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The orthodox religion and its effects on the culture of russia

Since the 11th century, Slavic people were pagan, but after Duke Vladimir Krasno Solnyshko Red Sun decided to become Christian, he immediately baptized the entire population, sometimes even using force. Afterwards, somehow Russian people fell in love with Orthodox Christianity and its respective rituals have become an inspiration to them. Since the authorities of the Tsar had always been very religious and thus strongly supported Orthodoxy, the Church prospered throughout the country.

There was a huge movement to build churches and temples all over Russia; the beauty of these buildings impressed Orthodox Christians and other religions alike. The grandest temples are concentrated in the heart of Russian Christianity in the central region and capital of the country - Moscow.

Russian Orthodoxy It is well known that Orthodox Christianity is a strict religion with lots of rules, fasts and restrictions in comparison with the Baptist or even Catholic faith. Nevertheless, in Russia people accepted Orthodoxy and nowadays many people are still very devout. A Brief History of the Russian Orthodox Temple A church or a temple is a spiritual building made for the passing of devotions, built and consecrated in a special manner.

  1. Russian Orthodox services, noted for their pageantry, involve the congregation directly by using only the vernacular form of the liturgy. Mount Athos in north-eastern Greece is described as the centre of Orthodox monasticism.
  2. Temples consecrated in honor of the Mother of God have blue domes with gold stars, which symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. At the Little Entrance, the Book of the Gospels is solemnly carried into the sanctuary and at the Great Entrance the bread and wine are carried to the altar for the Prayer of Consecration and Holy Communion.
  3. Similarly, Aleksiy II, elected to head the church upon the death of Patriarch Pimen in 1990, was found to elicit greater grassroots confidence than most other public figures in Russia.

In Christianity a temple is a house of God, a place for prayers. Traditions of building temples were developed during a time span of hundreds of years. Most often Christian temples look like a cross, which in its Eastern form has crosses of equal lengths, from above. Its round domes became an example for future architecture endeavors of Orthodox temples.


The Christian temple usually has three distinct parts: It is necessary to get the blessing of a church hierarch to build a new temple. Once it was constructed, a new church or temple was consecrated in honor of Jesus Christ, of the Mother of God or of one or a few saints.

A single-domed church or cathedral symbolized God; two domes were symbols of the divine and human nature of Jesus Christ, three domes — the Trinity, five domes — Jesus Christ and the four Evangelists. A temple with seven domes symbolized the seven church sacraments, nine domes - the nine angelic titles, and with thirteen domes — Jesus Christ and his twelve apostles. The form and color of a dome are also very important in religious symbolism.

Domes in the shape of a helmet symbolized the fight of Christianity against forces of evil; the shape of an onion is also the symbol of the flame of a candle that, in turn, symbolizes the immortal soul. Golden domes signify divine glory, and crown most of the main cathedrals located in big cities. Temples consecrated in honor of the Mother of God have blue domes with gold stars, which symbolize the Star of Bethlehem.

Domes built in honor of the Trinity have green domes, and temples consecrated in honor of saints have green or silver domes. Walls of Christian temples are always painted with images of biblical themes: Usually above their arcs are images of the four Evangelists, and in the arcs are images of apostles, saints and prophets. Images of martyrs are usually painted on the columns.

The structure of Christian temples is designed with the following rules in mind: The middle of the altar is the place from which devotions are told. Important sacred objects a cross, the Bible, a tabernacle, a pyx and a corporal — a piece of silk with the image of Jesus Christ being placed into the coffin are kept here.

The back wall of the altar is occupied by the iconostasis: Choirs are located along the walls of churches and cathedrals.

  • Despite official repression in the Khrushchev and Brezhnev years, religious activity persisted;
  • Ironically, earlier in 1917 the moderate Provisional Government had provided the church a few months of restoration to its pre-Petrine stature by reestablishing the patriarchate and independent governance of the church;
  • Orthodox believe that fasting can be the 'foundation of all good';
  • Thousands of churches reopened during the war;
  • By maintaining the purity of the inherited teachings of the Apostles, believers are made more aware of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit being present both in history and at the present day;
  • The government concessions for the sake of national defense reinvigorated the Russian Orthodox Church.

The western part of the temple is intended for people yet to be baptized but who are going to adopt the Christian faith and for people who are confessing their sins. Russian Orthodox Services Divine services held in church are an expression of the people's beliefs and of their love for God.

During these services priests wear special clothes that can be different colors yellow, white, blue, red, green, violet or black with silver depending on the kind of service.

The main divine service is the liturgy that is prefaced by seven actions throughout the day: This round of services signifies the gratitude people have towards God for rescuing them from their sins and the sin of mankind in general. The Orthodox Church also has occasional religious rituals. These are services connected with religious sacraments christening, wedding and burial services, among others.

The ritual of Orthodox services was created centuries ago, in the first Orthodox capital Constantinople. The Orthodox Church has three daily divine services throughout the day.

Also it is divided into different sacraments: Besides these sacraments, there are also special divine services devoted to different religious holidays. The daily divine services last throughout the entire day.

The evening services consist of the devotion of the ninth hour, the evensong and the complin. These devotions signal the thanks people grant God for that day and their request to save sleeping people during the night.

  • Each icon can be kissed only once, even if it has images of more than one person;
  • By 1975 the number of operating Russian Orthodox churches had been reduced to about 7,000;
  • In 1589 the metropolitan of Moscow received the title of patriarch;
  • Orthodox teachings include the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the inseparable but distinguishable union of the two natures of Jesus Christ--one divine, the other human.

The morning divine services begin at the midnight service, which is devoted to the second advent of Jesus Christ. The next service is the Matins that symbolizes the thanks people grant God for the previous night and the consecration of the new day. The third part of the morning service is the service of the first hour. This divine service, like services of the third, sixth and ninth hours that follow it, are short and consist of a few psalms and devotions.

Vespers are passed in temples at night before Sundays and religious holidays. The most solemn Vespers take place before Christmas and Easter and most of its devotions are dedicated to these holidays. The tradition of divine evening services is very ancient: Furthermore, Christian people, who lived in the first years A.

Eastern Orthodox Church

During the first part of the Vespers, priests remind people of Old Testament stories and the choir sings psalms about the creation of the world and offers up prayers about forgiveness. The second part of this divine service is the Great Suffrage, which is devoted to asking God for help.

It is a general service in which all people take part, and it always begins because of the massive appeals coming from churchgoers to pray all together. During the Great Suffrage a priest reads seven secret devotions at the altar and a choir sings psalms about righteous men from the Old Testament and about Jesus Christ. Next, a choir sings a hymn glorifying God and priests go around the ceremony participants with a thurible a vessel in which incense is burned and candles. The next action of the vespers is a group of general devotions to the Mother of God and all saints John the Baptist, Saint Nicolas the miracle-worker, Saint Cyril and Methody to name a few for the needs of all humanity.

The Russian Orthodox Church

Afterwards, the morning part of the vespers begins: The choir sings about the birth of Jesus Christ and reads six psalms about divine mercy. Finally, the most solemn part of the vespers begins. Priests light all the candles and all go inside the temple, symbolizing the apostles, who came to the grave of Jesus Christ and knew about his resurrection.

Every Orthodox Church has a bell tower. Now Orthodox temples usually have a lot of bells of different sizes. Big bells are used rarely, only during especially solemn or tragic events.

Others are rung during divine services and religious holidays. First, the bells were tetrahedral, but from the 10th century on they became round.

The church's specific regulations determine the order and the melody of the ringing of bells, for example the slow ringing of one bell is called the church-going bell: During the Great Lent, the ringing of bells is reduced to a minimum. Earlier, bells were used only to call believers for devotions. But now the bells are rung several times a day — atmosphere is, after all, very important.

At the entrance of the temple, men must take their head-dresses off this includes hats, bandanas, scarves, etc. At the threshold of the temple people should stop for a moment, cross themselves, using their right hand and bow.

These actions are external manifestations of the beliefs of Orthodox people. Do not discuss what you see around with people inside. If you speak, do it quietly, ask questions only to the ladies, who are working inside the church. You usually will find them at the end of the hall, where candles and some other church items such as icons, small crosses and silver chains are sold. Women shouldn't wear a short skirt or pants, although some places will provide a long skirt to wear over normal clothing.

The church rules regarding head covering also apply here. When people accept blessings from a priest, they should cross their hands on their chests, putting the right hand on top of their left.

When they kiss icons, they shouldn't kiss images of Jesus Christ, the Mother of God or saints to their faces. Each icon can be kissed only once, even if it has images of more than one person. Of course this information only applies to religious adherents, who believe and attend the service with certain expectations. In addition, Orthodox visitors can place candles in the churches.

  • This practice includes meditation and ritual bonfires as well as seances of clairvoyance and discussions with the dead;
  • The Bishops in the Orthodox Church are considered to be the direct successors of the original Apostles and they are very much a unifying focus in the Church;
  • These prayers are sung particularly at Sunset and Dawn and at certain other times during the day and night;
  • This worshipping house is near the magnificent park on Elagin Island;
  • Important sacred objects a cross, the Bible, a tabernacle, a pyx and a corporal — a piece of silk with the image of Jesus Christ being placed into the coffin are kept here.

This practice is actually open to everyone, but if you do not believe in such things than this practice is of no use. However if you feel like doing this — go ahead.

You usually can buy candles inside the temples and should light them from other candles that have been already lit. Candles lighted for the health of somebody can be put in front of any icon; candles lighted for dead people must be put only in front of a crucifix. Also keep in mind that all divine services in Orthodox temples in Russia are held in the Old Slavonic language; this does not sound not like normal speech, but more like a song.

One would think that the speech would be full of spirit, but the Orthodox Church is solemn and doesn't allow much joy. People behave like they are suffering or just very calm; visiting the church for them is more like an obligation. For believers, this is not a place to meet your friends or praise the Lord and have joy. In summary, all people should behave simply, naturally and respectfully toward other visitors, when visiting an Orthodox Church.

This religion has held a sad place in Russian history because Jews were often pressed by the Russian Orthodox Church.

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The Russian Orthodox Church was always the main religious branch and had an enormous amount of power, and consequently Judaism suffered the most. Many Russian Jews had to immigrate to other countries. Thus nowadays Jews won't express their beliefs too widely or publicly, even though government-sanctioned persecution has ceased.

Nonetheless, in Saint Petersburg there is a relatively large Jewish community and they have a big choral synagogue, which is located on Lermontovsky, 2, tel.: A visit to this religious building is probably the best way to find out about Judaism and its practices in Russia today.