Trinity by Andrei Rublev
The three-barred cross of the Russian Orthodox Church. The slanted bottom bar represents the footrest, while the top is the titulus (often "INBI") affixed by the Roman authorities to Christ's cross during his crucifixion

Russian Orthodoxy (Russian: Русское православие) is the theology, religious traditions, and practices related to the Russian Orthodox Church.[1]


Historically, the term "Greek Orthodox" has been used to describe all Eastern Orthodox churches, since the term "Greek" can refer to the heritage of the Byzantine Empire.[2][3][4] However, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, as a center of power, will gradually lose a significant part of its authority in the eyes of Orthodox believers after the union with Rome in 1439. In December 1448, the Russian Orthodox Church de facto declared its autocephaly by instaling Jonas, a Russian bishop, as Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia (with permanent residence in Moscow) without the approval of Patriarch Gregory III of Constantinople to replace the pro-union Isidore of Kiev.[5][6] After the fall of Constantinople and the end of the Orthodox-Catholic union, internal problems regarding the status of the Russian Church will result in a division between Greek and Russian believers within Eastern Orthodoxy. Having lost its Christian basileus after the Turkish conquest, the Moscow rulers soon began to consider themselves real Tsars (this title was already used by Ivan III), and therefore, according to them, the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church should be located in Moscow, and thus the bishop of Moscow should become the head of Orthodoxy.[7] With some Eastern Orthodox believers calling Moscow the "Third Rome", or the "New Rome", the Russian Church gained influence in the orthodox world outside the Ottoman Empire.[8] After this event, a series of doctrinal and liturgical differences would emerge in the Slavic Orthodox world, being cut off from its Greek counterpart. In spite of the end of the schism in 1560, by the mid 17th century the religious practices of the Russian Orthodox Church were distinct from those of the Greek Orthodox Church. Eventually, Patriarch Nikon of Moscow would reform the church and bring most of its practices back into accommodation with the contemporary forms of Greek Orthodox worship. This change, however, was rejected by a large group of traditionalists, who would come to be known as Old Ritualists.[9]

See also



  1. ^ Stoeckl, Kristina (2020). Russian Orthodoxy and Secularism. Leiden: Brill. p. 5.
  2. ^ Boyd, Kelly (August 8, 1999). Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781884964336 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Edwin Pears, The Destruction of the Greek Empire and the Story of the Capture of Constantinople by the Turks, Haskell House, 1968
  4. ^ Millar, Fergus (2006). A Greek Roman Empire : Power and Belief under Theodosius II (408–450). University of California Press. p. 279 pages. ISBN 0-520-24703-5.
  5. ^ "Primacy and Synodality from an Orthodox Perspective". Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  6. ^ "ИОНА". Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  7. ^ Strémooukhoff, Dimitri (1953). "Moscow the Third Rome: Sources of the Doctrine". Speculum. 28 (1): 84–101. doi:10.2307/2847182. JSTOR 2847182. S2CID 161446879.
  8. ^ Parry, Ken; Melling, David, eds. (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. p. 490. ISBN 978-0-631-23203-2.
  9. ^ "Raskol".