The adoption of Christianity in 988 marked the start of a new historical period, linking Russia to Christian life and culture. Many important events in Russian history are closely associated with Orthodoxy. Over the centuries, the popular belief in a single, Orthodox church helped the nation to defeat foreign invaders and defend its political independence.

Orthodox Christians suffered greatly in the wars, revolutions and political oppressions of the twentieth century. But the faith of the Russian people remained unshaken during the years of Communism. This was reflected in the extensive celebrations of the thousandth anniversary of the baptism of Russia in 1988 and the two-thousandth anniversary of Christianity in 2000.

Religious life is currently experiencing a revival in the Russian Federation. Old churches are being restored, while new places of worship are built. Icons and other holy objects are being returned to their rightful places, monasteries and seminaries are opening. The Russian Orthodox Church is headed by the patriarch of Moscow and ranks fifth after the Orthodox churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.

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