The persistence and growth of sectarian groups is one of the most interesting features of the Soviet scene today. A book was recently published by F. Fedorenko1 which, as a Soviet reviewer rightly says, treats ‘more than 400 religious sects’.2 Even since the writing of that book another new sect has appeared upon the scene, a group known as the Pokutniki (‘Penitents’. in Ukrainian) who seem to be descended from the suppressed Uniates (Eastern Rite Catholics).3 The difficulty of organizing church life on a national scale has contributed to the appearance of local sub– variations of some denominations and where a sect has been declared completely illegal (as in the case of the Uniates) this tendency has become even more apparent. It would not be too strong to talk of the ‘hydra’. principle here — cut off one head and many others grow in its place.
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