"it's hurrah for the Tsar, for Russia, for the Orthodox Greek faith!"
Onion domes of Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow Kremlin, Russia
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeOnion domes of the Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow Kremlin, Russia - Credit: Petar Milošević

 For over a thousand years, Russia's official faith has been Orthodox Christianity. In the year 987, Prince Vladimir of Kievan Rus (modern Ukraine; Russia's ancestor) decided that his country needed a religion. According to the chronicles of Nestor, he sent people to investigate the four faiths that were flourishing around his land and report back as to which they thought looked most enticing. His envoys visited the Bulgarian Muslims, but decided that any religion that forbade drinking alcohol was not for the Russians. They questioned Jewish religious leaders, but rejected Judaism as well. Of the two branches of Christianity available, they were most impressed with the Orthodox Church of Byzantium, where the beauty and mystery of the Orthodox Mass converted them to the faith; Roman Catholicism was thought too boring by comparison.