The transcending importance of the physical church and of the liturgy celebrated there constitutes both a strength and a vulnerability. Serious problems continued in western Ukraine. In 1945 Ukrainian nationalist forces under the leadership of Stepan Bandera had retreated to the wooded hills and battled the Red Army and Soviet security forces in a guerrilla war that lasted for several years. Interestingly, the crackdown against the Orthodox Church apparently did not last in full force until the day of Stalin's death. A bishop was consecrated on March 1, 1953, four days before Stalin died, and the meeting of the Holy Synod that named this bishop reportedly was held in January of 1953. The fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church brightened considerably in the period after Stalin died. Anti-religious propaganda actually intensified for a time after Stalin's death; the peak came in the summer of 1954.