The Church in Russia is coming back with a vengeance. After 70 years of oppression during the Soviet times, the Russian Orthodox Church is back in full force. Everyone we have met so far say that he/she believes, and some are regulars on the service.
Some observers abroad who are worried about the strong ties between the power (Putin) and the Church (Patriarch Kyrill 1st) and one example is how the Pussy Riot debacle was handled. However, here in Russia, nobody we have talked to sees any issue with this.
The Churches are beautiful, some restored in full splendor. We have visited a few, and more we will see before we move on.
The Russian Orthodox tradition has many peculiar quirks. One is the use of an ancient language (Old Church Slavonic) in the service, which most people don’t really understand. It is a bit like using Latin in the Western church. This kind of Christian faith is not analyzed by the brain but absorbed through the heart…
Another interesting thing is that in most Churches people stand during the service.
Russian Church music is fantastic. No organs but a capella man’s choir with plenty of good bass. We listened to a small group in Petersburg and it is special. The whole room vibrates with powerful harmonics and passion.