Russia was originally a pagan nation; Russians believed in a variety of major and minor gods. Christianity was first introduced in Russia in 988 by Prince Vladimir whose grandmother, Olga was converted to the Eastern Orthodox faith in Constantinople, according to tradition. The religion in Constantinople at the time was Eastern Catholicism or Orthodoxy (from Greek orthos doxos 'true faith'), hence the Russian Church is Orthodox rather than Roman Catholic. By 1051 hermits were settling in caves along the bank of the Dnepr river beneath what would become the oldest monastery in Russia, the Kiev Pechersk Monastery. The seat of the Church is now located in the Trinity-St. Sergiev Monastery in Sergiev Posad (formerly Zagorsk). An extensive album of color photographs of churches, cathedrals, and monasteries in Moscow is maintained by Mikhail Soutchanski of Toronto. An extremely interesting resource is the Allegheny College Russian History site. It contains a chronology of Russian culture plus discussions of icons, iconostases, and saints, all illustrated by a the rich gallery of icons owned by the college. Bethel College and Seminary maintains a site with the complete Russian Bible plus a rich array of religious other writings and links. Click it out.
The History of Religion by the Irkutsk Express
The Orthodox information center is a good place to feed an interest in the Church, past and present. An anonymous contributor in Vienna provides more links to Orthodox information throughout the world. The graduate students in mathematics of Moscow State University have a page on Russian Orthodoxy, plus a page of other links. The Russian Bible is also on-line, courtesy of International Russian Radio-TV. It requires KOI8-R Russian fonts. The Orthodox Church calendar not only lists all the saints of the Church, but supplies Christian names for Orthodox believers. This first link is to the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow itself. For the correct dates of the Orthodox holidays from AD 325, you can also check Marcos Montes' Ecclesiastical Calendar Another complete Julian Orthodox calendar can be found on The Orthodox Calendar Resource Page. This one will give you the corresponding Gregorian date and the lists of saints associated with the date.
The St. Petersburg (Florida) Times also has a brief discussion of the Russian Orthodox Church. This site in Vladivostok contains some administrative statistics of the Church. Paul Steves of Stetson University maintains an elaborate website on NISE religions including a large page of religious news.
The Russian Orthodox Church of America (Denver archdiocese) also has a web site explaining the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere. This site provides a calendar of Orthodox Easters from 1997 to 2099. It also contains links to the Russian Orthodox monasteries with websites throughout the world. A second website under the Denver archdiocese is maintained by Father Demetrios Serfes for the glory of God. Finally, the Synod of Bishops of Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia located in New York has a website with a calendar, a history of the Orthodox Church abroad, and several indices of parishes, priests, etc.
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