During the years 1939–45, a spectacular change occurred in the anti-religious policy of the Soviet government. The pattern of direct persecution was discarded and replaced by a more subtle pattern of ostentatious compromise in combination with indirect pressure. The compromise was publicly demonstrated at the meeting of the National Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (January-February 1945) convoked, by permission of the Soviet government, to elect a new Patriarch in place of the deceased Sergius. The Council was attended by a number of high dignitaries of the non-Russian Orthodox Churches; many of them were flown to the Council in Soviet bombers. At the end of the Council, a gala reception was organized for its members by G. Karpov, the chairman of the Council for the Affairs of the Orthodox Church; during that reception two choirs could be heard, the Patriarch's choir and the Moscow Philharmonic choir sponsored by the Soviet government. The enthroning of the new Patriarch Alexei was filmed and the film displayed in all the movie theaters of the Union.
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