Bucharest, October 30, Interfax - Some 180 million people belong to the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate worldwide, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said.
"The total number of members of the Moscow Patriarchate living in Russia and abroad is about 180 million people," the Patriarch Kirill said at the session of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church. "About 75% of all Russians consider themselves Orthodox Christian," he said.
The Russian Orthodox Church now has some 36,000 parishes, 1,000 monasteries, and 56 spiritual academies and seminaries, in addition to other educational establishments, the patriarch said while speaking about the revival of the Church that has occurred following decades of persecution by the Soviet state. For example, the Russian Orthodox Church had only 6,000 churches and 21 monasteries in 1988, the patriarch said.
"In 1988, we had three spiritual seminaries and two spiritual academies," Patriarch Kirill said.
"The events that are taking place now are a miracle, because it is impossible to see any foundations for such rapid revival in the external circumstances of the existence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Soviet years," he said.
The jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, according to its charter, includes the following countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Estonia. The canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church also includes China, Japan, and Mongolia, and also the parishes of "Orthodox Christians who voluntarily belong to it" in a number of other countries.