The Russian Orthodox Church
The Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia
The Legend of St. Andrew in Rus’
St. Andrew came to the
site of Kiev and foretold
the founding of a great
The rise of Christianity in Rus’
• St. Olga, Grand • Paganism
Princess of Kiev • Greek Missionaries
converts in c. • St. Cyril and St. Methodius
946/957 • First Bishop of Kiev was
• 988: St. Vladimir sent in c. 866-867
Under the Mongols
• The Church
& tax immunity
During the 15th Century
The Church was the dominant aspect of life and livelihood.
Council of Florence (1439): Catholics and Orthodox meet up to discuss and
work out their differences
1448: Constantinople grants ecumenical independence to the Russian
church, now in Moscow
1453: Constantinople falls to the Muslims and Russia becomes an
The Church was given the right of ownership of property; as the State’s power grew so did the that of the Church
1589: Job is elected as Russia’s first real Patriarch
1540’s: The Tsar’s jurisdiction over the Church is nullified; Patriarchs eventually came to “out rank” the Tsar, and even ruled in his stead.
Solovetsky Monastery Monastery
The 17th Century
The Time of Troubles
Patriarch Germogen dies a Prisoner, calling for the Russians
to take back their country
Schism of Old Believers against Patriarch Nikon’s Greek
1700-1721: No one held the title of Patriarch; Patriarchal
duties were carried out by a “Synod”
Synods are still in use today
1762: Peter III secularizes church property; Catherine II (the
Great) promises to return it
Fin-de-siècle religious renaissance
Prevalent during the last 20+ years of the Empire
The ROC under Communism
Religion was vilified and greatly discouraged; public practice of the faith
could mean arrest, and labor camps or execution.
1917-1941: Churches are closed/demolished, members and clergy are
executed, land is secularized, and religion is banned, of course under
penalty of death.
WWII: Stalin & the “idea” of the Church
1945-1985: (please see 1917-1941)
1985 – Present
With Glasnost and Perestroika, the church was able to
begin their ministry again without fear of arrest or
1988: Gorbachev helped the Church celebrate its
millennium anniversary and encourages participation and
1991: USSR collapses (yay!)/Russian Federation is formed
Church was given all its privileges back and, today, is now a
close part of government
Beliefs and practices
• All churches face the east
• Iconostasis, Royal Gate, Deacons’ doors
• An icon is always present on the Iconostasis, and is of a saint(s)/event that is commemorated on that day.
• Icons are to be venerated by all present at services
• A crucifix is always to the left of the iconostasis in church, surrounded by candles
• More icons are scattered around the church, w/(or)w/o candles, lamps, etc.
• Candles are always beeswax; Oil is always olive oil.
• Incense is used for both icons and worship service.
• Everyone is to remain standing during services, though we are free to move freely throughout the service.
Women must cover their head, and only the elderly, expectant women, and infirm may sit.
• the division of men and women in church
• Choral music only!! Musical instruments are banned.
• The Orthodox cross is made with the thumb, index, and middle finger touching and is made in reverse fashion
of the Catholic cross. (head, chest, right shoulder, left shoulder)
• Communion wine is received from a chalice and spoon, bread is in small pieces soaked in wine. You may take
confession before or after, and you can’t eat anything before taking communion.
• Baptism occurs during infancy and chrismation occurs at the age of reason, however children may take
communion regardless of having had chrismation or not.
• Priests may marry, but only before their ordination. They can not divorce or remarry.
• Bishops are the highest rank in the Church, called metropolitans or Patriarchs.