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ImageChristianity in the world is represented by three basic directions: Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism.

Orthodoxy (means to glorify God correctly) is one of the Christianity directions, separated and organizationally formed in the 11th century as a result of the separation of churches. Confessional basis of orthodoxy is Holy Writ and Holy Tradition.

Basic orthodoxy principles are stated in 12 clauses of the belief symbol. The most important postulates of orthodoxy are the God trinity dogmas (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit), incarnation of God, atonement, Sabbath and ascension of Jesus.

Orthodoxy is characteristic with the complex, detailed cult, the bases of which are seven main customs: epiphany, Eucharist, confession, confirmation, chrism, marriage and clergy. Main worship in orthodoxy is liturgy; main holiday is the Easter. Clergy is divided into white (married parish priests) and black (monks, who give the vow of chastity). There are monasteries for men and women. Only a monk can become a bishop.

At present there are 15 autocephalous churches in orthodoxy: Albanian, Alexandrian, American, Antioch, Bulgarian, Georgian, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Constantinople, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Czechoslovakian, Greek and 4 autonomous churches: Cretan, Sinai, Finnish, Japanese.

Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) was based in 988 in the times of Vladimir I as Metropolitan of Constantinople Church with the centre in Kiev. At present, ROC is led by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia - Cyrill.

Catholicism (from Greek  atholikos - ecumenic, universal) is the western branch of Christianity and predominantly spread in the Western and Eastern Europe (France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Czechia and Hungary), mostly in the countries of the South and North America.Image There are Catholics in Asia and Africa also, but the influence of Catholicism there is not too large. Over the last 100 years, the number of Catholics has multiplied 4 times. The Catholicism is professed by over 1 bln. believers united in around 200 thousand parishes where about 560 thousand priests conduct their ministry.

The basis of the Catholic faith lies in general Christian credo comprising of 12 dogmas and seven sacraments. The foundation of the Catholicism is not only based on the Holy Scripture, but also the Holy Tradition, which includes decrees of 21 councils as well as official documents of the Catholic Church and the Pope.

The Catholic Church is distinguished with strict hierarchic organization with the international center in Vatican headed by the Pope being considered as the heir of holy apostle Peter. The official full title of the Pope sounds like this: Episcopus of Rome, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, Patriarch of the West, Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Monarch of Vatican City State. The Pope is elected by the conclave (College of Cardinals) from the circle of high clergy for life tenure. 

According to the Constitution of Vatican, the Pope holds highest legislative, executive and judicial power. A ruling body of Vatican is the Holy See.

A central administrative machine of the Roman Catholic Church is the Roman Curia, which governs over church and secular organizations working in most of the countries all over the world. At the regional level, Episcopal conferences are conducted.

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Christianity in Kazakhstan Print E-mail

Christianity in Kazakhstan is represented by all its three basic directions: Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism. Besides, in 1994 the religious community of the Armenian Church "Surb Hach" ("Holy Cross") was registered in Almaty.

ImageBy the number of believers, orthodoxy in Kazakhstan is the second religious direction after Islam represented mainly by the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as Communities of Old Believers.

The history of orthodoxy appearance in Kazakhstan is related initially to military settlements, which appeared after Kazakhstan had joined Russia. In 1871 Turkestan Eparchy was formed, out of which existing Almaty, Shymkent and Tashkent Eparchies appeared.

In 1872 archbishop Sophonios (S.V.Sokolsky) was appointed as the first Kazakhstan eparch in Verny and Semirechensk Eparchy who was managing it till 1877.

Before the revolution of 1917 the Orthodox Church was the state religion of tsar Russia and, because of this, it enjoyed significant advantages in comparison with other religions.

The first years after the revolution are characterized with severe persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church. Practically by the end of the thirties in Kazakhstan there remained only a few temples, many church buildings were destroyed, used as warehouses etc. Restoration of the ecclesiastic life on the territory of the country started only in 1945 with the establishment of Kazakh Eparchy and appointment of its ruling eparch (1945-1955) archbishop Nikolai (Mogilevsky), who became later the metropolitan and who was canonized by the Jubilee Cathedral in 2000. Thanks to his activity churches started to be restored and opened in the republic.

ImageIn 1991 the Holy Synod of ROC divided parishes in Kazakhstan according to three eparchial divisions. The first spiritual head of the orthodox Christians in independent Kazakhstan was Archbishop Alexiy - Andrei Nikolayevich Kutepov, who was born on 10 May 1953 in Moscow, graduated from the Moscow Spiritual Academy in 1984. For strengthening inter-national and inter-confessional harmony in 1995 he was honoured with the Presidential Award of Peace and Spiritual Harmony, in 1999 - awarded with "Astana" Medal, in 2001 - medal "10 Years of Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan", in 2002 - "Parasat" Order. In October 2002 according to the decision of the Holy Synod, he was appointed as the Archbishop of Tula and Belevsk.

On 7 May 2003 the Synod decided to establish Metropolitan District in Kazakhstan and it included Astana, Urlask and Shymkent Eparchies. The centre of the district was Astana and the head was Metropolitan Methodius - Nikolai Fedorovich Nemtsov, born on 16 February 1949 in Rovenki, Lugansk Oblast. He graduated from Leningrad Spiritual Academy. He was honoured with Orders of "Saint Equiapostolic Prince Vladimir" of the first degree, "Blessed Prince Daniil of Moscow" of the second degree, "For Honourable Services to the Country" of the second degree, and the "Friendship" Order. Before appointment to Kazakhstan he was the metropolitan of Voronezh and Lipetsk, the chairman of the historical and legal commission of ROC, member of the Counsel on interaction with public and religious organizations and unions under the President of the Russian Federation, the member of the editorial board of the annual publication of the Russian Science Academy "World Religions".

Astana and Almaty Eparchy (till 1999 Almaty-Semipalatinsk Eparchy) includes parishes of Astana and Almaty Cities, Almaty, East-Kazakhstan, Karaganda and Pavlodar Oblasts.

Uralsk and Guryev Eparchy includes parishes of Aktobe, Atyrau, West-Kazakhstan, Kostanai and Mangystau Oblasts.    

Shymkent and Akmola Eparchy includes parishes of Akmola, Zhambyl, Kyzylorda, North-Kazakhstan and South-Kazakhstan Oblasts.

ImageIn 1956 there were only 55 parishes operating in Kazakhstan; as of 1 January 2008 the ROC has 281 religious unions in the country, to which 257 cult facilities relate.

Since 1991 in Almaty Eparchy Division there is 4-year spiritual academy, which trains churchmen and wardens (50 daytime students). Annually 4-5 people are sent to spiritual educational institutions of the ROC in Russia. Large number of churchmen study extramurally in the Spiritual Academy in Moscow. From March 1997 the branch of Saint-Tikhonovsky Theological Institute operates in Karaganda. In September 1998 the four-year theological missionary college was opened in Almaty. Practically all churches and prayer houses have opened church parish schools to study the orthodoxy basics. There are Sabbath schools where children and adults can study.

Logistical base of the orthodox unions is constantly improving. In recent years the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Almaty was built, as well as Wedensky Cathedral in Karaganda, Annunciation Cathedral in Pavlodar, Seraphim-Iver Cathedral in Ekibastuz, Johan-Theological Cathedral in Taldykorgan, Saint-Pokrovsky Temple in Mirny Village near Ust-Kamenogorsk, Constantine-Yelena Temple in Kostanai and Saint-Nikolai Temple in Satpayev built by Kazakhmys Corporation in the memory of the died miners.

In June 2005 in Astana there were celebrations devoted to the 150th anniversary of the opening and blessing of Constantine-Yelena Cathedral.

ROC churches are mostly crowded during the Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and Trinity.

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