russia.

The Germans invested an estimated 50,000,000 gold marks in Lenin. This would be roughly equivalent to $100 million today. While historians still debate the exact amount of this funding, it is clear that the Germans felt they received full value for the money they spent in Russia.14 On September 29, 1917, Zimmermann's successor as Foreign Minister, Richard von Kühlmann, candidly assessed this support:

Our first interest, in these activities, was to further nationalist and separatist endeavors as far as possible and to give strong support to the revolutionary elements. We have now been engaged in these activities for some time, and in complete agreement with the Political Section of the General Staff in Berlin (Capt. von Hülsen). Our work together has shown tangible results. The Bolshevik movement could never have attained the scale or the influence which it has today without our continual support.15

It is one of the ironies of history that the reactionary German monarchy served a critical supporting role in the spread of radical revolution to Russia _ a radical revolution that turned back upon the German monarchy in a few more months and led to the creation of a German republic. The role played by German funding of the Bolshevik cause was an indispensable element in their successful November takeover of the government. As Trotsky later admitted: "For Bolshevism the first months of the revolution had been a period of bewilderment and vacillation."16 The German money distributed through Helphand's dummy corporations was used to build the organization up from this weak starting point by support for Bolshevik newspapers and membership activities throughout the country. Bolshevik propagandists drove around in the finest motor cars disseminating their message. The money seems to have been put to good use, and Bolshevik strength grew rapidly after Lenin's return to Russia.

Before Lenin left Stockholm he named three loyal lieutenants, Fürstenberg, Radek and Vorovski, to remain there as his representatives and to look after Bolshevik interests outside Russia. An important part of their duties appears to have involved coordinating distribution of German money throughout Russia. Fürstenberg's business connection with Helphand was particularly useful in this regard. He served as managing director for one of Helphand's companies in Stockholm which shipped German chemicals and medical supplies into Russia.17

The Allied powers were also following Lenin's progress and debating among themselves what action to take. Lenin's brief sojourn in neutral Sweden afforded them their first opportunity to derail the venture. The British Minister in Stockholm at the time, Sir Esme Howard, later recalled:

For a hectic moment the Allied Ministers discussed whether they could not, with the help, naturally, of the Swedish authorities, hold up the arch-revolutionary on the way through. But the plan seemed impossible. It looked as if it might make the situation worse. Indeed, so far had the Revolution gone in Russia by that time that it appeared wiser to let things take their course rather than interfere in matters of which we were then practically ignorant.18

It was to be a fateful decision. The German High Command had a much better appreciation of Lenin's potential for mischief than the Allies. Unfortunately, even they underestimated him.

At 6:30 that evening Lenin and his group boarded a train for Haparanda on the border with Finland. They reached their destination late on Saturday night. Across the frozen Torniojoki River lay the sleepy Finnish town of Tornio. Just after midnight Lenin and his small band crossed over the river on horse-drawn sleighs into what was then Russian territory. Easter services of the Russian Orthodox Church were just then proclaiming the triumph of the risen Christ. Lenin is reported to have waved a red scarf tied to an alpine stock as he made the crossing.19

Lenin passed customs without incident on the other side. He filled out an identity card listing his occupation as journalist and religion as Russian Orthodox. Probably because it was such an important holiday, Lenin's group could not get a train out of Tornio until 6 p.m. It took most of Monday for the train to traverse Finland and near Petrograd. Lenin's week-long journey finally ended at 11:10 p.m. in Petrograd's Finland Station. It was Easter Monday, April 16, 1917.

The Finland Station

Despite the hour and the cold, a large crowd of soldiers, sailors and workers had gathered at the station to welcome Lenin home. A noblewoman handed him flowers, a band struck up the and Lenin launched into a speech. "The world-wide Socialist revolution has already dawned," he declared. "Germany is seething. . . . Any day now the whole of European capitalism may crash. . . . The Russian revolution accomplished by you has prepared the way and opened a new epoch. Long live the world-wide Socialist revolution."20

It was an unusually bold speech for a returning exile. Clearly Lenin was not prepared to make any compromises. His vision for Russia and the world was for a much more radical revolution. It might well have given the Germans second thoughts about the recipient of their largesse, but they apparently had none. A short while later a German agent in Stockholm telegraphed Berlin: "Lenin's entry into Russia successful. He is working exactly as we would wish."21

Lenin at Work

Lenin immediately set about to strengthen the party apparatus and undermine the Provisional government. A few days after his return, he published his _ a rough outline of his revolutionary program. The vehemence with which Lenin insisted in this document on an immediate, all-out attack on the government surprised even many of his Bolshevik supporters.

The Bolsheviks were becoming a powerful force in the chaotic aftermath of the March Revolution. They sought to forge an alliance between soldiers, peasants and the urban working class. Their agents argued that neither peace nor land could be secured unless the revolution went further. This program of immediate peace drew increasing support at the front among soldiers. The various Bolshevik newspapers circulated widely after Lenin's return and contributed significantly to the success of the party in Russia.

Lenin's revolutionary program met with its first serious reverses in mid-July. The Provisional Government put down a premature Bolshevik insurrection and word began to leak out about German funding of Bolshevik activities. After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Lenin went into hiding. Disguised with a wig and makeup, he managed to leave Petrograd for the relative safety of Finland.

At the end of August, a military bid to seize power and re-establish order was made by General Kornilov, the commander of the Provisional army. Faced with the prospect of troops moving on the capital, Kerensky decided to arm the radical socialists. This turned out to be unnecessary as the military coup was anything but formidable. Responding to popular appeals, Kornilov's soldiers refused to execute the order to march on Petrograd. By the night of September 12th, the danger from the right had clearly passed. The following morning Kerensky met in the Winter Palace with General Krymov, who had been leading a large force against Petrograd. After a heated exchange with Kerensky, Krymov went to the apartment of a friend, scribbled a note to Kornilov and committed suicide.

While Kornilov's rebellion had been snuffed out quickly, it had nevertheless profoundly changed the political landscape. The threat from the military had served to polarize the country and push the moderate socialists into the hands of the extreme left. At the same time, Kerensky's base of support among moderates was critically weakened and the very elements whose influence he had sought to undermine since the July insurrection were now armed and politically energized. The Provisional Government had depended on the support it received from the generals to hold in check the extreme left. As a result of the abortive military coup, that support was now removed. In the following weeks the balance shifted rapidly to the left and the Bolsheviks began to win the upper hand.

Precisely when Lenin returned to Petrograd from Finland is a matter of some dispute. After Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin tried to suppress for political reasons any reference to a date for Lenin's return earlier than October 20th. With Stalin's death, evidence for an earlier return began to resurface. In light of recent Soviet research, there is strong reason to believe that Lenin came back without the approval of the Bolshevik Central Committee earlier than the "official" date. He then went underground, dating his letters as if he were still in Finland. It now appears likely that Lenin's actual return was on Friday, October 12, 1917.22 Less than a month later, the still relatively small band of Bolshevik revolutionaries seized power and set Russia and her people on a destructive course with few parallels in world history.

The Opiate of the People

Lenin's influence on world history is acknowledged to have been great by all modern historians, but his impact upon religion was particularly telling. Quite apart from the material destruction and human suffering about to be visited upon Russia, the Bolshevik Revolution delivered perhaps the greatest blow against Christianity in history. Soon after assuming power, Lenin set about extirpating the very notion of God from a country once so renowned for its piety as to be called 'Holy Russia'. Churches were shut or turned into museums of atheism. Just to preach about God was made a crime. Russia, with nearly 1000 years of adherence to the Christian faith, was about to be made over into an officially godless state that would aggressively spread its intolerant atheistic creed around the globe.

The American journalist John Reed witnessed Lenin's takeover of Russia in 1917 and caught the fervor of the new ideology: "The devout Russian people no longer needed priests to pray them into heaven. On earth they were building a kingdom more bright than any heaven had to offer . . ."23 The spectacular rise to power of Communism and the apparent impunity with which the Communists flouted the moral law served as a powerful solvent, weakening the hold of religion and the spiritual throughout the world.

Lenin's trip back to Russia and the "errors" he would soon spread there as the creator of Communism represented the opening salvo in this war on religion. It was altogether fitting, therefore, that Our Lady should be requesting prayers and penances for the salvation of humanity at this critical juncture. At least on one level, Fatima represents a powerful response to the great evils then being contemplated. The close relationship between Lenin's mission and Our Lady's message is forcefully brought home by the dating provided by recent Soviet historians for Lenin's return to Petrograd _ Friday October 12, 1917 _ the day before the climactic miracle at Fatima.

The End of the Journey

As we try to make sense of the phenomenon of Communism in the aftermath of its collapse, Lenin's trip and its curious timing take on added meaning. That it occurred amidst the Easter celebrations of the churches of both the East and West only heightens our horror at the terrible affront to religion and individual liberties which he set in motion.

Certainly one would be hard put to find an event whose consequences contrast more sharply with Easter, a feast commemorating Christ's freeing of the world from the chains of sin and His triumphant victory over death in the Resurrection. A terrible new bondage was about to be imposed upon humanity in the aftermath of Lenin's journey. The chains Communism would impose were most of all on the human mind and spirit. A materialist utopia was about to be substituted for the very idea of God, and an all-encompassing state was going to be set up to intrude on the most private thoughts of its citizens.

In view of the horrible material and spiritual toll to follow in the wake of Lenin's success, it is certainly comforting to think that Our Lady's apparitions occurred during virtually the same months that Lenin was at work setting the stage for his revolution. At this perilous moment, with the powers of this world once again attempting to enslave God's children and drive from their consciousness the very memory of His name, Christ chose to send us the powerful intercession of His Mother. Now after the eventual triumph she promised, we can only look back with love and gratitude to the spiritual aid Our Lady provided us with at this crucial turning point in world history.

James J. Foley is an independent researcher with an M.A. in European history from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


1 Dates in this paper are given in the Gregorian calendar. In 1917, however, Russia still used the old Julian calendar which was thirteen days behind the Gregorian calendar. The two Russian revolutions are often spoken of as the February and October revolutions because of this calendar difference.

2 Sir Winston Churchill, (London, 1929), p. 73.

3 Easter in the Western Church fell on April 8, 1917, while in the Eastern Church it occurred a week later, April 15. Passover began on April 7th and ended on April 14.

4 Document No. 8, top secret communique to Foreign Ministry dated April 2, 1917, contained in Werner Hahlweg, (Leiden, 1957), p. 48. The Kaiser had emphasized the importance of "internal discord within Russia" in connection with German war aims as early as 1916: "From a purely military perspective, it is important to detach one or another of our Entente foes by means of a separate peace so that we may throw our full strength against those remaining. . . ." Hahlweg, p. 10.

5 Z. A. B. Zeman and W. B. Scharlau, , 1867-1924 (London, 1965), p. 158. Helphand was well known to Lenin, although scarcely one of his intimate circle. Rosa Luxemburg first met Lenin in Helphand's apartment in Munich. Trotsky and his wife also stayed there (p. 57).

6 Ibid., p. 162. Fürstenberg lived with Lenin for two years in Poland before the war and had performed several confidential missions for the party.

7 Quoted in Michael Pearson, (New York, 1975), p. 70.

8 Z. A. B. Zeman, (London, 1958), p. 24.

9 Zeman, pp. 32-33.

10 Hahlweg, pp. 23 and 93.

11 Ibid., pp. 99-100.

12 Michael Futrell, (London, 1963), pp. 155-56. It might be noted that the critical events of this Orthodox Good Friday extend the curious pattern of thirteens in the Fatima apparitions and may also give some further insight into the religious timing of Fatima.

13 Zeman and Scharlau, pp. 216-17. That a significant breakthrough in funding arrangements with the Germans occurred at this meeting is the opinion of many historians besides Helphand's biographers. These include Pearson, p. 111 and, most recently, Richard Pipes, (New York, 1990), p. 392.

14 Zeman and Scharlau, p. 231. The German socialist Eduard Bernstein cited 50 million marks as the amount of German aid to the Bolsheviks. Based on postwar researches in the records of the German Foreign Ministry, the historian Richard Pipes also adopts this as the most likely figure (p. 411).

15 Zeman, p. 70. This candor was unusual. The Germans took care to protect the secrecy of their undercover activities. German archives have not provided evidence clearly delineating the scope of Lenin's involvement. Some of the most incriminating material released during the war was later shown to be a forgery.

16 Leon Trotsky, , trans. by Max Eastmann (New York, 1932), vol. i, p. 298.

17 Zeman and Scharlau, p. 219-21. Vorovski was employed by the German company of Siemens-Schuckert.

18 Lord Howard of Penrith (Sir Esme Howard), (London, 1936), vol. ii, p. 264.

19 Harrison E. Salisbury, (New York, 1978), p. 408. In Russia, the principal Easter service begins on Great Saturday. The choir chants solemnly for about an hour before midnight. The tapers are gradually extinguished until the church is virtually in darkness. The chant becomes softer and less audible. In Russian tradition, midnight is the actual hour of Christ's resurrection. As the church bells strike midnight, the church becomes a blaze of lights, the faithful joyously kiss each other, and the choir burst forth in song. The priest then proclaims, "Christ is risen!" and the faithful respond, "Indeed He is risen!"

20 Nikolai Sukhanov, , vol. i, pp. 273-74, quoted in Salisbury, p. 412.

21 Zeman, p. 51. There is some irony in the fact that the German spy master in Berlin controlling subversive activities in Russia, Diego von Bergen, was a devout Roman Catholic and served after the war as ambassador to the Holy See under both the Weimar and Hitler regimes.

22 After reviewing previously suppressed evidence in Soviet archives, the Russian historian P. N. Mikhrin argued for Lenin's return on a Friday night late in September, most probably the last Friday in the month (Julian calendar). Mikhrin's analysis is included in I. I. Mints, ed., (Moscow, 1964), pp. 119-24. Many western historians have concurred in this analysis such as Stephan Possony, (Chicago, 1964), p. 245; Salisbury, pp. 461-62; and Alexander Rabinowitch, (New York, 1976), p. 344. See the latter and Salisbury, pp. 693-96 for a complete discussion of this disputed chronology.

23 John Reed, (New York, 1935), p. 259.

This article was taken from the Winter 1993 issue of "Faith & Reason". Subscriptions available from Christendom Press, 2101 Shenandoah Shores Road, Ft. Royal, VA 22630, 703-636-2900, Fax 703-636-1655. Published quarterly at $20.00 per year.

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