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Orthodox Christianity in Tatarstan

Raifsky Bogoroditsky Monastery
Orthodoxy - one of the currents of Christianity formed as the east branch after the dissolution of the Roman empire (395). Theological bases were defined in Byzantium at 9-11 centuries. Finally, as the independent church Orthodoxy was formed in 1054 but later it was divided on some autocephalous churches.

Orthodox Christianity spread through the region after the 1552 conquest of the Kazan Khanate by the Russian State and subsequent colonization. The Kazan Eparchy was established in 1555.
It included Kazan, Sviyazhsk and Vyatsk provinces, in 1556 – the territory of former Astrakhan Khanate and Siberian eparchy, Ufa, Simbirsk, Syzran, Yelabuga. By 1917 the territory of the Kazan eparchy was limited to the boards of Kazan province, later – to administrative - territorial borders of Mari, Chuvash ASSR, since 1993 – to the Republic of Tatarstan. Orthodox Christianity in the republic is practiced by the Russians, Chuvash, Maris, Udmurts and a small group of the Tatars.

Archbishop of Kazan and Tatarstan Anastasy
By 1917 Kazan Eparchy numbered as follows. Churches – 794, Monasteries – 27, Bell towers – 419. Number of the temples decreased significantly in the 20th century. After St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral was returned there were only two temples functioning in Kazan by 1989. At present in 20 districts of Kazan Eparchy 226 Orthodox organisations of ROC are registered (1 January, 2005), around 200 churches function, 8 monasteries, 6 monasteries and 2 nunneries among them: Raifa Virgin Monastery (Zelenodolsk region, settlement Raifa); Ioanno-Predtechensky and Kizichesky monastery in Kazan; Saint-Ascension Makaryevsky Monastery (Verhny Uslon district); Semiozersky monastery (Vysokogorsky district), Sviyazhsky monastery (Zelonodolsk district), Kazan-Virgin Nunnery in Yelabuga and Zilantov Nunnery in Kirovsky district of Kazan.
Last years the dynamics growth of orthodox parishes of the Kazan eparchy of the Russian Orthodox church (8 - 9 new parishes) is stabilized. The activity of the Eparchy government is directed to education and training of clergymen.

In 1997 the religious school was opened in Kazan and in 1998 it was transformed into the seminary. In 2000 it was licensed by the RF Ministry of education on the specialty " the bachelor of theology ". The Eparchy plans to reorganize the seminary in the academy. It is planned to construct a new educational building.

The second high professional institute is the branch of the Moscow St.Tikhon theological institute. This institute offers a wide spectrum of educational services: theological - ministerial, catechist, church singing, foreign languages, church arts.

In 2005 Kazan Eparchy celebrated its 450th anniversary. The main event of the year became a festive opening of the Annunciation Cathedral in Kazan Kremlin, July 21, during which Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Alexi II delivered Vatican copy of the Kazan Mother-of-God icon. Representatives of Roman-Catholic Church to Russia attended the ceremony. Several thousand people sacred processions from the Annunciation Cathedral to Cross-resurrection church of Kazan Mother-of-God monastery, where the icon is kept now, have taken place on July 21 and November 4.

In the number of churches the services are conducted not only on the Church Slavonic language. So, in Krysensky parish of the Tikhvin church and in the Chuvash parish of the church of Paraskeva Friday in Kazan the services pass on the native language of the parishers.

Besides parishes of ROC, the Orthodoxy in Tatarstan is represented by Kazan-Mari archdiocese, the Old Believers and a community within Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church