The Christians Who Upstaged Their Atheist Russian  LeaderUnproven!


Summary of eRumor:

This story talks about Ivanovich Bukharin, a powerful Russian leader in the early part of the 20th century.  In 1930, he is said to have traveled to Kiev to deliver an address to a large crowd on the subject of atheism.  After a an hour of delivering his best arguments against faith, he asked if there were any questions.  One man came from the crowd to the front and loudly proclaimed the ancient Orthodox greeting “Christ is risen!”  Then the crowd responded with the ancient Orthodox response “He is risen indeed!”

The Truth:

This story has been told through the years as having happened in various settings, usually Russia.  Some versions it happened in the 1930’s.  Others put it in the 1920’s.  There are several different names ascribed to the communist leader who was speaking to the crowd.  We have not found a historically reliable source for the story.  Can anyone help us out?

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

You probably do not remember the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin norshould you.

But during his day he was as powerful a man as there was on earth. As Russian Communist leader he took part in the BolshevikRevolution 1917, was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda (which by the way means truth), and was a full member of the Politburo. His works oneconomics and political science are still read today.

There is a story told about a journey he took from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. Addressing the crowd he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity hurling insults, argument, and proof against it. An hour later he was finished. He looked out at what seemed to be the smoldering ashes of men’s faith. “Are there any questions?” Bukharin demanded. Deafening silence filled the auditorium but then one man approached the platform and mounted the lectern standing near the communist leader. He surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally he shouted the ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church: “CHRIST IS RISEN!”

En masse the crowd arose as one man and the response came crashing like the sound of thunder: