Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Better Know a Religion: Eastern Orthodoxy
A popular saying in Russia goes, "To be Russian is to be Orthodox." And from the vast customs and traditions to the very language itself, it is obvious that Eastern Orthodoxy is deeply embedded in the culture in Russia.
The sad fact of the matter is that many westerners have very little knowledge and understanding of such an old and unique religion, but it's somewhat understandable. For many reasons, possibly the biggest being the Cold War during '50s the through late '80s/ early '90s (and Communism's attempt to squelch religion in the Soviet Union), there has been this fear of all things Eastern Europe, where a majority of Orthodoxy is practiced. Also, us westerners tend to lump Orthodoxy in with Catholicism--and although there are similarities, there are many differences as well (in fact, most Orthodox believers think Protestants and Catholics are more similar).
Leading up to Easter, Beth and I would like to share more about Orthodoxy--after all, it's the state religion here in Russia. Through living in Russia-- and individual study and attending a class on Orthodoxy in college, we have come to greatly appreciate this unique and beautiful branch of Christianity.