Four decades the World Council of Churches and the Vatican in the scope of the Committee for State Security
Hierodeacon Petar Gramatikoff
Centre for Ecumenical Dialogue
« St. Ap. Hermas » – Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Four decades the World Council of Churches and the Vatican in the scope of the Committee for State Security (KGB)
A new publication in Bulgaria of top secret documents will shed more light on the historical period under review and will reveal more thoroughly Secret services’ interest in religious organizations. The book « The KGB and the Bulgarian State Security Service – connections and dependences »
is a Collection of Records (1950-1991),
ISBN 978-954-92467-1-1, Sofia, 2009, edited by the Committee for Disclosing the Documents and Announcing Affiliation of Bulgarian Citizens to the State Security and the Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian National Army (CDDAABCSBNA) of the Republic of Bulgaria. It is the first in a series of publications which will facilitate researchers in their work with confidential files from the funds of the archives of the Bulgarian former secret services.
On 480 pages we find: 1. Foreword by Tatyana Kiryakova, member of the CDDAABCSBNA and managing editor; 2. Introduction by associated professor dr. Jordan Baev, scientific consultant; 3. List of documents; 4. Facsimile of documents; 5. Comparative structure of KGB (1954-1991) and the Bulgarian State Security Services (1952-1990); 6. Terms and abbreviations; 7. Index of names; 8. List of the documents with an English annotation. The facsimiles published in the collection follow a chronological order – a selection of the most important documents, a total of 53 agreements, perspective plans, instructions, information papers, reports and notes, found in the archives of the various departments of the Bulgarian State Security Services. Some documents are published in Russian because their translation was not found in the Bulgarian archives. The stamp reading « The level of classification is waived » represents an integral element of the documents’ authenticity because it evidences when and on what legal grounds each archive unit has been declassified.
The Commission for Disclosing the Documents and Announcing Affiliation of Bulgarian Citizens to the State Security and the Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian National Army has as an important aspect of its work the granting of access to the secret files for the purposes of research and investigative journalism. By virtue of article 10 of the Act on Access to and Declassification of the Records and on Disclosure of Involvement of Bulgarian Nationals With the Former State Security and the Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian People’s Army, the Commission undertook the publication of a part of the documents preserved in the integrated archive it created. This year we mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and the beginnings of the new democratic order in Central and Eastern Europe.
The disclosure of those documents will help researchers in conducting a more comprehensive analysis of the global confrontation between the two opposing camps which led to the emergence, expansion and regulation of a number of regional crises, especially astonishing we find the constant interest of the archives related to the cooperation between the Bulgarian State Security – Ministry of the Interior of the Peopleнs Republic of Bulgaria (MoI of the PRB) and the Committee for State Security (KGB) of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in regard of the national and international church organizations – incl. the World Council of Churches.
At this point and on this subject the most important documents on the coordination of the tasks of interaction between the security authorities of the two countries are the following:
Document №5 is in Russian – « Notes on the measures for the improvement of the work of the state security bodies of the PR of Bulgaria, 1953 » (f. MoI, s.f. 1, i. 5, a.u. 23, sh. 198-206)
After 1944-46 the intelligence and counter-intelligence work of the state security bodies of the PR of Bulgaria was coordinated by « instructors » from the Forth Directorate
of the People’s Committee for State Security (KGB). Very active since 1947 was colonel « Mitya » Trifonov esp. in the process against the arrested in end of 1948 evangelical pastors. Later on his colleagues – Soviet advisors on the measures needed to improve the work of the state security bodies of the PR of Bulgaria to be used as a basis for the drafting of a concrete plan for 1953 as seen in Document 5 – a top-secret text recommending on national level to collect detailed information on suspicious groups of citizens potential State enemies, incl. Church high-ranking officials and to control their correspondence (see p. 42, about. Department « Panega »). On international level as main task on page 101 is planned the infiltration of agents in the Vatican and the World Council of Churches in order to unveil and discredit their plans and activities against the socialist countries. In paragraph 23 (see pages 47-480 is recommended to profit from the materials about the recent process on the catholic conspiracy in Bulgaria and to take measures to close catholic monasteries, churches, as centers of conspirator’s and espionage, as well as to reduce the number of the operating mosques (in the original text: « Turkish churches »).
Document №8 is a translation from Russian: « Measures for the further intensification of the coordination and interaction between the State Security of the PRB and the security organs of the USSR, 3 July 1959″
(f. of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), s.f. 9, i. 2, a.u. 804, sh. 8-12).
It points measures and specific steps for joined and coordinated intelligence activity of the security services of the PRB and the USSR against the main enemy оr the USA and the other capitalist countries and their intelligence services. In part III (p. 64) we find a statement on the hostile activity of the Vatican against the USSR and the countries from the socialistic camp. As very useful was proposed soviet intelligencers to investigate in Bulgaria (by the time fixed – 15.08.1959) all opportunities for interception the activity of the Vatican trough the connections of the Pope (cardinal Roncalli) who lived in the country.
Document №9 « Information of G. Kumbiliev before a meeting of the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior, Sofia, August 11, 1959″
(f. NIS, s.f. 9, i. 2, a.u. 803, sh. 142-170)
On the Meeting of the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior held on August 11, 1959 to discuss the results of the visit of the Bulgarian delegation led by the Interior Minister to the Committee for State Security (KGB) of the USSR, Moscow, – an critic analysis was done regarding the need of political demoralization of the clergy through denunciatory articles in the Bulgarian media, not only the corruption of the Eastern Orthodox clergymen, but to use the Muslim imams and the religious sects infiltrating agents’ provocateur amongst the leaders of the religious communities (pp.87-88). As « good practices » are cited the use of the imams to agitate the rural population for entering the co-operative farms, as well as the involvement of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to counter designs and discontent among the people and how exactly to « interpret the gospel » in favor of the co-operative farms.
Document №11 is a « Recorded discussion on the coordination of intelligence and counter-intelligence measures some joint operations between the MoI of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Committee for State Security (KGB) at the Council of Ministers of the USSR, 5 June 1961″
(f. NIS, s.f. 9, i. 2, a.u. 804, sh. 74-81). It was a
discussion between the leadership of the MoI of the PRB and the leadership of the KGB regarding the coordination of the intelligence and counter-intelligence measures and the joint implementation of some of them between the MoI of the PRB and the KGB at the Council of Ministers of the USSR on the 5th June 1961. on page 103 we find an analysis on the hostile activity of the Vatican, especially the danger of the intention to organize an Ecumenical council (Second Vatican Council) as an antisocialist gathering. That’s why on page 101 is decided to infiltrate intelligencers in the Vatican City and the World Council of Churches for the exposure and denunciation of the practical application of their enemy’s activity against peace, democracy and countries of the socialist camp. More active measures to be taken (as described on p. 105) in this regard through the media of the socialist and capitalist countries; trough disinformation in order to create distrust amongst some circles of the roman-catholic clergy towards the Vatican; to explore the Prague’s Peace Christian Conference as leading international church organization for the purposes in favor of the socialist countries and to put it on the war-path with the Vatican. The Bulgarian and Soviet secret services decided to work in common « for the disgrace of the ecumenical council of the Vatican as an anticommunist front of all churches, incl. the Muslim one ».
Document №13 « Instruction No.C-1164 of the Council of Ministers (CoM) dated July 11, 1962 regarding the approval of agreement dated July 3, 1962 » (f. MoI, s.f. 1, i. 7, a.u. 808, sh. 20-22)
(Re.: Instruction No. C-1164 of the of the CoM dated July 11, 1962 on the approval of agreement dated July 3, 1962 for cooperation between the Committee for State Security (KGB) at the Council of Ministers of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics and the Ministry of the Interior of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria signed on July 3, 1962)
Document №14 « Transckript talks discussion between V.E. Semichastni and D. Dikov regarding the results and the future cooperation between the KGB at the CoM of the USSR and the MoI of the PRB, Moscow, 17 May 1963 » (f. NIS, s.f. 9, i. 2, a.u. 804, sh. 158-168) – Discussion between V. E. Semichastni, Chairman of the KGB, and D. Dikov, Minister of the Interior of the PRB, on the results and the future cooperation between the KGB at the CoM of the USSR and the MoI of the PRB in the area of intelligence and counter-intelligence, and additional operative possibilities of the secret services in expanding the coordination of actions in fields of common concern and in consolidating mutual assistance. An agreement was reached to exchange information on the results from the first session of the Vatican’s « ecumenical council » and till the 1st of August to prepare joint actions for the period of the second session of the Council.
Document №22, « Information No 724 regarding the talks held with the visiting KGB delegation led by Y. Andropov, Sofia 24 December, 1969″ (f. NIS, f. 9, i. 2, a.u. 813, sh. 16-23), represents talks between the leadership of the MoI of the PRB and the delegation of the Committee of State Security, KGB, of the USSR on matters related to the international environment, the organization of the intelligence and counter-intelligence work and the relations among the security authorities of the socialist countries, held in Sofia from 27 to 29 November 1969. Regarding Cyprus was planned to deepen the contradictions between Greece and Turkey and to support the mood of Archbishop Makarios for self-dependence and independence through the « opportunities » of the Orthodox Church for gathering information and for influencing Makarios.
Document №27 « Plan for interaction and practical cooperation in the field of counter-intelligence between the KGB Fifth Directorate and the Sixth Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of the Peopleнs Republic of Bulgaria for the period 1972-1974, April 1972″ (f. MoI, s.f. 1, i. 10, a.u. 1282, sh. 1-13): Plan for interaction and practical cooperation in the field of counter-intelligence between the KGB Fifth Directorate and Sixth Directorate of the MoI of the PRB for the period 1972-1974, signed by F. Bobkov, head of the KGB Fifth Directorate and P. Stoyanov, head of the Sixth Directorate of the MoI. It shows specific interest in the hostile circles of the Muslim emigration in Turkey and in infiltrating agents in Muslim organization in this country. This interest in the activities of the Muslim centers lasts for decades as seen also from Document №43 or « Plan for joint action with the KGB structures for the period 1983-1985, Sofia, June 20, 1983″ (f. MoI, s.f. 22, i. 1, a.u. 202, sh. 1-5) – Plan for joint action and further improvement of the interaction between the KGB structures and division 02 of Department 06 of SS for the period 1983-1985 in which we find a detailed plan regarding the organization « Muslim Brothers » (p. 343). In Document 27, see p. 227, follows a detailed description of the operative actions of various church organizations in order « to prevent the organizational consolidation of the antisocialist clerical organizations » (more specific the World Council of Churches – WCC) using the Russian and the Bulgarian Orthodox churches for ideological diversion. On page 222 are mentioned the names of certain agents: « Borisov », « Stoyanov », « Petrov » (MoI of PRB), « Svetoslav », « Nesterov », « Ostrovski », « Adamant », « Vidmantas » (KGB of USSR) and other amongst among respectful Orthodox clergy members. For the historians of the modern church history is possible to research who are the clergy or lay persons behind this nicknames. For the year 1972 was planned WCC to be directed in advantage of the socialist secret services; also the consolidation of the leadership of « Prague’s Peace Christian Conference » with representatives from socialist countries confronting the ideological diversion of the capitalist clerical centers and organizations.
Document №44 « Information on the discussion held during the meeting of Vladimir Kryuchkov, Deputy Chairman of KGB and the head of the KGB FCD with a delegation of the FCD of SS, November 19, 1984″
(f. NIS, s.f. 9, i.4, a.u. 663, sh. 26-30) is an
information of D. Stankov, head of division 08 of the FGD of SS and M. Kolarov, head of division 17 of the FGD of SS regarding a meeting of a delegation of the FGD of SS with Vl. Kryuchkov, Deputy Chairman of KGB, on matters related to the joint work of the two intelligence services in special operations in Albania, Moscow, November 1, 1984. « Comrade » Kryuchkov analyses on pp. 348-49 the development of the lawsuit « Antonov » and the attempt on the life of Pope John-Paul II, the Italian jurisprudence and the attitude of Judge Ilario Martella. This statement of the top-KGB officer describes the Pope as « very dangerous for us clergyman, much more dangerous compared to the late cardinal Vishinski ». A recommendation is given to ask for help the Polish « comrades » regardless their preoccupation with « the case Popelushko ».
Document №46 is the « Prospective plan for the interaction between the external intelligence services of the Ministry of the Interior of the PRB and the Committee for State Security (KGB) of the USSR for the period 1986-1990, March 19, 1986″ (f. NIS, s.f. 9, i. 4a, a.u. 40, sh. 1-19) – prospective plan for the successful implementation of the tasks of the external intelligence services of the MoI of the PRB and the KGB of the USSR, further improvement of the efficiency of the intelligence activity, consolidation of the interaction and coordination of the efforts of the State Security (SS) and the KGB mostly against the USA, NATO and China. On page 385 special interest and attention is shown toward the leadership of the Vatican and the protestant church and their position and activity in regard issues like global peace and disarmament.