As the Brezhnev years slipped by, a new generation of church leadership came of age. The older generation, including the patriarch, the metropolitans, and the senior bishops, had experienced the desperate years at the edge of organizational extinction prior to World War II. The period of stagnation brought slow erosion of the church's institutional resources. It was an era free of large-scale church closings and without the agonies of the Khrushchev attack, but the losses of the Khrushchev assault were not reversed and additional losses accumulated. The number of priests had declined by almost a thousand between 1966 and 1985; the number of monks, nuns, and novices, already reduced to about 1,300 at the end of the Khrushchev drive, had dropped by about 100. The accumulated impact of the foregoing developments was an impression that the era of stagnation was becoming a creeping threat to the church's continuing institutional viability.