Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC; Russian: Ру́сская правосла́вная це́рковь, romanized: Rússkaya pravoslávnaya tsérkov), alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian: Моско́вский патриарха́т, romanized: Moskóvskiy patriarkhát),[12] is the largest autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian church. It has 194 dioceses inside Russia.[13] The primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'. The ROC, as well as its primate, officially ranks fifth in the Eastern Orthodox order of precedence, immediately below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.[14]

Russian Orthodox Church
(Moscow Patriarchate)
Russian: Русская православная церковь
ClassificationEastern Orthodox
OrientationRussian Orthodoxy
ScriptureElizabeth Bible (Church Slavonic)
Synodal Bible (Russian)
TheologyEastern Orthodox theology
GovernanceHoly Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church
PrimatePatriarch Kirill of Moscow
Bishops382 (2019)[1]
Clergy40,514 full-time clerics, including 35,677 presbyters and 4,837 deacons[1]
Parishes38,649 (2019)[1]
Dioceses314 (2019)[2]
Monasteries972 (474 male and 498 female) (2019)[1]
AssociationsWorld Council of Churches[3]
RegionRussia, post-Soviet states, Russian diaspora
LanguageChurch Slavonic, Russian
LiturgyByzantine Rite
HeadquartersDanilov Monastery, Moscow, Russia
55°42′40″N 37°37′45″E
FounderSaint Vladimir the Great[4][lower-alpha 1]
Kievan Rus'
Independence1448, de facto[7]
Members110 million (95 million in Russia, total of 15 million in the linked autonomous churches)[8][9][10][11]
Other name(s)
  • Russian Church
  • Moscow Patriarchate

The Christianization of Kievan Rus' commenced in 988 with the baptism of the Rus' Grand Prince of KievVladimir the Great — and his people by the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The ecclesiastical title of Metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus' remained in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686.

The ROC currently claims exclusive jurisdiction over the Eastern Orthodox Christians, irrespective of their ethnic background, who reside in the former member republics of the Soviet Union, excluding Georgia. The ROC also created the autonomous Church of Japan and Chinese Orthodox Church. The ROC eparchies in Belarus and Latvia, since the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, enjoy various degrees of self-government, albeit short of the status of formal ecclesiastical autonomy.

The ROC should also not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (or ROCOR, also known as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), headquartered in the United States. The ROCOR was instituted in the 1920s by Russian communities outside the Soviet Union, which had refused to recognise the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate that was de facto headed by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky. The two churches reconciled on 17 May 2007; the ROCOR is now a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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