Christianity in Russia

Christianity in Russia

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Christians in Russia constitute by some estimates the largest religion of the country (from 15% to 80% of total population by some sources). Approximately 83% of the country residents consider themselves Russian Orthodox Christians, although the majority are not regular churchgoers. By official information, there are 68 eparchies of Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).

There are from 500,000 to one million so-called Old Believers
Old Believers
In the context of Russian Orthodox church history, the Old Believers separated after 1666 from the official Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon between 1652–66...

, who represent an older form of Russian Orthodox Christianity, and who separated from the Orthodox Church in the 17th century as a protest against Patriarch Nikon
Patriarch Nikon
Nikon , born Nikita Minin , was the seventh patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church...

's church reforms. According to the Slavic Center for Law and Justice, Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

s make up the second or third largest group of Christian believers, with approximately 3,500 organizations and more than 1 million followers. A large number of missionaries operating in the country are from Protestant denominations. In Russia today, about 280,000 associate with over 2200 congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reports over 20,000 adherents in 126 congregations.

The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 estimates that there are from 600,000 to 1.5 million Catholics in the country, figures that also exceeded government estimates. There is one Roman Catholic Archdiocese (Mother of God at Moscow) with three suffragan dioceses (Saint Clement at Saratov, Saint Joseph at Irkutsk, Transfiguration at Novosibirsk) and Apostolic Prefecture of Yuzhno Sakhalinsk. The Russian "law on non-governmental organizations" taken effect in April 2007 requires non-governmental organization
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

s (NGOs), including Christian churches, to register with state agencies, list their funding sources and provide records of all meetings.

Russian Orthodox Church




The Russian Orthodox Church is organized in a hierarchical structure. Every church building and its attendees constitute a parish
Parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

 (prikhod).

All parishes in a geographical region belong to an eparchy
Eparchy
Eparchy is an anglicized Greek word , authentically Latinized as eparchia and loosely translating as 'rule over something,' like province, prefecture, or territory, to have the jurisdiction over, it has specific meanings both in politics, history and in the hierarchy of the Eastern Christian...

 (eparkhiya—equivalent to a Western diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

). Eparchies are governed by bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s (episkope or archierey). There are around 130 Russian Orthodox eparchies worldwide.

Further, some eparchies are organized into exarchates, or autonomous churches. Currently these include the Orthodox Churches of Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

ian exarchate; the Latvian
Latvian Orthodox Church
The Latvian Orthodox Church is a self-governing Eastern Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow. The primate of the church carries the title of Metropolitan of Riga and all Latvia...

, the Moldovan
Moldovan Orthodox Church
The Moldovan Orthodox Church is an autonomous church under the Russian Orthodox Church, whose canonic territory covers the Republic of Moldova....

, and the Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate
Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate
The Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate is a semi-autonomous diocese of the Patriarchate of Moscow whose primate is appointed by the Holy Synod of the latter. Its official name in English is the Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate...

. The Chinese
Chinese Orthodox Church
The Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church is an autonomous Eastern Orthodox church in China. It was granted autonomy by its mother church, the Russian Orthodox Church in the mid-1950s.-Ancient Period:...

 and Japanese Orthodox Church
Japanese Orthodox Church
The Japanese Orthodox Church or The Orthodox Church in Japan is an autonomous church of Eastern Orthodoxy under the omophorion of the Russian Orthodox Church.-History:...

es were granted full autonomy by Moscow Patriarchate, but this autonomy is not universally recognized.

Smaller eparchies are usually governed by a single bishop. Larger eparchies, exarchates, and autonomous churches are governed by metropolitans and sometimes also have one or more bishops assigned to them.

The highest level of authority in the Church is represented by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, head of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Holy Synod is the governing body of the Church in the period between the Bishops’ Councils.

By information of Saint Tikhon's Orthodox University
Saint Tikhon's Orthodox University
Saint Tikhon's Orthodox University of Humanities in Moscow, Russia is a coeducational theological university for the laity affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church. The university, established in 1991, is Russia's first theological graduate-level school for the lay men and women, unlike...

 and other researchers, from one to several hundred thousands of Orthodox believers were repressed for their faith in the Soviet time.

According to figures released on February 2, 2010, the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) has 160 dioceses including 30,142 parishes served by 207 bishops, 28,434 priests and 3,625 deacons. There are 788 monasteries, including 386 for men and 402 for women.

Old Believers



In 1971 the Moscow Patriarchate revoked the anathemas placed on the Old Believers in the 17th century, but most Old Believer communities have not returned to Communion with other Orthodox Christians.

Estimates place the total number of Old Believers remaining at from 500.000 to 1 millions, some living in extremely isolated communities in places to which they fled centuries ago to avoid persecution. An Old Believer parish in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has entered into communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia , also called the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, ROCA, or ROCOR) is a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church....

.

Old-Believer churches in Russia have started restoration of their property, although Old Believers (unlike the nearly-official mainstream Orthodoxy) face many difficulties in claiming their restitution
Restitution
The law of restitution is the law of gains-based recovery. It is to be contrasted with the law of compensation, which is the law of loss-based recovery. Obligations to make restitution and obligations to pay compensation are each a type of legal response to events in the real world. When a court...

 rights for their churches. Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 has churches for all the most important Old Believer branches: Rogozhskaya Zastava (Popovtsy
Popovtsy
The Popovtsy, or Popovschina , were one of the two principal movements of the Old Believers, which was formed by the end of the 17th century in Russia.-Historical backgrounds:As none of the bishops joined the Old Believers The Popovtsy, or Popovschina (Поповцы, Поповщина in Russian; this name...

 of the Belokrinitskaya hierarchy
Belokrinitskaya Hierarchy
Belokrinitskaya Hierarchy is the first full and stable church hierarchy created by the Old Believers.The hierarchy was created in 1846 by acceptance of the Greek Metropolitan Ambrose...

 official center), a cathedral for the Novozybkovskaya hierarchy in Zamoskvorech'ye and Preobrazhenskaya Zastava where Pomortsy and Fedoseevtsy
Fedoseevtsy
Fedoseevtsy, also Fedoseyans was an oppositionary religious movement in Imperial Russia and one of the denominations among the Bespopovtsy....

 coexist.

Roman Catholic Church




Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 in Russia (by 2008) has one Archdiocese of Mother of God at Moscow (headed by Arcbishop Pavel Pezzi
Paolo Pezzi
H.E. Msgr. Paolo Pezzi, FSCB, also known as Pavel Pezzi, is an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church, currently serving as Latin Rite Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Moscow .-Early life and ministry:...

), three dioceses (Saint Clement at Saratov
Saratov
-Modern Saratov:The Saratov region is highly industrialized, due in part to the rich in natural and industrial resources of the area. The region is also one of the more important and largest cultural and scientific centres in Russia...

, Saint Joseph at Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

, Transfiguration at Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk is the third-largest city in Russia, after Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and the largest city of Siberia, with a population of 1,473,737 . It is the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast as well as of the Siberian Federal District...

), one Apostolic Exarchate and one Apostolic Prefecture in Yuzhno Sakhalinsk.

The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has voiced his support for religious education in state sponsored schools, citing the examples of other countries.

Relations with the Russian Orthodox church have been rocky for nearly a millennium, and attempts at re-establishing Catholicism have met with opposition. Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 for years expressed a desire to visit Russia, but the Russian Orthodox Church has for years resisted.
In April 2002, Bishop Jerry Mazur of Eastern Siberia was striped of his visa, forcing the appointment of a new bishop for that diocese. In 2002, five foreign Catholic priests were denied visas to return to Russia, construction of a new cathedral was blocked in Pskov
Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

, and a church in southern Russia was shot at. On Christmas Day 2005, Russian Orthodox activists planned to picket outside of Moscow's Catholic Cathedral, but the picket was cancelled. Despite the recent thawing of relations with the election of Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

, there are still issues such as the readiness of the police to protect Catholics and other minorities from persecution.

One thousand Russian Catholics gathered in the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Moscow to watch the Pope's
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 funeral in 2005. Earlier Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 gave an 18th century copy of the famous Our Lady of Kazan
Our Lady of Kazan
Our Lady of Kazan, also called Theotokos of Kazan , was a holy icon of the highest stature within the Russian Orthodox Church, representing the Virgin Mary as the protector and patroness of the city of Kazan. Copies of the image are also venerated in the Catholic Church...

 icon to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russian Catholic Church



There are also communes of Byzantine Rite
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

 Catholic Church in Russia (in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Omsk, Nizhnevartovsk), which are in full communion with and subject to the authority of the Pope as defined by Eastern canon law. That tradition is closely connected with the ideas of philosopher and poet Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov.

Protestants




There are Evangelical Christians - Baptists (most numerous), Lutherans, Pentecostals , Adventist
Adventist
Adventism is a Christian movement which began in the 19th century, in the context of the Second Great Awakening revival in the United States. The name refers to belief in the imminent Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It was started by William Miller, whose followers became known as Millerites...

s, Methodists, Quakers and nearly all other known Protestant denominations presented in the country.

By the opinion of Keston Institute, Protestants are widely present and may well outnumber the Orthodox in some places of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. There are very few "nominal" believers among them: everywhere they preach, pray and often struggle against local bureaucracy to acquire their rights. Anyway, they are also regarded as respectable, hard-working citizens.

Some Protestants (especially at provincial level) report encountering local authorities obstruction of their activities and government restrictions. In April 2007, the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 obliged Russian state to pay EUR 10,000 (ten thousand euros) as a non-pecuniary damage for the refusal in registration of the Moscow branch of Salvation Army
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

.

Conducted in July - August, 2007, bicycle missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 expedition of Evangelical Christians Baptists faced, by their report, serious obstacles and suspicious attitude from local authorities in several regions of Russia. The evangelization
Evangelization
Evangelization is that process in the Christian religion which seeks to spread the Gospel and the knowledge of the Gospel throughout the world. It can be defined as so:-The birth of Christian evangelization:...

 meetings several times were banned in public parks. The initial goal of the above mentioned tour was to share the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 with people in towns and villages throughout the country and, by words of UECB President Yuri Sipko
Yuri Sipko
Yuri K. Sipko is a Russian Baptist pastor who was vice president of the World Baptist Alliance and president of the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of Russia from 2002 to 2010.-Early life:...

, to "fight their way through on foot or on bicycles to reach even the most remote village and the most despairing person in order to bring them the message of God’s kingdom."

Restorationism


Certain Christian religions consider themselves to have restored primitive Christianity and do not consider themselves part of Protestantism. The largest such denominations are Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jehovah's Witnesses


Zion's Watch Tower (now called The Watchtower
The Watchtower
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom is an illustrated religious magazine, published semi-monthly in 194 languages by Jehovah's Witnesses via the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania and printed in various branch offices around the world...

, the primary journal of the Watch Tower Society
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania is a non-stock, not-for-profit organization headquartered in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, United States. It is the main legal entity used worldwide by Jehovah's Witnesses to direct, administer and develop doctrines for the religion...

 and Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

) had subscribers in Russia as early as 1887, and another Witness publication quoted correspondence from a 1904 group in Russia. Early Russian adherent Semyon Kozlitsky, a Russian Orthodox seminary graduate, associated personally with Charles Taze Russell
Charles Taze Russell
Charles Taze Russell , or Pastor Russell, was a prominent early 20th century Christian restorationist minister from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and founder of what is now known as the Bible Student movement, from which Jehovah's Witnesses and numerous independent Bible Student groups emerged...

 as early as 1891 and was an active Jehovah's Witness in Russia, Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, and what is now Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 until his death in 1935.

In the 1920s, The Watch Tower began to be published in Russian, and Russian-language congregations were established in the United States and elsewhere. Although there were restrictions in Russia itself, the Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 branch translated and printed Russian-language literature and the Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 branch broadcast Russian-language radio lectures. In 1935, the Watch Tower Society unsuccessfully attempted to establish a branch office in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 to support the Witnesses already there.

By 1939, thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses were already residing in the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 when the Soviet Union absorbed those formerly independent countries. In the 1940s, the Soviet government forcibly dispersed thousands of Witnesses in a program later described by Dr. N. S. Gordienko, a professor at Herzen University
Herzen University
The State Russian Herzen Pedagogical University is one of the largest universities in Russia. Located in Saint Petersburg, it operates 20 faculties and more than 100 departments. Embroidered in its structure are the Institute of Pre-University Courses, the Institute of Continuous Professional...

 as having had "just the opposite of what was expected; they wanted to weaken the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the USSR, but in fact they only strengthened it".

In the 1950s and 1960s, Jehovah's Witnesses were surveiled, infiltrated, harassed, and persecuted by the Soviet government, which seems to have taken decades to conclude that the faith was not a threat. According to Witness Viktor Gutshmidt, the prosecutor general for the Russian Republic in 1961 privately acknowledged that and guessed that perhaps 500,000 in the Soviet Union might eventually become Witnesses if restrictions were lifted. By 1971, there were more than 4500 Witnesses in the Soviet Union.

When the religion was formally recognized in March 1991, Russia reported 15,987 active Jehovah's Witnesses. Beginning in 1993, graduates of Gilead Extension School in Germany began to be assigned to Russia as missionaries to support the local Witnesses already there. Between 1996 and 2006, Jehovah's Witnesses trained thousands of fulltime ministers in hundreds of Pioneer Service Schools across Russia.

Despite local and unofficial harassment, the number of adherents has steadily grown since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On January 31, 2001, the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Nezavisimaya Gazeta is a Russian daily newspaper. Published since December 21, 1990.Information ranging from a wide variety of sources, such as reporters, political scientists, historians, art historians, as well as critics are published in the newspaper...

said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses occupy fourth place among Russian religions." By 2009, Jehovah's Witnesses reported "an estimated 280,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses and associates in Russia", organized into 2235 congregations. Across the former republics of the USSR, over 700,000 attend the meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Mormons


In the Novouzensk
Novouzensk
Novouzensk is a town and the administrative center of Novouzensky District of Saratov Oblast, Russia, located on the left bank of the Bolshoy Uzen River at its confluence with the Chertanly River, southeast of Saratov. Population:...

 region about 1855, Ivan Grigorev Kanygin founded religious communities with untraditional marriage and communal practices they derived from the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. Although they called themselves Communists or Methodists (due to a claimed association with Methodism
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

), an Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

 named Khrisanf Rozhdestvenskiy in 1869 labeled them "Mormons" after the contemporaneous American movement, and the term was thereafter applied pejoratively to such adherents. In the 1870s, an unrelated community developed near the Volga city of Samara
Samara, Russia
Samara , is the sixth largest city in Russia. It is situated in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers. Samara is the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Population: . The metropolitan area of Samara-Tolyatti-Syzran within Samara Oblast...

 which avoided alcohol, tobacco, and swearing, cooperated in commercial enterprises, and governed themselves by "apostles" and "prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

s". Adherents refused to discuss their theological beliefs with outsiders, and it seems that others incorrectly but perhaps sincerely identified them with Mormonism. The "Samara Mormons" came to tolerate the name into the 20th century, though they too had no known connection to the actual Latter Day Saint movement
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints established its first congregation in Russia in 1990, and the Church was recognized in May 1991. By 2010, the Church reported membership of 20,276 in 126 congregations in Russia.

Bible translation



The first attempts to translate books of the Bible into modern Russian language of that time took place in 16th and 17th centuries. But the mentioned works (by deacon of Posolsky Prikaz Avraamiy Firsov, pastor E.Gluk, archbishop Methodiy (Smirnov)) were lost during political turbulence and wars.

Makarios Bible


Mikhail Iakovlevich Glukharev, known as Archimandrite
Archimandrite
The title Archimandrite , primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic churches, originally referred to a superior abbot whom a bishop appointed to supervise...

 Makarios, was a Russian Orthodox missionary who translated most of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 between 1839 and 1847, while a contemporary associate named Gerasim Petrovich Pavsky translated Psalms. Makarios was unable to publish the translation during his lifetime, but a journal called Orthodox Review acquired and published the Makarios Bible in installments between 1860 and 1867, under the title An Experiment of Translation Into the Russian Language.

The aging magazines, more than a century old, were discovered in 1993 in the rare-books section of the Russian National Library
Russian National Library
The National Library of Russia in St Petersburg, known as the State Public Saltykov-Shchedrin Library from 1932 to 1992 , is the oldest public library in Russia...

, and permission was given for the work to be copied and prepared for publication. In January 1997, the Religious Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia "arranged for nearly 300,000 copies of this Bible to be printed in Italy for distribution throughout Russia and the many other countries where Russian is spoken. In addition to Makarios’ translation of most of the Hebrew Scriptures, this edition of the Bible contains Pavsky’s translation of Psalms as well as the Orthodox Church-authorized synodal translation of the Greek Scriptures."

Russian Bible Society


The full-scale Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 translation into Russian language began in 1813 since the establishment of the Russian Bible Society
Russian Bible Society
Russian Bible Society - christian non-denominational organization for translating and distributing the books of the Old Testament and New Testament and the Bible in Russia.-Early history:...

. The full edition of the Bible with Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 and New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 was published in 1876. This work, called also Russian Synodal Bible
Russian Synodal Bible
Russian Synodal Bible is a Russian non-Church Slavonic translation of the Bible commonly used by the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian Baptists and other Protestant, as well as Roman Catholic communities in Russia....

, is widely used by Protestant communities all over Russia and former USSR countries. Lately appeared several modern translations. The Russian Bible Society
Russian Bible Society
Russian Bible Society - christian non-denominational organization for translating and distributing the books of the Old Testament and New Testament and the Bible in Russia.-Early history:...

 since its establishment in 1813 and up to 1826 distributed more than 500 thousand of Bible related books in 41 languages of Russia. Several times in 19-th and 20th centuries activities of the Society were stopped by reactionary policies of the Russian Government.

It was restored in 1990-1991 after a pause connected with the Soviet regime restrictions.

The opening ceremony of the Building of the Russian Bible Society in Moscow was visited by representatives of Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, Roman Catholic, and Protestant churches, who joined their efforts in Bible translation and distribution cause. The editions of Society are based on the universal doctrine of the early Christian church and include non-confessional comments. Over 1,000,000 Bible related books are printed per year by that institution. The Bible is also being translated into native languages and dialects of Russia's ethnic groups.

New World Translation


In 2002, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania is a non-stock, not-for-profit organization headquartered in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, United States. It is the main legal entity used worldwide by Jehovah's Witnesses to direct, administer and develop doctrines for the religion...

 released Holy Bible (with New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures) in Russian. The complete New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is a translation of the Bible published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in 1961; it is used and distributed by Jehovah's Witnesses. Though it is not the first Bible to be published by the group, it is their first original translation of...

in Russian was released in 2007. In 2010, New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures (the New Testament) was released in Russian Sign Language
Russian Sign Language
Russian Sign Language is the sign language of the deaf community in Russia. It has a grammar unlike the Russian language, with much stricter word order and word formation rules. Russian sign language belongs to a family of French sign language and is similar to American sign language...

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The New World Translation is favored and distributed by Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

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See also


  • Russian Orthodox Church
    Russian Orthodox Church
    The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

  • Roman Catholicism in Russia
    Roman Catholicism in Russia
    The Roman Catholic Church in Russia is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.-Origins:...

  • Protestants in Russia
  • Russian Synodal Bible
    Russian Synodal Bible
    Russian Synodal Bible is a Russian non-Church Slavonic translation of the Bible commonly used by the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian Baptists and other Protestant, as well as Roman Catholic communities in Russia....


External links