Leaders say it will take another 30 years to reach pre-Bolshevik Revolution levels
Russia’s Orthodox Church has opened 30,000 churches over the last 30 years, although it is expected to take until 2050 to return to what it was before the 1917 revolution, reported The Tablet.
“Houses of worship aren’t built as architectural or artistic monuments – they’re there for the people,” Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, the Moscow Patriarchate’s external relations director told Rossiya-24 TV.
“And we don’t build churches to obtain impressive statistics, but because people want them. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the construction or renovation of most churches is financed by the faithful – both small people and big entrepreneurs.”
Metropolitan Hilarion said that the Orthodox Church has dedicated three churches a day since 1988, and now has 40,000. He said that it would take until 2050 to attain the 80,000 churches held before the Bolshevik Revolution took place 100 years ago.
In addition, Hilarion said that the Russian Orthodox Church now has 940 monasteries, compared to the 1500 that existed before the Soviets came to power.
Following the Bolshevik’s seizure of power, hundreds of Orthodox priests were killed, and churches and monasteries were closed and desecrated.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Orthodox Church has undergone a dramatic resurgence, and enjoys the support of President Vladimir Putin, who is often seen on national television attending church services.