Moscow, October 12, 2016
Religious faith in Russia never grew more intensively than in the past three decades, believes Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.
The head of the Department of External Church Relations (DECR) spoke about religious faith in Russia, and its history and revival in recent decades at a meeting with a group of professors and 250 students from Italy on October 11, 2016, reports the DECR’s website.
“The epoch which we call ‘the second Baptism of Russia’ begun in our Church in 1988. The mass baptism of our population started in Russia in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s,” Metropolitan Hilarion said while relating the history of Orthodoxy in Russia to the Italian guests.
“Today we have 35,000 churches. That means that we have opened 29,000 churches over twenty-eight years, opening more than 1,000 churches per year or three per day… Earlier we had three theological seminaries or academies, and today there are over fifty,” the metropolitan stressed.
In Metropolitan Hilarion’s view, Russian history has “never witnessed such growth in religious faith as we have seen in the past twenty-eight years.”
“More than that, I know no other precedent of this kind anywhere throughout the history of mankind. We are aware that the epoch of St. Constantine the Great in the fourth century was a time when churches were built everywhere and mass baptisms took place. But there is no statistics for that period, while we do have statistics for the epoch we live in,” he added.
Noting that today many say that modern society lives in the post-Christian era, the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church said that it is not felt in Russia.
“With our own eyes we have seen the power of Christianity which enables us to open three churches per day today. We have witnessed how Christianity transforms human lives, to what extent Christ and His teaching are still important nowadays,” Metropolitan Hilarion said in conclusion.
Professors and students of schools under the Jesuit Order in Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin and Palermo took part in the meeting with the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations.