History of Orthodoxy in Russia
Russia professes a particular form of Christianity - Orthodoxy (there are more than 80% of Orthodox believers in Russia) that began when the Roman Empire recognizing Christianity as state religion was divided into Western and Eastern. The Eastern Church has its own head - the Patriarch of Constantinople. Formally under the Roman Pope, Constantinople church apex actually had a special view on the principles of church structure, but in fact wanted to control the eastern part of the world without the intervention of the Pope. After the Western church had made a little addendum to the Christian symbols stating that the Holy Spirit is both God the Father and by God the Son, Pope and Patriarch both fulminated anathema on each other. That is how the well-known division of the churches into Catholic and Orthodox began.
The history of Christianity in Russia is known to all: the Great Russian principality simply decided to establish closer contacts with Byzantium, i.e. Eastern Roman Empire and adopted Orthodoxy.
So what the difference between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church is. Let us list the main features ...
The first difference lies in different understanding of the unity of the Church. For the Orthodox it is enough to share one faith and sacraments, Catholics ad to these the need for a single head of the Church - the Pope.
By the way, the Orthodox followers do not recognize the primacy of the Pope, while the Catholics accepted dogma of Pope entire control over the church.
Another difference in the symbol of faith. The Catholic Church professes in a symbol of faith that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Orthodox Church follows the Spirit coming only from the Father.
Besides, the Catholic Church adopted the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary. This means that even the original sin is not referred to the Mother of the Redeemer. The Orthodox Church glorifies the sanctity of the Mother of God, but believe that she was born with original sin like all people.
The Orthodox Church takes action only of the first seven Ecumenical Councils, while the Catholic Church is guided by the decisions of 21 Ecumenical Councils.
Despite differences, Catholics and Orthodox profess and preach one faith and one teaching of Jesus Christ all over the world.
The Orthodox Church in Russia
Through Russian history, beginning with the baptism of Rus in the 10th century, the Church was linked to state power. The church figures (first metropolitans, and from 1589 patriarchs) always were among tzar’s inner circle. Orthodoxy was the dominant faith.
For more than four centuries Russians lived under the silent power of Byzantine churches. However, the Moscow church strived for its own uniqueness and in 1448 Moscow priests announced their independence not recognized by Constantinople and the rest of the world. And in another 140 years the new church got its official head - the Patriarch.
With the fall of the monarchy the Russian Church entered the period of hardships. With the beginning of the revolution the policy of forced atheism was pursued. It resulted in the looting of many temples.
Public pressure on the church waned in the last months of 1941 after a series of military failures of the Soviet troops in the war with Germany. The war of 1941-1945 brought together believers and nonbelievers.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Russian Orthodox Church was reborn and with it the persecution of believers, common in the Soviet times, ended. The revival of old (about 1.5 thousand of 50 thousand before 1917) and the construction of new Christian churches began.