Russia in numbers and facts. Geography, territory, climate, Russian Federation, Political system, Population and language
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Religious creeds in Russia
Various religious creeds peacefully coexist in Russia. There is no one predominant religion; none of them is under special protection of the state, though the majority of believers practice the Orthodoxy. The Orthodoxy in our country is certainly firstly associated with the Russians, though it is acknowledged by greater part of Karels, Udmurts, the Mari, Osetians and other peoples. The total number of Orthodox Christians in the country amounts to 80 million people. Most of them belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, which exists in all the regions. In the Soviet period and especially in the years of Stalin's repressions when atheism was the state policy the Orthodox Church was persecuted, churches and monasteries were abolished. An outstanding example is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow only recently completely rebuilt at the place of the old Cathedral.
The main doctrine of the Orthodoxy is the Holy Trinity. You can tell an Orthodox from other Christians because he mentions in his prayers not just «God», but «Father, Son and the Holy Spirit».
The Orthodoxy is a large family. It is normal for the Orthodox priest to get married and have many children; the church condemns divorces.
Beside the Orthodox and followers of branched-off sects, adherents of other communities of Christianity live in Russia. Among them there are Catholics, though much inferior in number to the Orthodox. There are Protestants, too.
The second largest religion of the Russian Federation is Islam (approximately 13 million believers). The two main branches of Islam - Sunnism and Shiism - are presented in Russia, most Moslem of our country are Sunny. Sunnism was officially accepted in Volzhskaya Bulgaria in 922. Today it is practiced by a large part of Tatars and Bashkirs.
In the eastern regions of Russia there are a lot of adherents of Buddhism - about 900 thousand believers: eastern Buryat, Buryat-Hongodor, the largest part of Tuva and few (?) Evenks. Buddhism is a religion declaring deliverance of sufferings by means of refusal of desires and reaching the "highest blooming" - nirvana. Buryatia has become the center of Buddhism in Russia. Here about 30 Buddhist temples - datsans - have survived. Buddhism in Russia was officially admitted in 1741 by the order of empress Elisabeth.
There are adherents of Judaism in Russia, too. Their quantity is difficult to define because of a great number of mixed marriages. The majority of Judaists live in the biggest cities of Russia. Their largest groups are situated in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod.
Among the people of Russia there are also followers of traditional beliefs (for instance, shamanism). Their adherents are the majority of the believers of small Northern nations of Russia - Eskimos, Chukchas, Koryaks.
Adherents of traditional beliefs are among the Volga people, too. They are the Mari, the Chuvashian and the Udmurt. Marians practicing heathen beliefs are called «Chi-Mari», which means pure Mari.
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