Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Russian Orthodoxy

Russian Orthodoxy
For the past millennia, Russian Orthodoxy has played a vital role in forming the history and culture of modern Russia. In the late 8th century, the Orthodox Church converted most of the nobility of the Kieven Rus' turning into a Christian state. Kiev at that time was the center of the Russian Orthodox Church, but after the Mongol Invasion, the center of the Church was moved to Moscow. It was during this period when Russia was under Tatar rule that the Church played a pivotal role in keeping the Russian people and spiritual life intact. Following this period, the Church helped to defend and expand the authority of the Russian State over its people and much of the western territories. By the 16th century, the Russian Orthodox Church had established a powerful religious supremacy over the government and people of Russia leading many to believe that Moscow had become the Third Rome.
Soon the Orthodox Church had managed to establish a patriarchal see in Moscow, which brought about a period of great progress in church power. The growth included geographic expansion into western areas like Alaska or Kamchatka and spiritual revival through the growth of monasteries and Christian traditions.  The Church maintained this level of supremacy over Russia for several years after until the Bolshevik Revolution. Once the Bolsheviks took control, they declared separation of church and state effectively ending the Orthodoxy’s dominion over the state. The Soviet Union then began to effectively remove all religious influence from society and delegitimize the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church. Toward the end of the Soviet Era, much of the Church’s influence was extinguished by oppressive Communist policies. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Church has managed to regain some of its original power through filling in the ideological vacuum left by the previous era. Today, the Russian Orthodox Church stands as a living testament to the resilience and endurance of the Russian nation.
-Anthony McRae

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