• Reasons for adopting Christianity

    It is believed that the beginning of the process of conversion of Russia to Christianity refers to the end of the X century. As traditionally described, in the year 988 (although some sources speak of 990 and 991), an event occurred that was called the Baptism of Russia in the Tale of Bygone Years. The reasons for adopting Christianity should be sought in the personal characteristics and political views of Vladimir the Great.


    Vladimir after the death of his father received the Novgorod principality. His brother Yaropolk became prince of Kiev. The third brother - Oleg Svyatoslavovich became the prince of the Drevlyane (there is no information about the name of his capital city). Civil strife broke out between the brothers, the winner of which came out Vladimir (the other two died). Thus, by 980, he was the sole ruler of all Kievan Rus.

    The causes of Christianity in Russia may be associated with the desire of the prince to unite all the outskirts of his state with a single religion. In pagan Russia, various cities worshiped various gods. To increase the loyalty of other cities towards the capital, the prince carried out the first religious reform, which he tried to consolidate his pantheon.Vladimir's pantheon consisted of all the gods of Kievan Rus, while Perun (the patron saint of Kiev) was declared the supreme god. The idea did not receive the expected support from the subjects, and the prince began to think about monotheism as a unified state religion.


    Legend has it that he brought together representatives of various faiths to tell him about their creeds. So, Jews, Muslims, as well as representatives of the western and eastern branches of Christianity were called in (the division into Orthodoxy and Catholicism had not yet occurred, but the schism had already been outlined). Then the legend says that it was precisely Orthodoxy that was chosen. In particular, Islam was denied after the prince learned that religion forbids drinking wine. At the same time, Vladimir is credited with the words "... the joy of Russia is drinking, without drinking Russia, there is no being."

    Vladimir's baptism

    However, it is more likely that the reasons for adopting Christianity as the single religion of Russia were dictated by political considerations, and not by the gastronomic predilections of the Russians. In 987 Vladimir helped Byzantium to overcome the rebellious forces of Warda Phoca.After the suppression of rebellion, Vladimir demanded as a reward the hands of the Byzantine princess Anna. Given that the prince already had many wives and hundreds of concubines throughout Russia, this proposal was humiliating for Anna's brothers — the emperors Constantine and Basil. After the refusal, Vladimir stormed Korsun. The rulers of Byzantium revised their decision regarding the refusal to marry their sister. At the same time, they put forward their demand - Vladimir must accept Christianity. The prince accepted this counter offer, was baptized and married Anna.

    Therefore, the causes of Christianity in Russia are most likely related to the nature of diplomatic relations between Kiev and Constantinople. After the adoption of the new religion, Vladimir began to actively introduce a new religion among his subjects. What will be called the Lord’s providence through the centuries has been accompanied not only by the forcible baptism of individual cities, whose population did not want to believe in a new god, but also by the repression of those who did not agree with Christianity. Ironically, a few centuries after Byzantium became the source of Orthodoxy in Russia, Byzantium itself was captured by the Ottomans, and currently Islam prevails there (modern Turkey).

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