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Orthodox In Modern Russia

© Pavel Volkov

The Russian orthodox church is one of the autocephalous Eastern orthodox churches. There are about 260 million of orthodox people in the World and about Approximately 60 million of Russians consider themselves orthodox.

In  Soviet period religion was considered to be forbidden, thousands of churches and abbeys were destroyed, the believers and the clergy were prosecuted. Lots of them were executed and buried in unknown graves. After the USSSR collapsed the situation changed. Now more and more churches are opened in Russia. Now we face a new trend in Russian society – the appearance of new orthodox movements for young people.

According to many participants of this project, the starting point for the emergence of the most powerful movement named Forty times forty was in 2013 when a group of people called Pussy Riot made a so-called punk-service in the main Moscow church – The Cathedral of Christ the savior. At that moment the Russian society was split into two camps: those who condemn and those who supported Pussy riot. People began to unite, some of them wanted to protect the interests of Russian orthodox church, and there were lots of young people among them.  Now they are often called orthodox activists.

The emergence of such movements is an example that the Russian orthodox church began to work with young people and not only rely on the older generation. More and more often you see young people visiting services and orthodox events.

As said by the participants of such movements in Russia  the image of an Orthodox person was formed as as an elderly person, often coming to Church because of some personal problems such as alcoholism or drug addiction. But in the new Orthodox movements people want to show that Orthodox people must be strong in mind and body. So  they visit not only the Church, but the gym is an essential attribute. They draw attention to the fact that  in many Orthodox icons, saints are depicted with swords in their hands, ready to defend themselves, their land and their people.

In these works Volkov tried to depict the desire of these people to show character, to do martial arts and at the same time - absolute submission and obedience to God. Two different states, but they  have something in common - the desire to be strong and to be obedient to God, spending time in the build-up of strength and prayers.

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