Religion and Ethnicities in Russia I
What to know about religions in Russia, in this article we will talk a little about this topic. For example, there are things to know about the Russian Orthodox Church or to know about Islam in Russia; both religions are very different but interesting to learn.
What to know about religions in Russia
Something that surprises Western tourists, is the first time they enter an Orthodox church in Russia; immediately the amount of representations of saints or biblical passages seen in its walls and columns is evident. There are people who do not know that this Church is very similar to the Catholic Church and they share many principles and rites. Another interesting point that leaps out is that when the traveler wanders through one of the main cities of the country can see a lot of temples; even more than two, they can be in the same block.
The constitution declares the Russian Federation as a secular state, and also officially recognizes four main religions; The Orthodox Christian, The Muslim, The Buddhist and Judaism. The state grants the right to freely profess these religions.
And it is that the religions are linked to the Ethnic Groups in the Nation. So generally Orthodox are Slavs, Muslims are Tartars, (name with which they were told to the Turks of the region), Buddhists are Mongols. And the Jews are already an ethnic group.
Usually in other countries when we ask someone’s nationality, we understand that their religion or ethnicity does not define this fact; but in Russia this can confuse us with a question of semantics. So, by asking someone if he is Russian, even if he or she is very fluent in an international language with English, he or she can respond;
No, I am Tartar, and one says again:
But you were born in Russia right?
Yes, of course, in Kazan
So, are you Russian?
But, what is your nationality?
Ah, I have a Russian passport.
And the Russians in the eyes of the inhabitants are one more ethnic group. For centuries the cultures at the level of the people, kept them differentiated; contrary to the Russian nobility, the people were not commonly mixed among other nations or cultures.
Things to know about the Russian Orthodox Church
The orthodox religion was officially adopted in the year 988 by Vladimir I; by marrying the sister of Emperor Basil II, this pacts a union between Constantinople and the Kingdom of Rus-Kiev, the adoption of Christianity brought significant improvements as it introduced a common alphabet and helped advance the education and culture of political bases . The church was subordinated to Byzantium, the main regents had to travel to be ordained in the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In 1453, after many wars and conflicts Constantinople is taken by the Turks and the dependencies of the churches to not disagree, each one takes a proper command, this is how the Russian Church becomes independent.
The rulers of this nation always showed great faith for their Church and the travelers are witnesses of beautiful works of religious order. Among the first buildings and stories of miracles is the Cathedral of the Dormition in Vladimir sent to build around the 1150s by Prince Andrei Bogolubski for an appearance of the Virgin when trying to move the icon of this to Kiev. The most famous monument in Russia, St. Basil’s Cathedral built by Ivan the Terrible (completed in 1561); The Kazan Cathedral of Saint Petersburg inspired by the Basilica of Saint Peter ordered by Paul I (completed in 1811); The Cathedral of Saint Isaac ordered by Alexander I begun to build in 1818 and completed in 1858 (in Saint Petersburg).
The Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood (St. Petersburg), commissioned to build by Alexander III and completed in the period of Nicolas II, and the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer (Moscow) which is currently the main temple of the Russian Orthodox Church. Where is a museum of the Ecclesiastical Institute, we also invite you to describe the particular history of this site.
Learn about Islam in Russia
The second most important religion in Russia is Sunni Islam; The Tartar ethnic group is the one that professes it most; These are from Persian invasions and conflicts in the Russian regions. Basically there are two branches of the ethnic groups; and both professed of Islam The Volga-Ural Tartars; located between the Volga and Kazan more than anything in the region of Trataristan; and The Crimean Tatars; that during the Stalin era and World War II they had to emigrate from their regions and since 1980 they have had an exodus back to their lands.
Among the most imposing mosques in Russia we can highlight the following;
Qol Šärif of Kazan declared a Unesco heritage in 2000. Although it has undergone many reconstructions is the same structure that was when the siege to Kazan by Ivan the Terrible in 1552 and an important point to visit if you go to this city.
The Great Mosque of Moscow: Inaugurated in 2015 with capacity for 18,000 parishioners, it is currently the largest mosque in Europe. Its dimensions are impressive; of modernist style nestled in a vast area that allows the passer-by to appreciate its beautiful grandeur
The Saint Petersburg Mosque: This was also the largest in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. Paradoxically this building began in 1910 during the mandate of Tsar Nicolas II and was completed in 1921 and in the Soviet era.
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