This week’s #HiddenCatholicCollection is the Moscow Mission Collection, a rare assortment of photos and documents chronicling the Augustinians of the Assumption’s time as missionaries in Russia, which spanned about 100 years.
Housed in the Archives of the North American Province of the Assumptionists in the Provincial House in Boston, MA, the collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, photos, video reels, baptism & marriage certificates, etc. spanning this time period. Due to the destruction of religious documents within the USSR, researchers of the religious presence in the USSR rely on collections outside of Russia, and the Assumptionists’ has been considered one of the largest extant collections of its kind.
The Catholic Chaplaincy in Moscow emerged from the Russian apostolate of the Assumptionists (begun 1903), and more particularly from the presence of Bishop Pie Neveu, who arrived in Moscow in 1926 as pastor of Saint Louis-des-Français Church and Apostolic Administrator. The 1933 Roosevelt-Litvinov agreement secured the right for an American clergyman to enter Russia as chaplain to the diplomatic colony. Fr. Leopold Braun arrived in Moscow under the new agreement in 1934. Despite many obstacles, American Assumptionists served in Moscow for the entirety of the Soviet Union’s existence.
The collection is currently being digitized and an online finding aid has not yet been established, however, researchers are welcome to make an appointment to visit the archive in person. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Provincial House at 617-783-0400.
Augustinians of the Assumption
330 Market Street
Brighton, MA 02135