The Russian Orthodox Church is a Christian denomination that accepts the Bible and Jesus Christ as God. Additionally, they observe the sacraments of communion and baptism.
Similar to Catholicism, Russian Orthodox Christianity emphasizes the role of faith and sacraments over belief alone. Nevertheless, it does not preach salvation by works or merit.
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The Russian Orthodox Church is a Christian Church
The Russian Orthodox Church is one of the world’s largest autocephalous or self-governing Eastern Orthodox churches, comprising those living within former member republics of Soviet Union as well as their diasporas abroad.
During the Russian Civil War, the church had been closely associated with the White Army. Unfortunately, the Bolshevik government was anti-religious and began an campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church in 1918.
Many churches are decorated with icons (sacred images) and are liturgical in style. Not only do they honor Jesus Christ as the Savior, but Mary too – as both are considered to be Mother of God.
Despite the many persecutions experienced during communist rule, the church remains Russia’s largest Christian denomination today. With numerous parishes across the country and an impressive amount of weekly attendance, its church continues to draw a significant following.
It is a Church of the East
The Russian Orthodox Church is one of the world’s largest autocephalous (self-governing) Eastern Orthodox churches with an estimated membership of more than 90 million members.
The Orthodox Church has a long and distinguished cultural legacy, both within Russia and abroad. It also had an enormous impact on Russian politics since its foundation in medieval times – when it formed part of the Russian state.
Though church attendance remains low, church membership continues to decline. While 70-80% of ethnic Russians claim they are Orthodox, less than 15% attend services more than once a month and only a handful belong to a parish.
Contrary to other Western-style churches, which tend to have a much larger and more extensive bureaucracy, Kirill as head of the Church cannot command or direct unchurched believers nor control antireligious secularists; rather, he seeks to educate and exhort rather than to command his flock.
It is a Church of the Roman Catholic Church
The Russian Orthodox Church is one of the world’s largest autocephalous (ecclesiastically independent) Eastern Orthodox churches, with an estimated membership of more than 90 million members.
The Russian Church acknowledges the primacy of the pope, yet rejects papal infallibility and opts for a more mystical form of prayer – similar to other Eastern Orthodox denominations such as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
This attitude towards the pope is similar to that of Protestants, who hold that their pastors are also human and capable of error. Furthermore, they resent attempts by the Roman Catholic Church to convert Orthodox Christians into Roman Catholics.
The Russian Orthodox Church is a member of the Moscow Patriarchate, which has jurisdiction over Eastern Orthodox Christians throughout Russia and former Soviet republics (excluding Georgia). Its eparchies in Belarus and Latvia enjoy various degrees of autonomy.
It is a Church of the Protestant Churches
The Russian Orthodox Church is a catholic church, meaning it holds to the same beliefs as Protestant churches do. This includes living together as one community in faith, working for mission and evangelism, serving those in need, breaking down barriers between people, and seeking justice and peace for all.
The Russian Church believes in Christ’s divinity, which is evident by how churches are decorated. Oftentimes, icons cover the ceiling of these chapels.
These images of Christ are meant to give worshipers a glimpse into heaven and are often accompanied by an iconostasis (screen) that encircles the altar area. This symbolically depicts the heavens and heavenly kingdom.