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Boom: Russian Orthodox church reports record number of men studying to be priests

ALEXANDER NEMENOV-Getty Images

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill holds a cross in Moscow's Red Square, on May 24, 2011, during a procession celebrating Saints Cyrilius and Methodius' Day. The holiday is usually celebrated in countries which observe Eastern Orthodox tradition in May, commemorating the creation of the Slavic Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets by the brothers Cyril and Methodius. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/06/17

From The Tablet:

Russia’s Orthodox church has reported a sharp rise in seminary admissions, with the highest numbers ever recorded now training for the priesthood in its 261 eparchies, or dioceses.
The Interfax news agency said 1,593 ordinands were expected to begin studies this summer, a 19 percent increase from 2016, while a further 827 young men would also join the church’s preparatory course, or propaedeuticum, a quarter more than last year. It added that a total of 5,877 seminarians were now preparing for ordination, a figure comparable to that of Poland’s Catholic Church in its peak years 1985-7.
The Russian church was savagely persecuted under Soviet rule in 1917-1991, but is now by far the largest of the world’s 14 Orthodox denominations, claiming 144 million members, with 368 bishops and around 40,000 priests and deacons. The church, which has 926 functioning monasteries and convents, is estimated to have opened three places of worship daily over the past three decades, bringing the total to 36,000 compared to just 6000 at the end of communist rule.
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