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Russia Builds 5000 Churches, adds 10,000 Clergy in Six Years

"There could not be such growth in the Church if there were no demand. That is why we feel so special when we place the foundations of new churches..."

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Originally appeared at: Ortho Christian

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes that increasing number of Orthodox churches in Russia is testimony that the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church is something the people want.

"Over the last six years our Church increased by 5,000 churches and 10,000 clergymen, which means that people need the Church’s mission. There could not be such growth in the Church if there were no demand. That is why we feel so special when we place the foundations of new churches," the patriarch said at the ceremony of laying the first stone in the foundation of the Assumption Cathedral of the Sarov Hermitage, where St. Seraphim of Sarov lived.

According to Patriarch Kirill, this is a testimony to "the faith of our people, their spiritual power, to the vector of spiritual and even social development that connects material prosperity with spiritual growth."

The patriarch has recently said that churches in Russia are built because people have the need, and not by command from the hierarchy.

"This is not because someone ordered to build [a church], but because of enormous strength of the faith of our people, who support the authorities’ wish," the Church primate said on July 28 after consecrating the restored Church of Smolensk icon of the Mother of God in Oryol.

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