Two excerpts from the biography Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore chronicling the early religious education of Joseph Stalin:

The Empire’s seminaries were “notorious for the savagery of their customs, medieval pedagoguery, and law of the fist,” comments [Leon] Trotsky. “All the vices banned by the Holy Scriptures flourished in this hotbed of piety.”

The seminary was to pull off the singular achievement of supplying the Russian Revolution with some of its most ruthless radicals. “No secular school,” wrote another seminarist, Stalin’s comrade Philip Makharadze, “produced as many atheistsas the Tiflis Seminary.” The Stone Sack (nickname for the seminary – DB) literally…

Read More »