Christian Cyclopedia

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For current information see CIA World Factbook. 1. Reputed founder of the Russ. emp. was Rurik.* Princess Olga (d. 969) was bap. at Constantinople ca. 955; Vladimir* I, grandson of Olga, was bap. ca. 989.

2. Vladimir I and his successors promoted Christianity, but the masses remained largely pagan. The Mongol invasion (13th c.) was a blow to the ch. Gennadius* II allowed the Russ. Ch. to choose and consecrate its own metropolitans, but the ch. came under state control.

3. Moscow became a 3d Rome (Constantinople was the 2d). Christianity took deep root in Russia. Monasteries multiplied. But even the bps. remained ignorant. Contact with W learning was est. in the 17th c. P. Mogila* est. an influential coll. at Kiev 1631.

4. For a while, in the 18th and early part of the 19th c., the Enlightenment was favorably received, but Alexander I (Aleksandr Pavlovich; 1777–1825; emp. Russ. 1801–25) gradually turned toward mysticism. During most of the 19th c. anti-Protestantism predominated. Sems. were at St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, and Kazan. Up until the USSR (est. 1922) the Gk. (or E) Orthodox Ch. was the state ch.; its membership grew to nearly 100,000,000. Bolsheviks, who came to power October/November 1917, took strong measures against the ch. When the Soviet Fed. was recast 1936, Russ. became 1 of 11 states (later expanded to 15 reps.).

5. RCm became fairly strong in Russ. Poland. Ref. chs. in Russ. enjoyed some freedom till the anti-Ger. pressures in WW I and the ascendancy of Communism (beginning 1917) but remained comparatively small (see also Russian Sects).

6. Beginning ca. 1558, Estonian, Latvian, and Livonian peasants were resettled in Russ.; some of them were Luth. The 1st Luth. ch. in Moscow was built ca. 1575/76; the cong. was well est. by 1600. But Luths. were hampered by restriction and opposition till ca. 1700, when a new policy encouraged immigration and offered religious freedom. In 1832 the Luth. Ch. obtained, for the Baltic provinces and the congs. in cen. Russ., a ch. const. and service book. But ch. work was repressed under the ascendancy of Communism. Beginning 1929 most Luth. pastors were exiled. Cong. life and activity practically stopped after 1937. From ca. 1939/40 relations bet. state and ch. improved, but mainly, apparently, for the sake of unify in the face of invasion. Even so, in WW II large Luth. settlements suffered under a policy of deportation. In 1957 it became legally possible again to organize congs.

7. The former Russian Empire, commonly called Russia, ended 1917 with the Bolshevist revolution, a Communist coup led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, and the est. of the Russ. Soviet Federated Socialist Rep. (also popularly called Russia), which in 1922 joined other soviet reps. to form the Union* of Soviet Socialist Reps.

See also Armenia; Estonia; Latvia; Lithuania; Lutheran Confessions, A 5.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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