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The church also places a heavy emphasis on monasticism.Many of the numerous monasteries that dotted the forests and remote regions of tsarist Russia are in the process of restoration.Separation of church and state thus would be almost unknown in Russia.As Western Europe was emerging from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and the Reformation, Russia remained isolated from the West, and Russian Orthodoxy was virtually untouched by the changes in intellectual and spiritual life being felt elsewhere.Karl Marx, the political philosopher whose ideas were nominally followed by the Bolsheviks, called religion "the opiate of the people." Although many of Russia's revolutionary factions did not take Marx literally, the Bolshevik faction, led by Vladimir I.Lenin, was deeply suspicious of the church as an institution and as a purveyor of spiritual values.Russia Table of Contents The Russian Orthodox Church has a thousand-year history of strong political as well as spiritual influence over the inhabitants of the Russian state.After enduring the Soviet era as a state-controlled religious facade, the church quickly regained both membership and political influence in the early 1990s.
In the early eighteenth century, Peter the Great modernized, expanded, and consolidated Muscovy into what then became known as the Russian Empire.
The Russian Orthodox Church, like the other churches that make up Eastern Orthodoxy, is autonomous, or self-governing. Matters relating to faith are decided by ecumenical councils in which all member churches of Eastern Orthodoxy participate.