On the day of the patriarch's burial, April 12, 1925, the names of the three metropolitans, who were to be headed by the Russian Orthodox Church under the will of Tikhon, became known. Since Metropolitans Cyril and Agafangel, being outside of Moscow, could not do this, Metropolitan Peter assumed the duties of locum tenens. However, in December 1925 he was arrested. After that, the leadership of the Church passed to the deputy patriarchal locum tenens, Metropolitan Sergius.
In the second half of the 20s. pressure on the Church from the state increased. At this time, the main place of detention for the clergy was the Solovetsky special-purpose camp. By 1926, there were 24 bishops. On July 7, 1926, the famous " Memorandum of Solovki bishops " appeared, appealing to the government of the USSR. It spoke of the need to "put an end to the regrettable misunderstandings between the Church and the Soviet government, which is painful for the Church and in vain complicates the fulfillment of its tasks for the state."
On August 19, 1927, Izvestia published an appeal by the provisional Patriarchal Synod, which was signed by a number of famous metropolitans and archbishops. In it, the clergymen declared that they want "to be Orthodox and at the same time recognize the Soviet Union as our civil homeland, whose joys and successes are our joys and successes, and our failures our failures." Taking a step towards the Soviet power, the ministers of the Church reproached some believers for their insufficient awareness of "all the seriousness of what happened in our country."
The approval of the new government, noted in the appeal, was considered by many to be some kind of misunderstanding, accidental and therefore not long-lasting. At the same time, people forgot that "there are no coincidences for a Christian and that in our country, as everywhere and always, the same hand of God acts, unswervingly leading every nation to its intended purpose." Far from all the hierarchs of the Church was accepted and approved of this message, but no one questioned the statement of loyalty towards the Soviet government.
In subsequent years, the ROC largely divided the fate of the entire Soviet people. In early 1929, L. M. Kaganovich, a directive was sent to the field, which emphasized that religious organizations are the only legally valid counterrevolutionary force that has an influence on the masses. The widespread use of administrative measures in the fight against religion. On March 8, 1929, the Central Executive Committee and the CPC issued a new decree on religious associations, which were forbidden to carry out charitable activities, teach religion in private, etc. A wave of mass closure of churches swept the country. By 1928, the ROC had more than 30 thousand parishes - 2/3 of the pre-revolutionary number. After this, the number of temples began to decline sharply. In 1928, 534 churches were closed, in 1929. - 1119. In Moscow, of the 500 temples by the beginning of January 1930, 224 remained, and in two years 87 churches. In Orel, by 1930, there was not a single functioning Orthodox church.
Closed churches were often used as production workshops, warehouses, apartments and rooms, and monasteries as prisons and colonies. The unfolding socialist construction in those years required a huge amount of funds that were sorely lacking. For this reason, church values, as a relatively easy and accessible source of replenishment of the budget, have again begun to attract more and more attention of the state. On February 24, 1930, the economic department of the OGPU sent a letter to the secretariat of the chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee requesting permission to remove the gilt from the domes of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
The petition noted that over 20 poods of gold of "excellent quality" were spent on the domes of this temple. The document emphasized that the 20 puds of gold, or "1/2 million currencies" remaining on the domes, are "excessive for the USSR, and the sale of gold will be a great contribution to the industrialization of the country." The People's Commissariat of Finance did not have objections to this operation. Paint the dome, as expected, initially, did not. In 1931, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was simply blown up.
The bells were removed from the bell towers across the country. Often this was done under the pretext that they interfere with listening to the radio. In 1932, due to the fact that in Moscow, the construction of the building of the Public Library. VI Lenin, it was decided to remove the bells from eight Moscow churches in order to obtain 100 tons of metal required "for bronze high reliefs" in the fa-garden of the building.
In order to legislatively restrict religious propaganda, an amendment was made to the USSR Constitution in 1929, which restricted religious activities to church walls. At the same time, the right to anti-religious propaganda was upheld. In 1930, in his interview with foreign correspondents, Metropolitan Sergius was forced to declare that religion in the USSR was persecuted and that all arrests of clergymen were the result of their illegal activities. Some then compared the position of the locum tenens with the position of the hens "in the cage of the kitchen of the cook. A day comes and the next victim is snatched from the cage."
In 1932, the Union of Militant Atheists adopted its five-year plan, in which it planned to gradually achieve the closure of all religious schools, deprive clergymen of ration cards, conduct mass closure of churches, prohibit the writing of religious writings and the manufacture of religious objects, and send all clergymen "abroad and consolidate the achieved success. After the wave of mass closure of churches in 1934 was suspended in 1931, it again swept the country and was accompanied by arrests and expulsions of clergy and active parishioners