If you are a fan of the Eastern Orthodox Christian religion, then you are probably curious as to what country has the highest concentration of them? You might also be interested in learning more about the history of these churches, and what it is that separates them from other forms of Christianity.
The Russian Orthodox Church claims that 70 percent of the Russian population is Christian. But despite this claim, the church has faced some big challenges in recent years.
A key challenge is that many Russians do not know much about religion. This is especially true among the young. In fact, the FOM survey found that only a third of Russians are satisfied with the organization of the churches in their country.
While the religious outlook is growing in the West, Russia and Eastern Europe are at a crossroads. Religious trends in the region have encouraged the Kremlin to embrace traditional Christianity.
Putin’s use of the old faith is calculated for both political and pragmatic reasons. He wants to expand his influence in Eastern European nations, and he believes that his country’s identity is tied to Russian Orthodoxy.
But his approach to religion has caused some controversy. For example, Pope Francis has consistently spoken and behaved in ways that defy the normative behavior of Orthodox Christians.
Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus are all part of the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. These countries have large Orthodox populations. Many other Christian groups also live in the region. But there is a growing dispute within the Slav Orthodox church.
Religion is a key part of both nations’ culture. It is also closely tied to national identity. A number of Christians, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, report being victims of vandalism or violence.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church claims autocephaly. This means that it is self-governed. However, there are still factions in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that are devoted to Moscow. Some of these churches have resisted Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Thousands of civilians have been killed and many of the cities have been destroyed. International law prohibits attacks on religious sites. Several churches have been damaged by artillery or by terrorists.
Many people who have ties to Ukraine have monitored the war closely. They are sending donations to individuals in the country.
Former Soviet republics of Central Asia
One of the largest concentrations of eastern Orthodox Christians is found in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. The region includes five former Soviet republics and includes the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang.
During the Soviet era, millions of Russian Orthodox Christians migrated to other Soviet Union countries. Ukraine is home to a large number of Russian Orthodox Christians, though their numbers remain relatively small.
Russia’s government has a clear agenda of promoting Orthodoxy. It also seeks to increase its influence in Eastern European nations. In Ukraine, it’s unclear what the future of Orthodoxy looks like.
But the Kremlin’s use of the Orthodox faith makes sense given religious trends in the region. Many Russians believe that they are descendants of the same Christian kingdom as Ukrainians. However, many clergy feel that they are closer to Serbia or Greece than Moscow.
Putin’s claim also highlights a common perception of Orthodoxy in Russia. In fact, the Russian Orthodox Church has long engaged in secular issues. This includes pre-revolutionary this-worldly theology and its role in the Soviet regime.
Defending Orthodoxy in Montenegro
Orthodoxy in Montenegro is under attack. The Serbian Orthodox Church is battling the government over a law that undermines the rights of its members.
A new law passed in Montenegro forces religious communities to register with the state and to return properties they own to the state. This has prompted mass protests by believers. In December, the Patriarch and Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church sent a message calling on the Montenegrin authorities to stop their persecution of the Church.
Thousands of believers, clergy and monastics have gathered in the streets of Podgorica to protest the law. Several people were arrested, including Bishop Joanikije, who leads the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. He was held with seven priests from the Niksic cathedral.
Pro-government media said Amfilohije was trying to split the Church of Montenegro. But he had been active in the protests. One MP was detained and another had his passport confiscated.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was to be blamed for the disturbances in Montenegro. He was expected to support the Serbian Orthodox Church.