Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC; Russian: Русская Православная Церковь, Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov’) headed by the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian: Московский Патриархат, Moskovskiy Patriarkhat), also known as the Orthodox Christian Church of Russia, is a body of Christians who constitute an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Moscow, in communion with other Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world. Including all the autocephalous churches under its supervision, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide — about half of the 300 million estimated adherents of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Among Christian churches, the Russian Orthodox Church is second only to the Roman Catholic Church in terms of numbers of followers. Within Russia the results of a 2007 VCIOM poll indicated that about 75% of the population considered themselves Orthodox Christians. Up to 65% of ethnic Russians and a similar percentage of Belarusians and Ukrainians identify themselves as "Orthodox". According to figures released on February 2, 2010, the Church has 160 dioceses including 30,142 parishes served by 207 bishops, 28,434 priests and 3,625 deacons. There are 788 monasteries, including 386 for men and 402 for women.

The ROC should not be confused with the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church that traces its existence in North America from the time of the Russian Orthodox missionaries in Alaska in the late 18th century and the Russian settlement at Fort Ross on the Pacific coast in California in the early 19th century. The oldest OCA Russian Orthodox church in the lower forty-eight states, established in 1857, is Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco. After the Russian Revolution, in the 1920s, the Russian Orthodox Church in America began to function de facto as an autocephalous church and attained de jure autocephalous status in 1970.

The ROC should also not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (also known as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, or ROCOR), headquartered in New York. The ROCOR was instituted in the 1920s by Russian communities outside then Communist Russia, which refused to recognize the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate headed by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky. The two Churches reconciled on May 17, 2007; the ROCOR is now a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Read more about Russian Orthodox Church:  Structure and Organization, History, Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), Belarusian Orthodox Church, Russian Church Architecture, Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations

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